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Sunday, 20 December 2015 22:43

Q&A: Leisl Clark, President, Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council

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While lawmakers will likely wait until next year to decide the future of Michigan’s energy policy, Liesl Eichler Clark, president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, believes corporate purchases of alternative energy will drive the sector in 2016.

What are the major drivers in the energy sector that will impact business in 2016?

This issue of corporate purchases of advanced energy is a really big deal. I know I’m hearing more and more of these companies coming in … saying we want 100 percent renewables. Look at Herman Miller, Steelcase and Whirlpool — there are already a lot of companies that are doing this in Michigan. I think this issue is only going to grow exponentially. I think this is going to be a trend and we’re only going to see it explode further in Michigan.

Are your members advocating for any specific policy change for 2016?

Fundamentally, the board has been very clear that they want to see support for renewables and efficiency. Expanding our use of renewable energy in Michigan is critical, and using energy efficiency in Michigan to keep bills down is important as well. Our future when it comes to energy is going to look diverse, and it needs to be a diverse portfolio. The other thing our board has been very clear on is the opportunity for market access to be part of that. Our members want to be able to have a role working with the utilities to help build that generation and be part of that energy mix in Michigan.

With that in mind, if you could pick one policy for Governor Snyder to champion in 2016, what would it be?

I think the Governor laid it out in his March energy address when he talked about our diverse energy portfolio in the future being up to 40 percent renewables and energy efficiency. If he can champion what he’s already said, I think that’d be fantastic. … It needs to be reliable. Reliability is a big deal for manufacturing. We need to have the energy there when we need it.

Is there anything that keeps you awake at night?

I think that my one fear with this legislative process is that we end up with something that’s not better than the status quo. I’m not always sure from day-to-day as the legislation evolves that what we’re talking about is better than the status quo.

Interview conducted and condensed by John Wiegand.

Read 1842 times Last modified on Monday, 28 December 2015 10:31

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