Proposal to change Michigan’s Constitution

Michigan voters could make Michigan the first and only state to make renewable energy mandates part of its Constitution if Proposal 3 is passed. Proposal 3 would require 25% of the electricity produced in the state to come from renewable sources — wind, solar, hydro and biomass — by 2025.

Michigan considers locking clean energy mandate in constitution

In less than two weeks, Michigan voters will decide on a hotly contested ballot initiative on whether the state should become the first in the country to enshrine a renewable energy mandate in its constitution, a move that backers say could put clean energy in the national spotlight.

The measure, known as proposal 3, would require that one-quarter of the electricity produced in the state to come from renewable energy sources by 2025. Michigan, a battle ground state in the U.S. presidential election, is already halfway to meeting its current mandate, passed in 2008 by the state legislature, to produce 10 percent of its electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydro and biomass by 2015.

Thirty states, including Michigan, have a renewable electricity standard in place but if the proposed amendment passes it would be the first time a renewable energy standard would appear in the constitution, making it difficult to strike down or alter. Proponents of the proposal have said taking the approach of including a renewable energy mandate in the constitution was necessary to ensure that popular support for green energy is not overshadowed by what they see as special interests in the state government….

Natural gas or nuclear for electric generation is not recognized as clean energy under this proposal, even though from an emissions standpoint, or course, both are.

The pricetag for taxpayers? $12 to 15 million in higher energy costs. That $12 billion burden doesn’t include interest, taxes and new transmission lines, Rep. Thomas Stallworth, minority chair of the House Energy and Technology Committee, told reporters. “New transmission lines to new renewable sources could add another $1 billion to $2 billion to the customer price tag for this costly mandate.”

Will voters understand why?

Like solar, wind power sounds free and natural, and is believed by some to be cost effective and low in carbon emissions. But facts are subborn things. For example, the Energy Policy study, The Limits of Wind Power, recently explained that wind is variable and unreliable and provides most of its output when electrical demand is lowest. That means, power companies have to build and maintain backup power plants to kick in when demand exceeds wind supply. Backup power makes wind significantly more expensive and backup power usually comes from fossil fuel generators, which effectively limits wind’s carbon-reducing potential. Low CO2 emissions estimates typically ignore the emissions that come from the need for backup power sources. And then there’s the need for costly transmission crisscrossing the state to bring the wind from its source back to the load.

“Very high wind penetrations are not achievable in practice due to the increased need for power storage, the decrease in grid reliability, and the increased operating costs. Given these constraints, this study concludes that a more practical upper limit for wind penetration is 10%.”

For Michigan residents, Proposal 3 will increase electricity costs by about 16.2%, according to a study by the Mackinac Center and Beacon Hill Institute. That translates to a $180 higher annual electric bill per household and $1630 for the average business.

It’s only logical that businesses wouldn’t be attracted to a state with higher expenses and burdensome regulations. The Michigan economy is expected to take a hit of $2.55 billion, along with a loss of $147 million in investments in the state and more than 10,000 job losses, said the study.

The measure is funded predominately by San Francisco-based Green Tech Action Fund and New York-based NRDC Action Fund.

About these ads

9 responses to “Proposal to change Michigan’s Constitution

  1. I hope they do it so that others can learn from their mistake.

  2. The $180 / 16.2% cost increase is annually, and is surely grossly underestimated, like ObamaCare. Missing in cost analysis are the increased energy subsidies for the “poor” and the job losses, which mean higher state & local taxes. Proposal is as mad as the 18th Amendment imposing Prohibition in 1920. But “greens” are fascistic by nature, so draconian measures are preferred over free markets and free choice.

  3. I hope it passes. My property value will go up. I’ll be seeing a lot more guys from Michigan at my golf club. Michigan guys are easy to spot at my golf club: they wear shorts in December.

  4. Minnesota did something almost as bad – not an amendment, but a law. They also passed a law forbidding any new nukes. The folks up here are very nice but terribly gullible.

  5. Doubting Thomas

    The law that people really need to heed is the “Law of Unintended Consequences”. This amendment will be sure to trigger a bunch. Like California, if you vote for feel good legislation, you deserve a super high cost of living and astronomical taxes.

  6. This is insane from both a legal and practical point of view.

    Constitutions should be for framework. Laws are for policies. Why the heck would they want to incorporate this in the constitution?

  7. What is the penalty for failure? How is the law enforced? How can the state tell if a supplier is reporting accurately? Even if renewables were reliable, this would be very expensive.

  8. So then, Detroit didn’t teach these idiots anything, eh? You know, so much stupid in a confined space like that could initiate a black hole of stupidity. Danger! Danger!

  9. Settle down now stpaulchuck, don’t get your knickers in a knot. Dontcha know that black holes are the source of energy for the whole universe? And Gamecock – you shouldn’t be eyeing off men in shorts.Leave them to their own devices What is the world coming to?I usually ask such characters what the weather is like “up north” – they then sense how stupid they are. Works wonderfully.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s