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Andy Balaskovitz

Andy Balaskovitz

JACKSON — Michigan’s second-largest electric utility says it is developing a program to meet the needs of large energy users who want more of their electricity to come from renewable sources

Gov. Rick Snyder is asking state lawmakers to increase funding for the popular Skilled Trades Training Fund program as part of his budget for the 2017 fiscal year.

State lawmakers remain focused on passing energy policy this year that preserves Michigan’s limited electric choice market and abandons renewable energy standards in favor of comprehensive planning requirements.

As the state grapples with the Flint water crisis and a long-term funding solution for Detroit Public Schools, business advocates hope lawmakers will still be able to tackle policies that keep health care costs down, add transparency and help companies attract talent. 

Advocates in West Michigan have spent nearly two years pitching Property Assessed Clean Energy financing to Kent County officials as one more tool in the Grand Rapids region’s economic development toolbox.

While a competitive tax structure was important, Las Vegas-based Switch Communications Group LLC had a different prerequisite before even considering opening a cloud-based data center in Michigan: reliable, renewable energy. 

As the price of wind and solar energy declines and even falls in line with fossil fuels, some policymakers have started to wonder if it’s time to expand Michigan’s renewable energy mandates.

Despite a growing number of plug-in electric vehicles on display at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, industry analysts say the segment has failed to reach the “aspirational” levels many had hoped.

Business advocates in Michigan are applauding the Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder over changes made late last year to the state’s abandoned and unclaimed property process.

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