Q: What is Proposal 3 (a.k.a. "25 x 25") and why should I care?

A: Proposal 3 would amend the Michigan constitution and require local utilities to produce 25 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

Many states, including Michigan, have put in place renewable portfolio standards (RPS). Yet not a single other state has taken the extreme step of locking a renewable standard into its constitution.

Backers of Proposal 3 also don’t talk about the cost: At least $12 billion to meet that mandate and Michigan families and businesses will be footing the bill for years to come.

Read more about the proposal in the "Why Vote No" section of our site.

Q: If a 25 percent renewable standard is too high, what’s a reasonable standard?

A: Thanks to the 2008 energy law, Michigan is already on a smart – and affordable – path to a cleaner energy future. Michigan’s energy providers are making excellent progress toward reaching our current standard of 10 percent by 2015. Consumers Energy will invest $600 million in renewable energy over the next five years, and DTE Energy will spend $1.5 billion in direct capital investments. But there is still more work to do. Any consideration of raising the state’s renewable energy standard should wait until after 2015, when the 10 percent standard can be evaluated based a number of key factors. Then state policymakers can decide if the standard should be raised or if there are other options, such as raising the state’s energy efficiency standards, to meet the energy needs of customers in an environmentally responsible manner.

Q: Isn’t more renewable energy good for the health of Michigan’s kids, especially those with asthma and other lung diseases?

A: The air in Michigan is the cleanest that it’s been in two generations, thanks in part to Michigan’s energy providers, which have invested billions in environmental controls. Michigan energy providers and their families live here, too, so clean air is a top concern for them.

Q: What about all the jobs that expanding the renewable energy industry in Michigan could create?

A: Despite what Proposal 3 supporters say, there is absolutely no jobs guarantee in their proposal. Recent headlines provide ample evidence of renewable energy companies falling far short of rosy job-creation estimates. United Solar Ovonic in Greenville is a good example. The company, which made solar energy components, promised 1,200 new jobs in 2006 but employed only 474 at its peak. In February the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

A recent study by the U.S. Department of Energy thoroughly debunks Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs' claims. For even more background, please see the recent media story: "Reports exaggerate projected jobs by up to 30 times above what MSU study said."

Q: Why should I worry about the cost when Proposal 3 has a 1 percent cap on electric rate increases?

A: The 1 percent cap is not guaranteed. Legal experts note that the courts could strike down the so-called cap. If that happened, families and businesses would face steep increases in their electric bills.

Q: Isn’t Michigan a great place for harnessing wind power?

A: There is potential for wind power in Michigan, but the unintended consequences may forever change the face of our state. Tourism is a $17 billion industry in Michigan, but will visitors come to see a landscape full of wind turbines? Meeting the 25 percent standard with just wind energy would require as many as 3,100 wind turbines – each taller than the state Capitol – all across Michigan and perhaps even in the Great Lakes.

Q: What’s wrong with putting a renewable standard in the state constitution?

A: The constitution isn’t the place for energy policy. Proposal 3 would lock a specific energy mandate into the Michigan Constitution, even though the state needs flexibility to make sure families and businesses have the affordable, reliable power they need. That's why not a single other state in the nation has locked a renewable portfolio standard into its constitution - and why we can't let it happen here.

The Proposal 3 energy mandate would undermine Michigan’s long-term energy plan, which the Michigan Legislature reviews to evaluate progress being made. That regular review process wouldn’t be possible for an energy mandate in the state constitution.

Q: Is energy policy supposed to be in the state constitution?

A: No. The constitution is a foundational document, meant to establish basic rights for the long-term stability of the state. Such a detailed energy mandate as Proposal 3 dictates shouldn’t be in the constitution.  Generally, Michigan’s energy policy is set by the Legislature, which worked for more than two years to produce the state’s 2008 energy law.  That law set a reasonable and affordable 10 percent renewable energy standard. Michigan energy providers are making good progress on meeting that challenging but achievable goal by 2015.

In contrast, Proposal 3 backers are trying to avoid the usual process, bypass lawmakers and lock an expensive and unreasonable renewable energy standard into the constitution without regard for the long-term costs to customers or impact on the state.

Q: Why would “25 x 25” cost so much?

A: To meet the proposed standard, Michigan would need at least 5,000 megawatts of new renewable energy generating capacity and building that much new generating capacity isn’t cheap.

Energy experts say Michigan customers would end up paying at least $12 billion.

If it’s approved in November, this unreasonable proposal would constitutionally require Michigan’s energy providers to meet the 25 percent standard, regardless of the cost.

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