German-style green energy boondoggle averted when Michigan rejected renewable mandate

Ken Braun writes at

On Election Day last November, Michigan rejected the “25 by 25” ballot proposal. It would have nailed a renewable energy mandate into the state constitution, requiring at least 25 percent of the state’s electric power be generated by “renewable” sources by 2025. It was similar to existing standards in the European Union, requiring 20 percent renewable power by 2020.

Over the last year, news from Germany – the EU’s biggest industrial economy and an aggressive adopter of the renewable standard – has put a spotlight on the boondoggle Michigan averted in 2012.

“Renewable” sources would include wind, solar, biomass, and hydro-electric dams. Support for “25 by 25” came from labor unions, faith leaders, and green energy companies with a financial interest in the inherent subsidy.

The Economist reports Germans were getting 22 percent of their electricity from renewables, as of last year, and plan to zoom that all the way to 48 percent by 2022. The details are messier than the “clean” energy.

By 2011, German industry was already forking over more than twice the price that Americans were paying for electricity. German homes and small businesses were paying almost three times as much as Americans.

“How Electricity Became a Luxury Good,” blared a headline last week in Der Spiegel, the German magazine. Noting Germans pay the highest energy prices in Europe, the article says the nation’s “aggressive and reckless expansion of wind and solar power” has hit the poor particularly hard.

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One thought on “German-style green energy boondoggle averted when Michigan rejected renewable mandate”

  1. I’m glad Michigan’s voters — outside of Detroit, at least — are voting smarter. Let’s hope it spreads.
    Germans and Europeans generally have gone from economic liberty toward command economies and they have lost out by it. Not the wealthiest, of course, but everyone else has lost ground in standards of living and the barriers to becoming wealthy are much higher now than they were in, say, the 1950s.
    Libertarian policy is both principled and practical. We need much more of it everywhere.

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