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Clean Energy Advocates Celebrate National Bioenergy Day, Highlight Economic and Environmental Benefits of Biomass

LANSING — Today bioenergy industry groups, supply chain, partners and advocates across the country are celebrating the fifth annual National Bioenergy Day. Michigan Biomass and the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) have issued the following statements commemorating the immense economic and forest health benefits of biomass power in communities across the state:

“Michigan’s biomass facilities support hundreds of jobs across the supply chain, and bring in millions of dollars in tax revenue, helping to boost local economies in areas of the state that need it most,” said Larry Ward, executive director of MCEF. “Biomass also contributes to Michigan’s renewable energy goals, bringing the state closer to its 15% renewable portfolio standard.”

“Biomass power is a unique homegrown, baseload renewable energy source,” said Gary Melow, director of Michigan Biomass. “Biomass is made from local resources – leftovers from timber harvest and land management practices that are collected from our forests – and goes right back into communities to power homes and businesses with reliable energy, creating local jobs, and stabilizing the electric grid.”

“An ‘all of the above’ energy portfolio in Michigan must make use of biomass,” said Emily Pallarito, a MCEF Fellow. “Not only does biomass help provide reliable and affordable electricity to Michiganders, but the industry is a significant contributor to forest health as well. This helps to protect our abundant resources from wildfire and support our state’s ecotourism industry.”

To learn more about National Bioenergy Day, visit http://bioenergyday.com/. For updates in real time, follow @MCEF_MI and @MichiganBiomass on Twitter and use the hashtag #bioenergyday.

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

About Michigan Biomass: Michigan Biomass is a coalition that advocates for the state’s wood-fired biomass power plants. For more information, please visit http://www.michiganbiomass.com/.

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MCEF Hosts Luncheon with Representative Gary Glenn

MACKINAC ISLAND — The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) hosted a luncheon today featuring notable guest State Representative Gary Glenn (R - Williams Twp.), Chair of the House Energy Policy Committee, during the 32nd Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference.

MCEF Leadership Council Members, Fellows, and staff were in attendance to speak with Rep. Glenn about Michigan’s recent clean energy progress and discuss conservative solutions to the energy challenges still facing the state and its electric ratepayers.

“I enjoyed meeting with the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum to discuss our state’s energy landscape,” said Representative Glenn. “There is still progress to be made to make Michigan a national energy leader, to open up competition in the marketplace, and to bring down rates. The House Energy Policy Committee will continue to work towards comprehensive energy solutions that improve our economy and diversify our energy sources, while holding utilities and regulators accountable to the people of Michigan.”

“We appreciate Representative Glenn speaking with us about Michigan’s energy future and how conservatives can lead on energy policy issues,” said Larry Ward, executive director of MCEF. “There is great opportunity for Michigan to build upon last year’s energy legislation and continue to improve electric reliability and affordability for ratepayers. MCEF remains committed to working with the Michigan Public Service Commission, State Legislature, and Michigan Agency for Energy to transition our state to cleaner, cheaper, and more efficient forms of energy.”

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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MPSC Must Ensure Fair Electric Rates for U.P. Residents

MCEF urges MPSC to protect Upper Peninsula ratepayers, highlights transmission solutions, jobs during public hearing in Marquette

MARQUETTE — Joanna Lewis, program administrator of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF), delivered public commentary today in Marquette at the final hearing held by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) on Integrated Resource Plan requirements.

The MPSC is developing guidelines for utility Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs) as required under the state’s new energy laws. Utilities will use the parameters determined by the MPSC to develop IRPs that address demand response, energy waste reduction, environmental requirements, supply sufficiency, and other considerations.

“Electric rates in the Upper Peninsula are excessive – placing an immense burden on hardworking families and small business owners,” said Lewis. “The U.P. deserves cost-effective solutions that improve infrastructure and make use of new technologies to ensure consistent access to affordable energy around the clock.

