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The Detroit News’ Oct. 23 stories, “Renewable energy crucial to Michigan,” and “Michigan manufacturers still need fossil fuels,” provide a curious contrast in Michigan’s current economic discussion. However, with the renewable energy industry growing at its fastest pace ever, it’s important to remember that Michigan’s manufacturing legacy is not in conflict with the renewable energy industry. Rather, the renewable energy sector is an essential complement to Michigan’s recent economic gains.

There are already 550 manufacturing facilities producing products for the wind industry in Michigan that range from blades and towers to fiberglass and steel. Today, 121 companies in Michigan manufacture components for the solar market as well. Together, these two technologies alone provide Michiganians with over 10,000 good paying jobs and are giving local business owners the much needed boost they deserve.

Even the automotive companies are turning into green giants, as GM recently announced its plans for installing one of the hemisphere’s largest solar arrays at its Lordstown plant, and Ford was recognized as the world’s best Global Green Brand this year. Their efforts to utilize renewable energy are projected to save their plants millions in the long term — affording them the opportunity to lower energy costs while both increasing manufacturing efficiency and jobs.

To the benefit of all who live in the Great Lakes State, it is essential to continue to find ways in which these two industries strengthen each other.

Todd Foley, senior vice president

of Policy and Government Relations,

American Council On Renewable Energy

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