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Friday, June 20, 2008

Michigan, Last in Efficiency?

This is a commentary on energy efficiency posted on the Enviro Mich Listserv on Jun 19, 2008

Dear Michigan Citizens, Voters and Ratepayers,

Evidence suggests that Michigan's lack of energy efficiency programs and achievement are hurting our citizens and businesses and putting us deeper in an economic hole. This situation may not improve. Energy efficiency legislation is currently being debated in the Michigan Senate with opposition.

Is Michigan last in Energy Efficiency?
· A quick look at the chart in this site suggests the State of Michigan may be making the least effort to promote energy efficiency of all 50 states. Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana appear to be making more energy efficiency efforts.
· Michigan is ranked very low in US residential and commercial building codes and only 33
rd in energy efficiency policy according to an ACEEE study. About 15 years ago, we were one of the leading states in efficiency.

Does Energy Efficiency Matter? (It’s only money and health and …)
· Successful commercial and industrial companies are energy efficient. Wal-Mart became highly efficient in many ways including energy use and prospered. K-Mart didn’t. Cutting energy costs contributes directly to profits and even corporate survival.
· Energy efficient homes allow residents to save and spend on better things (education, retirement, health care, mortgage payments) rather than just creating more smoke, CO2 and other pollution.
· Wisconsin and Vermont have had excellent efficiency programs for years. If Michigan had Vermont’s program and results, we would have put back $3 billion into our economy since 2000.

An Energy Efficiency Program is an Investment, not a Tax
· A mandated, state-wide, utility funded energy efficiency program would communicate and incentivise efficiency products and practices for residential, commercial and industrial electric and heating.
· Such a program would cost less than $1.00 per month on a typical home electric bill. But, it can offset the need for a new coal plant which would increase the monthly electric bill by $3.00 to $4.00 for decades.
· In addition to avoiding a coal plant charge on an electric bill, an energy efficient house can save over $50 per month on combined electric and heating bills.

There is Strong Support for Energy Efficiency program in Michigan
· According to a poll by MUCC and NWF, 79% of Michigan sportsman support a Michigan energy plan which requires investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy, first, before building new coal fired plants to meet our energy needs.
· Other polls confirm public support for energy efficiency.
· Preliminary recommendations from the Michigan Climate Action Council strongly support the need for an energy efficiency program in Michigan. Business, utilities, environs and government are all represented.
From the RCI workgroup:
From the Energy Supply workgroup:
· Plus, energy efficiency will create Michigan jobs.

Surrounding States already have Energy Efficiency Laws and Programs
· Surrounding states have already passed stronger energy efficiency legislation (mandating energy efficiency programs) which puts them far ahead of Michigan in ratepayer savings. For example: Wisconsin (1.2% of revenue), Minnesota (1.5% of savings), Ohio (2% savings) and Illinois (2% savings).

· Of note, proposed Michigan legislation calls for only a modest 1% energy savings per year. We will never become fully competitive by aiming low.
· A recent Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance study indicates that Michigan could save $1.7 billion a year (2025) with a 1% energy savings program but $3.1 billion a year with a 2% savings program.

Energy efficiency is the quickest, cleanest and least expensive way to achieve our energy goals. It creates jobs, save rate payers money which can flow back into the state's economy and reduces CO2, pollution and health problems. Energy efficiency is an investment in waste and pollution reduction and pays many dividends.

The Senate, House, other government, media and friends need to know of our support for energy efficiency in Michigan. We haven't had an energy efficiency program in years and it is hurting our residents and economy. Quick action and a high energy savings target can help get us out of our economic hole.

Take care, frank

Frank Zaski
A Concerned Citizen
Franklin, Mi.