“Improving and extending the Upper Peninsula’s transmission lines will help alleviate the challenges facing northern Michigan. While the long-term goal should be to retain Michigan’s competitiveness, create jobs, and draw investment to our state through homegrown clean energy production, we must act now to ensure that all residents have the cheapest and cleanest power that they demand. We can achieve this through transmission – by bringing in wind energy from other states, or even hydropower from Canada. It is up to the MPSC to ensure that utilities consider transmission in their IRPs.”

Lewis concludes: “Residential ratepayers, especially those here today and throughout the rest of the Upper Peninsula, are often left without a voice in the decision-making process. We must not forget our responsibility to these individuals. MCEF looks forward to working with the MPSC to hold utilities accountable to all Michiganders and to ensure Michigan ratepayers receive affordable, reliable, and clean energy for years to come.”

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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MCEF Calls for Increased Ratepayer Protection, Highlights Independent Power Producers, Jobs at MPSC Hearing

MCEF urges MPSC to take action to protect ratepayers during public hearing on Integrated Resource Plan requirements in Grand Rapids

LANSING — Joanna Lewis, program administrator of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF), delivered public commentary yesterday in Grand Rapids at the second hearing in a series of three held by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) on Integrated Resource Plan requirements.

The MPSC is developing guidelines for utility Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs) as required under the state’s new energy laws. Utilities will use the parameters determined by the MPSC to develop IRPs that address demand response, energy waste reduction, environmental requirements, supply sufficiency, and other considerations.

“Utilities do a good job engaging their larger commercial and industrial users when developing Integrated Resource Plans,” said Lewis. “Our concern is that the residential and small business stakeholder communities are not being adequately included early on in the utilities’ process. The job of the MPSC is to make sure that this happens – and we appreciate you holding these public hearings for that reason.

“We also want to highlight the important work of independent power producers (IPPs) and the significant jobs they create in Michigan’s biomass, hydro, solar, wind and waste-to-energy sectors. It is important now more than ever that the MPSC ensure a fair and competitive market for Michigan IPPs. Opening market access for IPPs could certainly be a near-term solution to the current debate on local clearing requirements. Ultimately, free markets and competition will drive innovation which will help lower everyone’s energy bill.”

Lewis concludes: “According to the Clean Jobs Midwest report released last week, the Michigan clean energy and energy efficiency sectors employ 92,271 Michiganders. Our state’s transition to clean energy and energy efficiency will make us more competitive in both the national and global energy economies, helping to lower rates and draw significant investment to Michigan. While this transition is inevitable, we must work to make it as seamless as possible, ensuring reliable, abundant, and affordable energy in the meantime.”

MCEF will deliver public commentary at the final MPSC hearing in Marquette on Sep. 19. For more information about the hearings and how to participate, contact MCEF at info@micef.org.

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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Michigan Experiences Substantial Clean Energy Job Growth, Emerges as Midwest Leader

Michigan leads in advanced transportation jobs, ranks third in total clean energy jobs according to a new report comparing 12 Midwest states

LANSING — A clean jobs and economic analysis of 12 states released last week demonstrates that Michigan continues to lead in clean energy and energy efficiency job growth in the region. According to the Clean Jobs Midwest report, the clean energy and energy efficiency sectors employ 92,271 Michiganders – a 5.3% jump from the 87,616 jobs the state boasted in 2015, and far greater than the 1.93% overall job growth the state experienced over the same period.

Also of note in the report is Michigan’s continued leadership in electric vehicle jobs. Thanks to the state’s strong automotive and manufacturing history, the advanced transportation industry employs 28,577 Michiganders.

Larry Ward, executive director of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF), issued the following statement praising both the clean energy sector’s growth to-date and the state’s recently enacted energy policy that positions Michigan for economic success for years to come:

“MCEF applauds the state’s clean energy industry and the significant job growth that local clean energy businesses have helped secure. Our state’s transition to clean energy and energy efficiency has made us more competitive in both the national and global energy economies. With the recent enactment of Public Acts 341 and 342, which further increase Michigan’s commitment to clean energy and energy efficiency, we can carry this momentum forward and solidify our role as a clean energy leader to attract even more jobs and investment from businesses.”

