Michiganders support an improved power grid that will help connect them to thousands of new jobs, expand clean energy access and lower utility bills.
These are the findings from a new survey for the 21st Century Jobs Coalition. The survey reveals that citizens support upgrading transmission infrastructure in the state because it will create jobs and expand access to clean energy sources. In fact, more than three out of four residents surveyed favor better power lines to improve access to wind energy.
What’s more, Michiganders, who are paying some of the highest electricity prices in the region, support an improved transmission system in the state in order to help lower their utility bills – a whopping 86 percent of those surveyed.
Michigan has the second highest retail electricity price in the region, which as of November, was nearly 13¢ per kilowatt hour. That’s compared to a national average of approximately 11¢ per kilowatt hour.
And it’s not just families who stand to benefit from access to lower-cost electricity through expanded transmission. In a state and a regional economy heavily dependent on manufacturing, lower electricity costs to industrial users will make businesses stronger and support the entire regional supply chain.
Michigan is forging ahead to build renewable energy in-state with a 10 percent by 2015 renewable portfolio standard (RPS). The state utility regulator has said that Michigan currently produces 110 MW, or 3.8 percent, of its total electricity supply from renewable energy from wind, biomass and other sources. Production is expected to soar this year to 930MW.
That expansion has driven at least $100 million in new investment and supported job creation in Michigan – much needed economic development.
Developing clean power in Michigan has multiple benefits, benefits that are facilitated by the transmission lines that are crucial to delivering renewable energy to the consumers and businesses that need it. Lines like the Thumb Loop Project, the first Multi-Value Project (MVP) approved by the Midwest ISO (MISO), will unlock Michigan’s excellent wind resources. Now, the peninsula needs new transmission infrastructure to open up power markets to renewable energy from the rest of the region. MISO’s proposed MVP projects are expected to deliver a positive return on investment to Michiganders of 1.7 to 3 times the cost by providing greater reliability and access to a larger market and diverse energy sources. This means that Michiganders will see even greater benefits from clean, lower-cost electricity, but only if we build the regional transmission infrastructure needed to deliver these benefits.