Read

Search form

With Wind, Comes Work, in Michigan

With Wind, Comes Work, in Michigan
Mon, 8/20/2012 - by Silvio Marcacci
This article originally appeared on Clean Technica

Increasing Michigan’s renewable energy standard (RES) to 25 percent by 2025 would be a “job-creating machine” that doubles the number of green jobs in the state, according to a new Michigan State University (MSU) study. The 25 by 25 RES proposal, just certified by the state’s Bureau of Elections to appear on this year’s ballot, would more than double Michigan’s renewable electricity target from the current 10 percent by 2015 goal.

The MSU study, “Projected Job and Investment Impacts of Policy Requiring 25% Renewable Energy by 2025 in Michigan,” found that increasing the state RES would create at least 74,500 new green collar jobs, and potentially up to 113,850 jobs. Specifically, the RES would create 31,500 construction jobs, 43,000 operations and maintenance jobs, and around 4,200 manufacturing jobs.

Doubling Down, Long-Term

A Bureau of Labor Statistics analysis published in March found that Michigan currently has 80,000 green collar jobs, meaning the RES would at least double the state’s green workforce. In addition, the ballot measure would create more than $10 billion in new investments.

These new jobs would last, too. “Jobs” are defined as full job years in the study, meaning full employment for one person at 2,080 hours in a 12-month span. Operations and maintenance jobs are calculated to last for a 20 to 30 year duration.

These workforce and economic benefits directly contrast with a study published last month by a coalition opposing the RES, which found it would create $10 billion in higher utility bills. “All the evidence proves the simple fact that increasing Michigan’s renewable energy standard will put Michiganders back to work and bring much-needed new investments,” said Jim Moran, president of Advanced Energy Group.

Wind’s The Winner

The wind energy industry would be the biggest economic winner of all the renewable energy technologies modeled in the MSU study. A 25 percent RES would directly create 22,450 job years from construction, 14,500 potential job years from affiliated services like land leasing or legal services, 4,650 job years from increased lodging and food services for construction workers, and 1,130 job years to run and maintain the new wind farms for every year they are in operation.

Self Sufficiency, Please

But beyond doubling the green collar workforce, a 25 by 25 target make economic sense for Michigan’s electricity market. As Grist’s David Roberts recently noted, the state imports a majority of its fossil fuel resources at a cost of $22.6 billion, but has enough local renewable energy potential to power itself three times over.

Michigan’s Public Service Commission found the price of renewable electricity is now cheaper than coal-fired electricity generated in the state – and that’s not even considering external costs like asthma, greenhouse gases, or mercury pollution. In 2008, the state had 34 operational wind turbines. Today, it has at least 288, and likely more since energy companies are not required to report new turbines.

As Michigan voters tune into what’s at stake this November to determine their vote on the 25 by 25 ballot measure, they should remember that voting yes means economic and environmental benefits. “It’s a job-creating machine, with the added benefit of cleaner air, improved public health, and healthier communities,” said Chris Kolb, president of the Michigan Environmental Council.

Silvio Marcacci is Principal at Marcacci Communications.

Add new comment

Sign Up

Article Tabs

climate change, global warming, Break Free from Fossil Fuels, climate protests, global climate movement, Carbon Brief, carbon emissions, climate arrests, British Petroleum, BP, Enbridge, Flood Wall Street, People's Climate March, risking arrest, civil dis

My arrest didn’t feel like a risk, it felt like a transaction. I’ve found freedom in facing my fears and dispensing with false choices.

Nestle water grab, water privatization, Columbia River Gorge, Cascade Locks

Voters in one Oregon county last week approved a ban on commercial bottled water production, stopping a years-long effort by Swiss transnational Nestle to sell over 100 million gallons of water a year from the Columbia River Gorge.

Bernie Sanders, political revolution, money in politics, political left, generational shift, revolutionary politics, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, Fight for $15, young voters, Bernie supporters

Without Occupy, Black Lives Matter, the Fight for $15, the mobilization of teachers and nurses, immigrant movements, and many other struggles, there would never have been a Bernie Sanders campaign.