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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MCEF Calls for Increased Electricity Ratepayer Protection, Praises UCPB Efforts at MPSC Public Hearing

LANSING — Joanna Lewis, program administrator of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF), delivered public commentary on Wednesday in Livonia at the first hearing held by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) on Integrated Resource Plan requirements.

The MPSC is developing guidelines for utility Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs) as required under the state’s new energy laws. Utilities will use the parameters determined by the MPSC to develop IRPs that address demand response, energy waste reduction, environmental requirements, supply sufficiency, and other considerations.

“It’s important that we speak out on behalf of residential ratepayers to keep our Michigan electricity rates as low as possible,” said Lewis. “Under the leadership of Chairman Jim MacInnes, the Utility Consumer Participation Board (UCPB) acts as the advocate that ratepayers so desperately need. We appreciate the hard work of the UCPB and will continue to support their efforts to hold utilities accountable to ratepayers and small businesses. Currently, there is too much cost shifting from Commercial and Industrial customers to the under-protected Residential class.”

“Many of the stakeholders in this room are well-represented by lobbyists and coalitions, and thus their concerns have been heard. However, residential ratepayers themselves are often left without a voice in the process. Let’s not forget our responsibility to these individuals. The MPSC must do its due diligence to hold utilities accountable to the people of Michigan. We look forward to working with the MPSC throughout this process as we focus on Michigan ratepayers and their need for affordable electric service.”

MCEF will also deliver public comments at the MPSC hearings in Grand Rapids and Marquette on September 13 and September 19, respectively. For more information about the hearings and how to participate, contact MCEF at info@micef.org.


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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency. MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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MCEF Announces Hire of New Program Administrator

LANSING — The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) announced today the hiring of Joanna Lewis as its new program administrator. In this role, Lewis will support a variety of communications and programming efforts, including the organization’s newly launched Youth Fellowship Program. 

A Michigander originally, Lewis’s political career commenced in Alaska in 2013 as a legislative aide for former State Representative Bob Lynn (R – Anchorage). Most recently she served as a Civil Deputy Clerk for the Three Affiliated Tribes in North Dakota. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from Michigan State University.

MCEF works to educate the public and policymakers on the immense economic and security benefits of diversifying Michigan’s energy portfolio and moving towards a true “All of the Above” generation mix, with an emphasis on transitioning to cleaner and more renewable forms of energy.

“On behalf of our entire Leadership Council, we are excited to welcome Joanna to MCEF,” said Larry Ward, MCEF executive director. “Joanna’s communications, social media management, and policy research experience will help our organization immediately, and I’m certain she will be a valuable member of our team.”

“As a Lansing native, I am thrilled to be back in Michigan, working to highlight the voice of conservatives on clean energy,” said Lewis. “Conservatives have much to offer to the state energy debate, including ideas to help expand the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as to strengthen Michigan’s position as a national leader in attracting clean energy jobs and investment. MCEF has a strong reputation as a clean energy thought leader, and I’m excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and local energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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Dr. Gary Wolfram Testifies on Electric Utility Industry

Wolfram discusses incentive problems and legislative solutions

LANSING – Dr. Gary Wolfram, the director of economics at Hillsdale College, testified yesterday in front of the Michigan House Energy Policy Committee on the issues inherent in Michigan’s current electric utility industry structure and how changes in incentives and legislation could better promote innovation and drive economic growth.

Citing his white paper Improving Michigan’s Electric Utility Industry, commissioned by the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) in 2015, Dr. Wolfram pointed out flaws in misplaced incentives that lead to problems such as significant barriers to entry in the power generation industry, as well as the lack of incentives to allow a new generator of electricity into a utility market. There are also missed opportunities in aspects of energy efficiency, with little to no incentives for utilities to encourage customers to conserve electricity or avoid peak usage times. These misplaced incentives limit both innovations in Michigan’s energy industry as well as proper competition in the marketplace that keeps costs low for ratepayers, ensures efficiency, and responds to consumer demands.

