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MI businesses see progress and profit in advanced energy

Windmills at sunset
Portland General Electric
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flickr creative commons
A growing number of Michigan businesses are turning to advanced energy to run their operations.

Michigan business leaders will meet in Detroit on Tuesday to study advanced energy. Can renewable energy be good for the environment and the economy? We talk with two business energy experts.

A long-awaited overhaul of Michigan’s energy policy is still working its way through the halls of the state Capitol. Among other things, the legislation sets a goal to have 30-percent of Michigan’s energy come from renewable sources.

Many companies are taking the initiative to build their own advanced energy programs.  They’re looking for both renewable sources and seeking ways to save money through energy efficiency measures.

An annual conference set for tomorrow in Detroit will focus on advanced energy options for Michigan businesses.

Current State talks with featured conference speakers Liesl Eichler Clark, the president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, and Gabe Wing, director of safety and sustainability at Herman Miller.

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS:

What is advanced energy?

“Advanced energy does often make you think about renewables - wind and solar. But it’s important to remember that energy efficiency is the least cost alternative. So energy efficiency needs to be a part of that advanced energy definition.” -- Liesl Clark

On Herman Miller’s energy efficiency

“I don’t think it’s possible for us to remain profitable if we’re not working on both sides of the equation. So it’s a combination of relentless efficiency measures to try and drive down energy consumption, while at the same time working with our facilities team to find that better mix of energy that allows us to support the decarbonization of our economy” -- Gabe Wing

Are you concerned about falling fossil fuel prices getting in the way of advanced energy?

“I really don’t think so in the long term. Companies are making these decisions because of costs, but also because of their commitment to what their energy portfolio. We all agree that we need a diverse energy portfolio in Michigan” -- Clark

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