December 2, 2016

The Choice Is Clear

In the coming weeks, electric co-op members throughout the state will be bombarded with print, radio and TV advertisements on the initiatives that will appear on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. It will probably be an election season “media barrage” like we have never seen in Michigan.

My sense is that this barrage of advertising will be relentless, confusing and frustrating for most of us. However, there is one ballot initiative that your electric co-op is particularly interested in, and strongly opposes. You will be able to learn more about it in coming issues of this magazine, but mostly, you should be aware that this proposal is simply bad for Michigan. Let me explain.

The November ballot will, barring some last minute legal maneuvers, include a proposal referred to as the “Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs” (or “25 x 2025 Mandate”) that would amend the Michigan Constitution to raise the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to

25 percent. If passed, this means all Michigan electric utilities would be required to obtain 25 percent of their electric supplies from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, by 2025.

I believe it is critically important to point out that we already have a 2008 RPS that requires all Michigan electric utilities to obtain 10 percent of their generation supply from renewable resources by 2015. Michigan’s electric co-ops support that initiative and have already begun meeting its requirements.

Additionally, it is important to point out that the costs of constructing the renewable resources that would be required by the new proposal are expected to exceed $12 billion. This figure does not include the costs of additional high-voltage transmission lines that would be needed to move this renewable energy to the marketplace or, in the case of wind power, the new natural gas generating plants that would need to be built in Michigan to “back up” this new, intermittent wind supply.

Most importantly, the Michigan Constitution is not the place to enact energy policy. That is the Michigan Legislature’s job.

Former Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley recently wrote a guest editorial that appeared in the Detroit Free Press in which he stated, “The Constitution is not to be used for passing independent laws for enriching special interest groups by granting them controlled power. Take it from me, ‘25 by 25’ is a power grab, and against our interests. It should be opposed by every thoughtful citizen.”

Michigan’s electric co-ops concur with Mr. Kelley’s statements. We believe in achieving clean, affordable, renewable energy responsibly, we support Michigan’s current 10 percent by 2015 RPS, and believe the Constitution should not be amended to enact special interest energy policy proposals.

In upcoming issues of Michigan Country Lines, your electric co-op will provide further, detailed information on this “power grab” that is largely being financially supported by outstate special interest groups and foundations from California and Colorado. In the interim, I would encourage you to visit the CARE (Clean Affordable Renewable Energy) website at CAREformich.com for more information.

The Nov. 6 elections are as important as any in recent memory. Please do your part by learning more about this and the many other Michigan ballot initiatives between now and Election Day.

Comments

  1. My wife Diane and I are part time residents of Delta County Michigan in the Upper Peninsula and members of Alger Delta CEA. Our home of record, however, is in Waukegan, Illinois. Thus we cannot vote in Michigan and wonder what we can do to speak up against 25 by 25. We believe that generation and distribution of energy should, for the most part, be regulated by fair open market competition. Executive and judicial branches of government should not be creating or amending law at any level. As stated, this is the job of the legislative branch. My guess is that there are a lot of part time residents that would not support this initiative, but have little or no say in the matter. Your Country Lines mailing lists would help you identify this group.

  2. Gail Knudtson says:

    Mr. Galbraith,
    Thanks for commenting. Even though you can’t vote, you can sign up to be a supporter of the campaign against Prop 3 at careformich.com and encourage your Michigan friends to learn about the proposal and vote.

  3. Robert Stegmier says:

    It is quite clear to me after studying the 25% by 25 issue that NOW is the perfect time to establish a firm expanded Renewable Portfolio Standard in Michigan. Utilities, businesses and governments require and deserve long-term goals to efficiently move forward with renewable energy. I firmly believe that Wolverine Power is wrong in sticking to old fossil fuels thinking that through efficiencies they can significantly solve our dirty energy problems. Great Lakes Energy is simply dead wrong in thinking we should get to our 10% renewable by 2015 and THEN CONSIDER the next step. Thirteen states are already well on their way to achieving their 25% and higher goals. Five of these states have goals of 27 %, 29%, 30%, 33% and 40%. Renewables of wind and solar are clean, protecting our health and environment, and their costs are rapidly decreasing. Fossil fuels, including natural gas, will always emit pollutants damaging to our health and the environment and producing green house gases. Their cost continues to rise not to mention that they are not an unlimited resource while wind and solar are unlimited and their costs are declining. Don’t be fooled by the negative ads about putting this in our state constitution — that could be
    the best place to have it. There it would be protected from our politician’s actions until our next Constitution Convention opportunity for citizens to increase the RES upward again.