“The problem is the incentives are misaligned with the best resource use, and dampen the innovative urge that has created such wealth in our market economy,” said Wolfram. “If Michigan can develop an electric utility industry that is a leader in cost efficiency and innovation, it will benefit all Michigan citizens as well as the out-of-state customers of our manufacturing and service sectors.”

Possible solutions to these issues, according to Dr. Wolfram, are expanding retail choice and competition, further structurally separating the electric industry by separating ownership of distribution and generation from a single utility company’s control, and enhancing consumers’ ability to purchase renewable energy.

MCEF issued the following statement today in response to Dr. Wolfram’s testimony:

“We appreciate Dr. Wolfram addressing these important concerns with the committee,” said Larry Ward, executive director of MCEF. “Some of the current incentives and policies in place are not driving innovation and growth in Michigan as they can - and should - be. While national and regional electricity prices are falling, Michigan rates continue to steadily climb. While we have made progress recently with the passage of Public Acts 341 and 342, which aim to address some of these problems outlined by Dr. Wolfram, Michigan still has a ways to go to become a national leader in energy. MCEF looks forward to continuing its work with policymakers, stakeholders, and the public to further improve our state’s energy and economic landscapes.”

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and local energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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Michigan Conservative Energy Forum applauds DTE plan to expand investment in renewable energy

LANSING – The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum issued the following statement today regarding DTE Energy’s plan to shutter all its coal plants by 2040, generating 40 percent of its energy from renewable sources:

“We applaud DTE Energy for committing to accelerate investments in clean, renewable energy,” said Larry Ward, executive director of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum. “An increasingly diversified energy portfolio will not only protect against the price volatility of fuel, but will contribute to our national and grid security and help lower electric rates for families and businesses. By building more renewable energy in Michigan, DTE is also helping to make our state more competitive. This is a welcome announcement for businesses that are looking to put down roots in Michigan and manage their energy costs long-term.”

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and local energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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MCEF Announces New Addition to Leadership Council

LANSING — Today the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) announced the addition of Matthew Hauser to its Leadership Council. Hauser has a strong background in grassroots mobilization and politics; he is currently serving his third term on the Michigan Republican State Committee for the 13th Congressional District and also coordinates the Grassroots USA Pizza and Politics networking meetings throughout the state. He is pursuing his Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law.

The MCEF Leadership Council is comprised of conservative leaders who believe Michigan needs to diversify its energy portfolio and move towards a true “All of the Above” generation mix, with an emphasis on transitioning to cleaner and more renewable forms of energy.

“The MCEF team strives every day to educate the public and policymakers on the benefits of Michigan’s clean energy economy,” said Larry Ward, Executive Director of MCEF. “Benefits like energy independence, lower rates, and the creation of thousands of jobs across the state are what we as an organization hope to help achieve, and we are always looking to engage with passionate individuals like Matt who share our values. With a strong background in advocacy and activism, Matt is a welcome addition to our Leadership Council. We look forward to working with him to broaden our grassroots outreach across the state.”

“The future of our energy production is not a Right vs. Left issue,” said Matthew Hauser, MCEF Leadership Council Member. “Energy is an issue that impacts us all no matter our political affiliation and it is critical we work together to find the safest, cleanest, and most efficient ways to power tomorrow. Being a good steward of the environment, while reducing energy waste, is just the right thing to do."

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and local energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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New bipartisan energy laws are a win for Michiganders

LANSING – Members of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum today applauded the implementation of Public Acts 341 and 342, the comprehensive energy package passed with strong bipartisan support in the state legislature in December. The legislation continues Michigan’s transition to homegrown, clean renewable energy and will help to create jobs, lower electric rates, and diversify our electric portfolio.

