Alternative energy study should give useful results

We think Gov. Rick Snyder is on the right path with a year-long study he’s about to launch on means and methods needed to set the state’s energy policies in the future.

Two occurrences in November set the stage for the review, which will be coordinated by the Michigan Public Service Commission and Michigan Energy Office. First, voters solidly trounced a ballot proposal that would have required Michigan utilities to generate 25 percent of their power using alternative sources such as solar and wind by 2025. And then Snyder, who is known to support alternative energy sources, noted in a message on energy and the environment, that it wasn’t a matter of whether the state would move in that direction but at what pace.

Currently, a 2008 law requires utilities in the state of Michigan to produce 10 percent of their energy using alternative means by 2015.

The Associated Press reported that the study is designed to provide Snyder and the state Legislature with information they’ll need to devise a new energy strategy as the deadline arrives, said public service Chairman John Quackenbush, who is leading the project with Steven Bakkal, director of the energy office.

Information, in part, will be gathered through a series of meetings that will be held across the state. The Mining Journal will publish specific dates, times and locations when they become available. Data gathered will be compiled into reports for the governor and state lawmakers.

AP noted that the 2008 law also required electric utilities in the state to reduce power usage by 5.5 percent and gas providers to achieve a 3.85 percent cut by 2015. Another provision guarantees that one-tenth of the electricity sold in Michigan will come from suppliers other than regulated utilities. The study will deal with all those topics, Bakkal said.

The fact that Snyder, with very little to gain in a political capital sense, is plowing into the topic speaks well of his administration’s mindset and direction. We hope all stakeholders, citizens, utility company representatives, environmental groups and others attend these meetings to help make this a robust, relevant process.