Michigan on the cusp of becoming a national leader in renewable energy

As the U.S. government proceeds with plans and initiatives to spur growth in the green technology industry, one state – Michigan – is preparing to vote on a law that will significantly increase the amount of clean power that the state is required to produce.

Several ballot initiatives, including one that would raise the mandated amount of renewable energy created by the state from 10 percent to 25 percent, comes on the heels of a study from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) which reported that an expansion of the state's green industry would generate hundreds of millions of additional business over the next five years.

State industry leaders hailed the proposed measures, saying that it would put Michigan at the forefront of the clean power movement.

"When it comes to energy, the status quo is not an option," Arnold Boezaart, director for the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center, a think tank devoted to green energy development, said at a recent forum hosted by the MPSC. "In a rapidly changing global environment, new and emerging technologies are forever changing the way we produce and use energy. Making a commitment to develop a more comprehensive U.S. energy portfolio, including renewable energy, is a forward-looking choice."

Other participants at the convention, including the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Natural Resources Defense Council, estimated that the stricter laws would cut down carbon emissions in the state by approximately 270 million metric tons and slow oil usage by 1.5 million barrels by the year 2030.

While the initiative has yet to officially be placed on the ballot for the fall elections, the ideas proposed in Michigan may be the start of state-based solutions about the future of renewable energy.

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