Granholm: “The bottom line is that [energy] policy matters”
Michigan’s “green” economy is growing fast, data shows, with thousands of clean energy jobs on the horizon as a new manufacturing base is being built on the expertise of its battered auto industry.
The change raises the prospect that Michigan might one day be a global hub for electric vehicles and advanced battery development, along with biofuel technologies, wind power parts and solar panels.
That’s from a Reuters/SolveClimate article and interview with former Gov. Granholm. Here’s more:
Former Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, whose second term ended in January, said in an interview that Michigan businesses are expected to create more than 150,000 clean energy jobs in the next decade from $14 billion of projects in the pipeline.
The jobs will stem from 17 advanced battery companies and nearly 50 solar, wind and biofuels companies that came to Michigan from August 2009 to December 2010, lured by state tax credits and federal stimulus grants, Granholm told SolveClimate News.
“Michigan has gone through the decade from hell,” Granholm said.
“The first eight years of the last decade were an example of job loss. But these last two years are an example of positive national and state policy working in tandem. What that can bring “¦ is more investment, more research and development, and, most importantly, jobs.”
As governor, Granholm implemented aggressive clean energy policies and tax incentives to attract businesses, foster collaboration with universities and reverse massive job loss in the automotive and manufacturing sectors….
Granholm has been a leader in pushing policies for clean energy jobs (see Granholm: How to win the race for jobs).
Today, however, Michigan ranks No. 1 in the nation for job creation improvement in a recent Gallup survey of state job markets.
“The bottom line is that policy matters,” Granholm said. “Without policy, this would not be happening.”
Granholm began her clean energy approach with the $2 billion 21st Century Jobs Fund, a ten-year program started in 2005 to encourage venture capital investments and R&D funding for 1,500 startups or existing firms looking to transfer skills from the old economy to the cleantech industry.
Two years later, Granholm signed the state’s renewable portfolio standard requiring utilities to get 10 percent of their electricity supply from clean energy generation, renewable energy credits and energy efficiency programs by 2015.
Since then, a vast array of clean energy programs have popped up, including: tax-exempt zones for R&D and manufacturing facilities; business accelerators for cleantech startups; clean energy training grants; and business tax credits for alternative energy companies.
The whole article is worth reading to see how a coordinated set of policies can turn around even the most desperate economy.