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Michigan Gets an “F” for Renewable Power Goals

Michigan gets a little less than 5 percent of its power from wind, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (Sam Forson/Pexels)
Michigan gets a little less than 5 percent of its power from wind, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (Sam Forson/Pexels)
July 25, 2018

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan gets a failing grade for the effectiveness of its Renewable Portfolio Standard in a new report.

The group Food and Water Watch examined the RPS in states that have established these standards for getting a percentage of their electricity from renewable sources. Michigan's current goal is 15 percent, one of the lowest among the 29 states with standards in place.

Patrick Woodall, research director and senior policy advocate for Food and Water Watch, said Michigan still has a long way to go toward using 100 percent renewable power.

"We evaluated state programs on three metrics: the target goal's percentage of renewable power, the inclusion of dirty energy sources, and how quickly states were projected to transition to wind, solar and geothermal energy over the next two decades," he said.

The report criticized Michigan's renewable-energy credit program for allowing polluters to count certain relatively "dirty" sources of power as renewable – such as combustion from burning trash, wood-fired power plants, paper mill residue known as black liquor, and burning waste methane from factory farms and landfills.

Opponents of raising the Renewable Portfolio Standard have said it would cost jobs in the fossil-fuel industry.

Woodall's group believes all states should move quickly toward getting 100 percent of their energy from wind, solar and geothermal sources, and move away entirely from coal, natural gas and nuclear power. However, he said, states have to pitch in make it happen.

"Stronger programs with better targets and cleaner portfolios can promote the necessary transition to genuinely clean energy and help curb the worst effects of climate change." he said.

The group Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan recently pulled its ballot initiative that called for a goal of 30 percent by 2030, after striking a deal with DTE Energy and Consumers Energy. The utilities promised to get 25 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025, another 25 percent reduction from energy-efficiency programs.

The report is online at

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - MI