WMU hosts state energy forum

Mar 15, 2013

Michigan high-tension power lines (file photo)
Credit AP Photo

The future of energy in Michigan – how it is used and produced – will be the focus of a forum in Kalamazoo on Monday, March 18th, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Western Michigan University’s Fetzer Center. It’s the fourth in a series of seven public meetings around the state sponsored by the Michigan Public Service Commission and the state’s Energy Office.

MPSC spokeswoman Judy Palnau says the meetings grew out of a “special message” on energy and the environment delivered by Governor Rick Snyder during an appearance at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Station near Richland last November. He asked the MPSC and the Energy Office to hold the forums to get public comment on “next steps” beyond the 2015 energy goals included in legislation passed in 2008. 

Palnau says the forums focus on three areas: renewable energy, energy efficiency, and “electric choice”. She says all of the meetings so far have been very well attended. Issues such as coal-versus-solar and the affordability of energy are among those that have drawn comment. Comments are also being accepted at a special webpage through April 25th.

After the forums are over, the MPSC and the Energy Office will issue a draft report based on the testimony. It will be available for public comment later this year. The final report will go to the governor and the legislature by the end of the year. Palnau says it will probably offer data and analysis rather than recommendations on contentious issues like construction of more coal-fired power plants.

Palnau says the MPSC believes that Michigan is “on track” to meet the goal of generating at least ten percent of its electricity using renewable resources by 2015.