Guest Column

Energy policy can drive local investment and reduce pollution

August 28, 2015
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As a Michigan craft brewer, Brewery Vivant is fortunate so many beer fans support our growing industry and the hardworking men and women who help make our state a leader in craft beer.

Renewable energy and energy efficiency are two areas in which our brewery and many others across Michigan are aggressively investing. Brewing beer is energy intensive, costing U.S. breweries more than $200 million in energy costs every year, according to a Berkley National Laboratory study.

Like any business, Brewery Vivant and other brewers are always working to reduce production costs without compromising quality. Renewable energy and energy efficiency help us meet that goal.

We’re at the forefront of using renewable energy and energy-efficiency technologies to power our coolers, boilers, fermentation vessels, refrigerators, compressed air systems, storage areas and more.

Additionally, 100 percent of our electricity is from renewable sources in Michigan. All of these measures help us reduce our carbon footprint.

We see firsthand how clean energy policy can drive local investment and reduce pollution. Businesses rely on renewable energy and energy efficiency to cut costs and improve productivity. A 2014 study showed that 60 percent of Fortune 100 companies have set clean energy targets and have saved more than $1 billion a year.

Our small business is proud to embrace clean energy, and that’s why we support the Clean Power Plan. Clean energy doesn’t just help us save on our utility bills; it is also critical to addressing the challenge of climate change.

Climate disruption can affect the quality and availability of the water we need to make beer. It can affect the agricultural raw materials, such as hops, barley and wheat, that are the building blocks of every beer our industry brews.

But it’s not all about beer. Climate change is wreaking havoc on local communities.

We’re already experiencing increased frequency and intensity of storms, warmer temperatures, extreme precipitation and changes in weather patterns. The record flooding that hit Grand Rapids in 2013 was a wake-up call, and more communities across Michigan are being hit hard by flash floods. Earlier this month, extreme weather closed Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The Clean Power Plan’s flexibility allows states such as Michigan to customize its energy portfolio, expand clean energy solutions, attract industries to the state and create thousands of jobs — all while addressing climate change.

We and many other small businesses encourage Michigan to embrace the Clean Power Plan and build on our successful renewable energy and energy-efficiency standards. What’s best is we can save money for families and businesses and create jobs.

The time to act is now, and the Clean Power Plan can help strengthen Michigan’s future — and keep us the Great Beer State.

Kris Spaulding is the co-founder of Brewery Vivant.

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