Are Governor's Energy Goals Attainable?

By: Tiffany Teasley Email
By: Tiffany Teasley Email

Gov. Granholm was energetic to say the least about the state's energy efficiency in just 11 years.

"By the year 2020, Michigan will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels for generating electricity by 45 percent," Granholm said.

But is that goal attainable? MSU Agricultural Professor Stephen Harsh says "yes," but there will be some challenges.

"It will have some challenges, upgrading the grid, getting the supply chain and we'll probably have some zoning issues that we'll have to work through," Harsh said.

Harsh says about 70 percent of our electricity currently comes from fossil fuels, but he says getting the solar panels and wind turbines to get the job done could present problems.

"Towards the end of the year you had to wait two to three years to get a turbine, if you were awarded one, so that's going to be a problem is getting enough wind turbines to do the job," Harsh said.

Granholm also called on utility companies to drastically change the way they do business.

"Put our utility companies in the energy efficiency business by changing how rates are set," Granholm said.

"This is a huge challenge for every utility, but I think we're up for it," said Mark Nixon of the Lansing Board of Water & Light.

But the Lansing Board of Water & Light says the cost of wind and solar energy can be up to 70 percent more expensive.

"Right now renewable energy is considerably more expensive than traditional energy, with the current mandates from the state of Michigan, it's fair to say that rates will go up," Nixon said.

As for the 45 by 20 goal, the Lansing Board of Water & Light says plans for a new power plant can make that achievable.

"When that happens, it's going to reduce the carbon footprint by 50 percent or more and we believe with the combination of other factors, that we're going to be able to meet that goal," Nixon said. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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