“These laws diversify our energy portfolio and call for further investment in clean energy sources that are immune to fuel price volatility, which will help to rein in electricity costs for ratepayers in the coming years, while also strengthening our grid security and national security,” said Larry Ward, MCEF executive director. “We are grateful to the legislature, Governor Snyder, and the Michigan Agency for Energy for their work over the last couple years in crafting this bipartisan energy package that is truly a win for Michigan families and businesses. We are especially thankful for the leadership shown by Senator Mike Nofs throughout the process, and would also like to recognize Senator Dale Zorn for his support of the 15% renewable portfolio standard.”

Public Acts 341 and 342 call for an increase in the state’s renewable portfolio standard from 10% to 15% by 2021, establish a combined goal of 35% renewable energy and energy efficiency by 2025, and remove caps on energy efficiency spending by utilities, among other measures.                                                                                 

“Removing the two percent spending cap on energy efficiency incentives is an endorsement of the effect of energy efficiency on energy policy,” said Vytau Virskus, principal and founder of Millenium Energy Company and MCEF Leadership Council Member. “By increasing incentives to promote more focus on energy efficiency, we can not only reduce the demand on our electrical grid in the near term, but also mitigate the increase of electricity costs to Michigan ratepayers to ensure more affordable electricity into the future.  Energy efficiency is a key element of a comprehensive energy policy.”

The energy package also effectively maintains the status quo of the current solar net-metering program, now called distributed generation, until 2020.


“These energy laws move the needle forward on solar policy but more work needs to be done,” said Ed Rivet, one of Michigan’s top conservative political activists and MCEF Leadership Council Member. “MCEF looks forward to participating in the Michigan Public Service Commission solar work group to ensure the continued success of a significant job-producing industry that is good for our state economy and our environment.”    

Ward concludes: “These laws will help make our state more competitive, attracting significant investment and jobs. We applaud lawmakers for sending clear market signals that Michigan is a state where innovators and entrepreneurs can thrive.”

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and local energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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MCEF Announces New Addition to Leadership Council

LANSING — Today the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) announced the addition of Vytau Virskus to its Leadership Council. Virskus is the Principal Founder at Millenium Power Company. He has over 35 years of experience in power generation, energy management, and building automation. Additionally, Virskus has helped school districts, universities, and hospitals achieve more than $30 million in energy savings to date. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University and a Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

The MCEF Leadership Council is comprised of conservative leaders who believe Michigan needs to diversify its energy portfolio and move towards a true “All of the Above” generation mix, with an emphasis on transitioning to cleaner and more renewable forms of energy.

“MCEF continually strives to work with individuals who are passionate about transforming Michigan’s energy landscape,” said Larry Ward, Executive Director of MCEF. “With Vytau’s addition to our Leadership Council, today we acquire not only someone interested in promoting conservative energy solutions, but a long-standing leader in Michigan’s energy industry. With his decades of technical and policy expertise, Vytau will help bolster our organization’s education and outreach efforts. We are excited to work with him and learn from his experiences.”

“I look forward to working with the MCEF team and my fellow Leadership Council members to promote cost-effective, clean, and efficient energy for Michigan residents and businesses,” said Vytau Virskus, MCEF Leadership Council Member. “Energy efficiency is not too lofty of a goal; it’s the easiest and cheapest form of energy because it is energy we don’t use - an avoided cost. It’s important that we continue to invest in energy efficient technology now to reap the future rewards, like lower electric bills and even less reliance on our electric grid. Environmental prudence, together with economic and social benefit, must be applied to both the production of energy, and its use.”

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and local energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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Clean Energy Legislation, Ratepayer Protection Focus of MCEF’s 3rd Annual Catalyst Conference

LANSING – The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum’s (MCEF) 3rd Annual Catalyst Conference, “Charting Michigan’s Energy Future”, held today at the Radisson Hotel in Lansing, engaged around 100 energy, business, and conservative leaders in conversations on the future of Michigan’s clean energy landscape, the importance of lowering electric rates for consumers, and encouraging the diversification of our energy portfolio.

