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Reports Show Michigan Industry Can Save Under Clean Power Plan

Research shows industrial customers of electric utilities save money if the utilities follow the policies driven by the Clean Power Plan rather than business as usual. (Karim Ghantous/Flickr)
Research shows industrial customers of electric utilities save money if the utilities follow the policies driven by the Clean Power Plan rather than business as usual. (Karim Ghantous/Flickr)
September 27, 2016

LANSING, Mich. – As the merits of the EPA's Clean Power Plan are argued at an appeals court today, recent data is adding more backbone to arguments in favor of the rules to reduce carbon emissions. Separate reports from Georgia Tech and the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency show how the implementation of the Clean Power Plan can boost competitiveness for manufacturers in Michigan and other states.

Douglas Jester, a principal with clean energy consultant 5 Lakes Energy in Michigan, said it's clear that energy efficiency strategies reduce energy bills.

"These studies have shown that industrial customers of electric utilities save money if the utilities follow the policies driven by the Clean Power Plan rather than business as usual," he said.

According to the Alliance report, industrial energy efficiency can save businesses nearly $300 billion from avoided electricity purchases. And the Georgia Tech analysis also found energy savings for industry under Clean Power Plan compliance nearly $40 billion annually.

Michigan was noted in the Alliance report as a top state for the greatest total carbon emission reductions from energy efficiency improvements in the industrial sector.

James Clift, the policy director for the Michigan Environmental Council said manufacturers saw the benefits of the state's energy efficiency program.

"And it helped reduce their cost of their energy purchases but many times they're getting some ancillary benefits from more efficient operations in general which are making them more globally competitive within their industry," Clift said.

The executive director of the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, Jennifer Kefer, said savings from industrial energy efficiency can be invested in plant modernization, product improvements or job creation. And she contended that the reports dispel the myth that clean energy and manufacturing competitiveness have to be in conflict.

"By investing in industrial efficiency we can reduce emissions while simultaneously slashing utility bills, creating jobs and strengthening the industrial sector," she explained. "And those benefits are really spelled out in the findings of our report pretty dramatically."

Meanwhile, on Monday, the Michigan Agency for Energy released modeling results that also show the state's path to Clean Power Plan compliance would reduce costs compared to a future without the rule.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI