CEO, Consumers Energy
Electric sales are increasing. We’re forecasting electric sales up about 1.3 percent this year, close to the last two years’ growth. Our growth is driven by industrial sales increases of 5.7 percent, on top of 3.6 percent last year. We believe this trend will continue but moderate slightly. In 2012 our customers set an all-time record for electric use during an extremely hot summer, (but) it’s (also) important to recognize the impact of energy efficiency. Due to the effectiveness of our energy efficiency programs, we’ve seen electric sales growth reduced by 40 percent over the past two years. We hope all our customers take advantage of energy efficiency offerings and savings in 2013.
In 2012, with the opening of our Lake Winds Energy Park in Mason County, and other new sources, our renewable energy supply increased to almost 8 percent. Development of our second wind park, Cross Winds, will move forward in 2013. The City of Grand Rapids, a leading participant in our Green Generation program, receives about 25 percent of its energy from our renewable resources.
Partner, Varnum Riddering Schmidt & Howlett LLP
The global demand for energy in 2013 will continue the decades long upward trend. This will put new pressure on the U.S. economy and the Michigan economy to boldly address our energy security. There is no time like the present — with climate change casting an ever more real economic impact shadow on a myriad of activities — for there to be a call to action. I see much more attention being given to energy efficiency and Pure Michigan energy in the coming year. The governor has promised to work on a Michigan energy policy, and the president is likely to do the same. As a result, the legal activity surrounding energy (power purchase agreements, energy construction, electric rate regulation, land use for energy projects, shutting down existing coal-fired generation and energy-related manufacturing) will be very strong but will demand creativity. Innovative thinking and leadership will be required in 2013 to pass from the old energy world to the new energy world. Michigan has the chance to take the lead in this new world on energy production technology, energy efficiency, transportation energy, energy self-sufficiency and energy policy. Some laws need to change, some regulations need to change and some conventional wisdom needs to change. Our organization is in the fray and ready for a full court press. 2013 could be a pivotal year.
Mark Van Allsburg
Managing Partner, Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones PLC
Newly discovered hydrocarbon reserves and new, safe production techniques offer more natural gas and oil — a lot more — right here in Michigan and elsewhere in North America. Recent leasing for oil and gas has been very active in several Michigan areas, including West Michigan, targeting several different prospective formations. Those leasing companies will be moving to develop more natural gas and oil in 2013. “The immediate jobs created by leasing, production, drilling, treating and servicing for natural gas and oil production are great (hundreds of millions of dollars), but the even more important secondary effect created by domestic production is that it can rebalance our economy. Good attitudes, appropriate regulation and thorough, cost-effective safety policies must continue to prevail if we are to fully embrace this opportunity. I see us working in 2013 to more significantly rebalance our economy by increasing the use of local Michigan energy, safely and economically. The time is right.