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NextEnergy Study Shows Alternative Energy Investments Create Jobs, Strengthen Economy

Governor Jennifer M Granholm's emphasis on developing an alternative energy sector will create jobs and strengthen the economy according to a new study released today. The extensive energy policy-related study assesses the impact of energy efficiency and renewable energy policies on Michigan's economy. The results of the study clearly show that investments in energy efficiency programs and the adoption of a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) as called for in Granholm's economic plan, will create up to 19,000 additional jobs and increase the Gross State Product (GSP) by as much as $1.6 billion.

"As we celebrate Earth Day, we are reminded that we can both protect our natural resources and strengthen our economy at the same time," Granholm said. "Michigan's bountiful natural gifts position us to be a world leader in the development, production, and use of alternative energy. Developing this sector of our economy will create jobs, diversify our economy, improve our environment, and create new sources of energy to meet rising demand worldwide."

The study entitled, "A Study of Economic Impacts from the Implementation of a Renewable Portfolio Standard and an Energy Efficiency Program in Michigan," was overseen by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and completed by NextEnergy. Using the most accurate modeling tools available, the study focused on the long-range results of nine different policy alternatives for providing Michigan's future energy needs. The results conclude that an increased use of energy efficiency and renewable energy will not only enhance our state's environmental stewardship but will generate increased business activity in Michigan.

The study projects from the year 2006 to 2025 and includes two sets of models that calculate impacts from aggressive and moderate renewable portfolio standards. The results show that during the period 2007-2020, the implementation of a moderate RPS, 7 percent by 2016, would grow Michigan's GSP by $194 million and create 2,020 jobs, while implementing an aggressive RPS, 15 percent by 2025, would grow the GSP by $533 million and create 6,381 jobs. The study further shows that combining an aggressive RPS with aggressive energy efficiency efforts will substantially increase the benefits from doing either alone.

"The results of this study clearly demonstrate the environmental and economic benefits of adopting a renewable portfolio standard and energy efficiency programs for Michigan," said DEQ Director Steven E. Chester. "Undertaking these actions is a demonstration in leadership and an investment in our state's future."

In describing the methodology utilized in the analysis, NextEnergy CEO Jim Croce said, "It was important that the report reflect an accurate, fact-based assessment of the likely affects to Michigan's economy if such bold energy policies are enacted. Our study was deliberately designed to be very conservative, almost a 'worst case scenario' approach. And even from a conservative set of assumptions, the results clearly indicate that a Michigan RPS combined with energy efficiency programs implemented statewide will have a significantly positive economic impact on our state."

"It is time for the state of Michigan to adopt proactive approaches to increase the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency to diversify Michigan's economy and its energy supplies," said Macauley Whiting, Jr., trustee and treasurer of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, one of the study's sponsors.

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