“Michigan has made great strides in recent years to secure affordable, reliable, and environmentally sustainable energy for all Michiganders,” said Larry Ward, MCEF Executive Director. “With the recent passage of Public Acts 341 and 342, we continue our transition to clean, homegrown energy but there is more room for improvement. MCEF will work in 2017 to educate policymakers and the public on the benefits of localized power generation, the importance of ratepayer protection, and the technological advancements occurring each day that are powering our clean energy economy.”                                                                                

The conference featured a panel of experts in public policy, solar energy advocacy, consumer protection, and renewable energy production, including: state Senator Tom Casperson (R – 38th district); Tyson Grinstead, Southeast Director of Public Policy at Sunrun; Michael Moody, Assistant Attorney General and State Public Administrator; and Marc Pauley, Commodities Manager at Granger Energy Services.

State Representative Gary Glenn (R – 98th district), Chair of the Michigan House of Representatives Energy Policy Committee, delivered the keynote address.

“Michigan needs diverse energy sources and competition in the marketplace,” said Representative Glenn. “I promise that the House Energy Policy Committee will work the next two years to do everything we can to bring down the cost of electricity for Michigan ratepayers.”

Public Acts 341 and 342 increase the scope and funding for the Utility Consumer Participation Board to intervene in electric rate cases on behalf of ratepayers. Michigan currently has some of the highest electricity rates in the Midwest.

“Michigan businesses and families not only face high electric rates, but data shows that the prices we pay are not commensurate with the level of reliability provided by our state-regulated utilities,” said Jim MacInnes, Chairman of the Utility Consumer Participation Board and MCEF Leadership Council Member. “In fact, according to data from the Energy Information Administration, Michigan ranks the worst in the Midwest for average power outage time per customer. I look forward to working with the UCPB and MCEF over the next year to ensure that Michigan ratepayers have increasingly reliable and affordable energy.”

MCEF believes in an “all of the above” energy approach that emphasizes homegrown clean energy and energy efficiency to stimulate the economy, create jobs, and increases our national and grid security.

“As a nation, we want to be energy independent, and as consumers, we increasingly want to be self-reliant and control our own electricity use,” said Tyson Grinstead, Southeast Director of Public Policy at Sunrun. “Solar net-metering is one tool to accomplish both – providing homegrown, renewable energy that lessens our dependence on foreign oil – while also allowing ratepayers to produce their own power and control their monthly energy bills.”

A national post-election clean energy poll commissioned by the Conservative Energy Network found that 86% 0f all voters polled – including 75% of Trump voters – support taking “action to accelerate the development and use of clean energy.”

“With 34 Republican governorships, 25 Republican state trifectas, and overwhelming public support for clean energy development across the country, our conservative messaging is not only needed but desired,” said Mark Huizenga, MCEF Board President, Mayor of Walker, MI, and owner of Key Green Solutions. “We’ve made a lot of progress these past three years educating Michiganders on the economic and security benefits of clean energy and energy efficiency. We look forward to forging a path ahead over the next year that builds upon this progress and continues to position Michigan as a national energy leader.”

Ward concludes: “I hope this conference proves to be a catalyst for new ideas, grassroots action, and further improvements to our energy landscape in the upcoming year. MCEF looks forward to working with the Michigan House and Senate, Governor Snyder, Michigan Agency for Energy, and various other energy stakeholders to build on our past successes and ensure abundant, cheap, and clean energy for decades to come.”

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and local energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’ economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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MCEF Applauds Michigan Legislature for Passage of Bipartisan Energy Legislation

LANSING — Today, in response to the state legislature’s passage of a comprehensive energy package that increases the state’s renewable portfolio standard to 15 percent, improves energy efficiency programs and positions Michigan to expand its clean energy economy, members of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) Leadership Council issued the following statements:

“We applaud the Michigan Legislature for passing legislation that will ensure Michigan maintains an ‘all of the above’ energy policy for years to come,” said Larry Ward, Executive Director of MCEF. “By increasing the state’s successful renewable energy standard, this legislation will help to further strengthen and diversify our energy mix, rein in costs and protect ratepayers and small businesses from the price volatility of traditional fuel sources. By passing SB 437 and 438, Michigan is better positioned today than it was yesterday to compete for jobs and investment in our nation's clean energy transition."

