Proposal 3 would make 25 percent of Michigan’s energy come from renewable sources
If environmental groups have their way, 25 percent of Michigan’s energy will come from renewable sources by 2025.
Proposal 3 on the Nov. 6 ballot would amend the constitution to “require electric utilities to provide at least 25 percent of their annual retail sales of electricity from renewable energy sources, which are wind, solar, biomass and hydropower, by 2025.”
The amendment would also require laws to be passed that would “encourage the use of Michigan-made equipment and employment of Michigan residents,” in addition to preventing utility companies from raising rates on electricity by more than 1 percent per year in order to pay for the changes the amendment would bring.
State law currently requires 10 percent of Michigan energy to come from renewable sources by 2015. For the coalition of environmental groups, unions and businesses backing Proposal 3, that is not good enough.
Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs, the political committee backing the proposal, says the amendment would be beneficial to Michigan’s economy and the Great Lakes.
“This proposal will help us build a clean energy industry right here in Michigan, so that Michiganders can buy Michigan energy and we can stop exporting our money and our jobs,” the group says on its website.
The coalition is composed of numerous businesses, unions and political officials statewide, including the Sierra Club, the United Auto Workers and Lansing mayor and 2010 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero.
Gov. Rick Snyder, in a statement released last week, said the goals set by the proposal are too unrealistic to be implemented.
“It creates a new mandate that forces Michigan to have 25 percent of its electricity come from renewable energy by 2025, and it would cost billions to implement, raise electric bills and make Michigan businesses less competitive,” Snyder said. “That means fewer jobs for our workers.”
That line of attack, that pocketbooks will suffer due to the law, has been trumpeted by Clean Affordable Renewable Energy for Michigan Coalition, a group backed by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. The claim was backed up by a study released last week by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a conservative-leaning think tank.
“We find that meeting a 25 percent standard would, on balance, cost the average Michigan residential ratepayer between $170 and $190 in 2025, when the mandate takes full effect, and cost the average industrial business ratepayer between $49,730 and $55,680,” economist David Tureck, one of the authors of the study, wrote.
Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs says the idea that Michigan residents will feel any large financial effect is not backed up by the proposal’s language.
“To protect consumers, Proposal 3 explicitly states any rate increase from renewable energy is limited to no more than 1 percent a year,” Adam Duke wrote in a news release last week. “That’s no more than $1.25 per month for the average Michigan household, again based off the (Michigan Public Service Commission’s) data on utility rates.”
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