Michigan Demonstrates Clean Energy “Success”

In what should be a satirical piece from The Onion, Reuters has an exclusive interview with former Michigan Governor Granholm who boldly proclaims that green-jobs are driving the “economic recovery” in Michigan:

Former Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, whose second term ended in January, said in an interview that Michigan businesses are expected to create more than 150,000 clean energy jobs in the next decade from $14 billion of projects in the pipeline.

Of all places, Michigan doesn’t exactly stand out as the shining example of economic success in the United States. With a state unemployment rate of 11 percent and 12.7 percent in Detroit, the rest of the U.S. might consider looking elsewhere for examples of truly innovative economic policies that lead to recovery.

Though the job numbers are likely optimistic (as they often are, both green and fossil-fuel projects tend to oversell and under-deliver on job promises: here and here), 15,000 jobs over the next decade only amounts to 1,500 per year. The situation in Michigan is very unfortunate, but I don’t see how making the price of energy more expensive will lead to a quicker economic recovery:

Granholm began her clean energy approach with the $2 billion 21st Century Jobs Fund, a ten-year program started in 2005 to encourage venture capital investments and R&D funding for 1,500 startups or existing firms looking to transfer skills from the old economy to the cleantech industry.

Two years later, Granholm signed the state’s renewable portfolio standard requiring utilities to get 10 percent of their electricity supply from clean energy generation, renewable energy credits and energy efficiency programs by 2015.