Activists in Ibeno, Nigeria.

Last weekend, tens of thousands of activists in 13 countries on six continents protested against climate change and the burning of fossil fuels.

wealth inequality, the 1%, the 99%, income inequality, "The Divide," Katherine Round, widening inequality, global protests, neoliberalism

Katharine Round’s new documentary, "The Divide," adds substantially to the debate around inequality as it explains in clear terms how our 35-year experiment in neoliberalism has failed spectacularly.

Bernie Sanders, political revolution, money in politics, political left, generational shift, revolutionary politics, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, Fight for $15, young voters, Bernie supporters

Without Occupy, Black Lives Matter, the Fight for $15, the mobilization of teachers and nurses, immigrant movements, and many other struggles, there would never have been a Bernie Sanders campaign.

Posted 4 days 16 hours ago
wealth inequality, the 1%, the 99%, income inequality, "The Divide," Katherine Round, widening inequality, global protests, neoliberalism

Katharine Round’s new documentary, "The Divide," adds substantially to the debate around inequality as it explains in clear terms how our 35-year experiment in neoliberalism has failed spectacularly.

Posted 5 days 17 hours ago
Act Out, Occupy, GMOs, spoken word, poetry, art, creative activism, the Illuminator, activist projection, Grayson Earle, GMOs, March Against Monsanto, Monsanto, Big Ag, Right to Know, genetic engineering, non-GMO, anti-GMO, prison industrial complex, Jorg

This week, we're foregoing some right brain poetry for left brain science – GMOs and the science of nature vs. the science of genetically engineering it.

Posted 6 days 23 hours ago
Bernie Sanders, George Orwell, 1984, Antonio Gramsci, Ralph Nader, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, money in politics, Physicians for a National Health Program, Green Party, Libertarian Party, mass mobilizations, mass protests

1984 America is about—unless we act quickly—to get ugly. It's in a moment of history that Antonio Gramsci called the “interregnum”: the period when a discredited regime is collapsing but a new one has yet to take its place.

Posted 6 days 23 hours ago
Activists in Ibeno, Nigeria.

Last weekend, tens of thousands of activists in 13 countries on six continents protested against climate change and the burning of fossil fuels.

Posted 4 days 17 hours ago
wealth inequality, the 1%, the 99%, income inequality, "The Divide," Katherine Round, widening inequality, global protests, neoliberalism

Katharine Round’s new documentary, "The Divide," adds substantially to the debate around inequality as it explains in clear terms how our 35-year experiment in neoliberalism has failed spectacularly.

Nestle water grab, water privatization, Columbia River Gorge, Cascade Locks

Voters in one Oregon county last week approved a ban on commercial bottled water production, stopping a years-long effort by Swiss transnational Nestle to sell over 100 million gallons of water a year from the Columbia River Gorge.

Verizon strikes, outsourced jobs, low wage economy, telecom giants, corporate profits

Verizon’s decision to prioritize short-term profits and executive compensation over investments in advanced services that rely on its skilled workforce makes it the poster child for corporate excess.

Act Out, Occupy, GMOs, spoken word, poetry, art, creative activism, the Illuminator, activist projection, Grayson Earle, GMOs, March Against Monsanto, Monsanto, Big Ag, Right to Know, genetic engineering, non-GMO, anti-GMO, prison industrial complex, Jorg

This week, we're foregoing some right brain poetry for left brain science – GMOs and the science of nature vs. the science of genetically engineering it.

Bernie Sanders, George Orwell, 1984, Antonio Gramsci, Ralph Nader, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, money in politics, Physicians for a National Health Program, Green Party, Libertarian Party, mass mobilizations, mass protests

1984 America is about—unless we act quickly—to get ugly. It's in a moment of history that Antonio Gramsci called the “interregnum”: the period when a discredited regime is collapsing but a new one has yet to take its place.