The creation of a 10 percent renewable energy standard in 2008 put Michigan squarely on the path to a greener energy future. Electricity providers already are making significant progress toward meeting that standard, which was established by the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Now, there’s a proposal on the November ballot (Proposal 3) to jack up that standard to 25 percent, even though such an increase will cost Michigan families and businesses at least $12 billion. Even worse, backers of this proposal want to lock that mandate into the Michigan Constitution, eliminating any flexibility and guaranteeing a future full of rate increases for customers.
Michigan’s families and businesses can’t afford to pay more for this reckless proposal. The proposal’s backers claim there will be a 1 percent cap on annual rate increases, but that’s no guarantee. Courts could strike down the so-called cap, leaving Michigan’s families and business to face sharply higher electric bills. Meeting a 25 percent renewable energy standard would require a minimum $12 billion investment in renewable energy infrastructure that will have to be made – regardless of economic or market conditions.
It’s a mandate that would forever change the face of Michigan. Meeting the 25 percent mandate with just wind energy would require as many as 3,100 wind turbines, each taller than the state Capitol. All told, those turbines would require nearly a half a million acres of land, an area 17 times the city of Grand Rapids, and possibly force wind turbines to be built in the Great Lakes.
The constitution isn’t the place for energy policy. This proposal would lock an unreasonable renewable energy mandate into the Michigan Constitution and eliminate the flexibility needed to deal with volatile markets, changing customer needs, and technological advances.
Michigan is already on a smart – and affordable – path to a greener energy future. We encourage all Michigan families and businesses to oppose the costly Proposal 3 constitutional energy mandate.