Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) will use her annual State of the State address tonight to announce that her administration will consider “all feasible and prudent alternatives before approving new coal-fired power plants” in the state.
Granholm will also call on the state to reduce by 45 percent its reliance on electric plants powered by coal and natural gas by 2020. (Link to a PDF of the speech).
According to an advance copy of the governor’s speech, Granholm will announce the expansion of an energy efficiency effort that has already saved the state government $60 million over three years and allowed it to cut electricity use by 23 percent. The governor will announce that the state has set a goal of weatherizing more than 100,000 homes, and getting energy efficiency and renewable energy technology in 1,000 buildings. A new program called Michigan Saves, created in partnership with utility companies, will cover the upfront costs of weatherization for consumers.
Efficiency gains, Granholm believes, will avoid the need for new coal-powered plants.
“That’s why I have directed the Department of Environmental Quality to evaluate, in consultation with our Public Service Commission, both the need for additional electricity generation and all feasible and prudent alternatives before approving new coal-fired power plants in Michigan,” Granholm will say.
Anti-coal activists praised the move. “Governor Granholm’s bold leadership has put Michigan at the forefront of clean energy and economic development,” said Bruce Nilles, director of the Sierra Club’s Move Beyond Coal Campaign in a statement. “By pausing the coal rush to take a hard look at the alternatives available the Governor is positioning Michigan to the make the smart decisions needed to be a real player in the new clean energy economy.”