For the past century, the automobile industry has been the heart and soul of the Michigan economy. Sadly, the United States recession has left major car manufacturers filing for bankruptcy and families struggling to make ends meet. For the last few years, the state of Michigan has been searching for a new industry to be the driving force behind its economy.
While former Governor Jennifer Granholm was in office, she proposed a plan to put families back to work. The Michigan jobs initiative reestablished the state’s former goal to become the country’s leader of renewable energy while creating employment opportunities for its residents.
In 2008, Michigan passed a law that required 10 percent of the states’ electricity to come from renewable sources by 2015. Currently, the number resides at less than four percent; however, many believe the goal is still attainable with the Michigan jobs initiative. A series of job-creating proposals have been put into action:
Turn homes into renewable energy producers
Home and business owners have the opportunity to install solar panels or wind turbines on their buildings. They will then be able to sell renewable energy back to companies at a fair and pre-set price.
Create energy efficiency initiatives for companies
Rather than creating new power plants, utilities receive incentives by offering new energy efficient technologies to Michigan residents.
Devise the Michigan Energy Corps
In order to achieve the state’s renewable energy goal, everyone will need to do their part to help conserve power. The Michigan Energy Corps had been developed by Gov. Granholm as a way to put unemployed citizens back to work by weatherizing homes and installing renewable energy technology in public and private buildings.
Launch the Michigan Saves Program
Michigan Saves enables families to weatherize and install more energy-efficient technology to their homes. Technology advancements may include new windows, insulation or furnaces. With Michigan Saves, there is no cost up-front, and homeowners pay for their investments easily with their monthly utility bills. Better yet, customers see savings almost immediately.
The Michigan jobs initiative has some inventive programs in play, but is it making a big difference in state energy efficiency and unemployment rate? Unfortunately, that is something that will only become apparent with time. However, the state does seem to be on the right track toward making it happen.