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Governor Snyder Wants More Renewables, Less Coal in Michigan

Governor Rick Snyder says it’s time for state lawmakers to set new energy goals for Michigan. He says those goals should include burning less coal and increasing renewable energy production over the next decade.

Snyder outlined a broad set of goals for energy policy between now and 2025 during a roundtable Thursday in Detroit.

“Coal is not a preferred fuel for a variety of reasons - in terms of the environmental impacts, but also other consequences,” he said. “Again, we don’t have coal in Michigan versus some of the other options we have with renewables, with wind, or with things like natural gas.”

Snyder’s administration recently released a report that says the state could get 30% of its energy from renewables by 2035. But the governor says he plans to set less specific goals for renewable production. He says that would allow utilities to adapt to changing conditions in the market. 

Utilities are well on their way to meeting the state’s current standards for things like renewables and energy efficiency. But the governor admits it won’t be easy to put new standards in place before the current ones expire next year.

“I’m doing this in partnership with the legislators and recognizing the practical realities of an election year,” said Snyder. “So the window to do this comprehensively or all pieces next year could be very challenging.”

Environmental groups applauded Governor Snyder’s comments Thursday. They urged state lawmakers to take quick action.

“Michigan’s current clean energy standards are driving down the cost of business in Michigan, and saving people money on their energy bills,” said Patty Birkholz with the Michican League of Conservation Voters. Birkholz also helped author Michigan’s current renewable standards.

“If state legislators stall on strong energy policies, we stand to lose the jobs and savings generated to date. Today’s announcement creates the traction needed for progress straight out of the gate next year.”

The state Legislature is set to return to Lansing on January 8th.

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