“The Michigan Legislature has shown great leadership today,” said Hank Fuhs, Secretary of the Michigan GOPand MCEF Leadership Council Member. “This bipartisan energy legislation will help spur investment in the state’s growing renewable energy and energy efficiency industries, attract good-paying local jobs, and improve our economy.”

“We applaud the legislature for taking action to improve the language protecting net metering policy," said Ed Rivet, one of Michigan’s top conservative political activists and MCEF Leadership Council Member. “While this is a step in the right direction for the solar industry, we still have more work ahead of us to protect the trajectory of renewable energy in Michigan, and to ensure the growth of our energy economy and that ratepayer’s benefit for generations to come.”

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency. MCEF believes encouraging diverse and local energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

 

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Performance standards can reign in electricity costs for 2016 ratepayers

2016 will be a critical year for energy in Michigan. Our clean energy policy sunset at the end of last year, and the Michigan legislature has a true opportunity to set us on a path toward a more affordable energy future by passing performance standards for Michigan utility companies.

Michigan has the highest electricity costs in the Midwest; that hits families’ pocketbooks and makes our businesses less competitive. Every additional dollar spent to keep the lights on means less money spent at local businesses, and less investment in Michigan workers.

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Expect to Pay More for Holiday Lighting Under Rate Hike

However, the The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum said the rate increase shows the need for increased energy efficiency and reliance on renewables in the energy overhaul the Michigan Legislature is considering.

“Michigan already has the highest electricity costs in the Midwest and this latest rate increase should be a call to action for the Michigan Legislature to rein in costs through energy efficiency and renewable energy goals,” Larry Ward, executive director of MCEF, said in a statement. “Now is the time for conservatives to lead by requiring the utilities to reduce energy waste and purchase low-cost renewable energy.”

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Forum: Enact more pro-renewable energy policy

The holidays are quickly approaching and both adults and children are getting in the spirit, hoping that wishes large and small come true this season.

As chief executive officer of Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa, I will be hoping for a package of a different size and scope under the tree — a package of pro-business, pro-renewable energy legislation signed, sealed and delivered on both a state and national level. Countless businesses, like mine, stand to benefit from policies that contribute to the falling prices of renewable energy.

The U.S. House of Representatives is currently considering legislation that would extend the Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit for renewable energy products. The decision to do so could build on the tremendous success the policies have had nationwide. A five-year extension of the ITC alone would lead to 32 percent more solar deployment from 2016-2022. The growth would have a tremendous impact on jobs in Michigan, creating 31 percent more yearly employment opportunities. Alternately, if Congress fails to extend the ITC, solar deployment alone will drop 28 percent from 2016-17.

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DTE to raise electric rates by more than $8 per month next week

The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum said in a statement that the rate increase drove home a need for increased energy efficiency and renewables in an energy overhaul the legislature is considering.

"Michigan already has the highest electricity costs in the Midwest and this latest rate increase should be a call to action for the Michigan Legislature to rein in costs through energy efficiency and renewable energy goals," said Larry Ward, executive director of MCEF. "Now is the time for conservatives to lead by requiring the utilities to reduce energy waste and purchase low-cost renewable energy."

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Report: Michigan clean-energy supply chain thriving, but threatened

The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum, a Republican-led group pushing for more clean energy development in the state, earlier this year pegged total investment at $2.2 billion and supporting 6,000 jobs. The group issued a report in 2014 saying that a renewable portfolio of 20 percent by 2025 would result in a total output of over $6.5 billion, support more than 41,000 job years and create $2.11 billion in employee compensation.

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