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Michigan needs to change its energy plans, with or without the Clean Power Plan, experts say

Average surface temperatures for 2015. NOAA
Average surface temperatures for 2015.

Michigan could benefit from cleaner energy. That was the message of a report released Monday on model scenarios about Michigan’s energy future.

The Michigan Agency for Energy’s report details what could happen in Michigan under the Clean Power Plan – and without it.

The Clean Power Plan is the Obama administration’s plan for reducing carbon pollution. Michigan is among the 29 states and state agencies suing to block it. The pending court case has caused Michigan to go “pencils down,” and hold off on implementing any part of the plan. However, the state’s models for the report were already started when the state put its pencils down.

The report shows that complying with the plan through energy waste reduction and trading carbon credits with other states could lower costs when compared to the status quo.

But Michigan Agency for Energy’s Valerie Brader said with or without the Clean Power Plan, Michigan needs to change. “While the carbon rule ought to be on our list, it’s not the top. It’s not our biggest priority,” she said. “It’s not the thing that’s really going to change energy policy in Michigan.”

Changes to energy policy could come from the state legislature. Currently several bills on energy are stalled. Brader says, “There are things in current law that if not changed are likely to drive up Michigan’s energy costs in a way that is also not beneficial for our environment.”

Current law restricts the amount of money spent on energy efficiency to no more than 1 percent a year. Studies have shown that lifting that restriction could save money.

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