Cut the crud. We know renewable energy works for Michigan.

Last night my son scrambled over to me all wide eyed and urgent “Dad! DAD!! The TV had a commercial that was saying bad things about Proposal 3!!!!” (Proposal 3, for those who aren’t aware, is the ballot initiative to increase Michigan’s use of renewable energy – Wind, Solar, and Biomass – to 25% by 2025. And it’s something I Very Much Support. I support Proposal 3)

Kids these days, eh? Between Netflix, YouTube, and Dinosaur Train on PBS I don’t think they’re getting a healthy desensitization to commercials like I did when I was a kid.

But then again maybe none of us is fully desensitized. Some folks are alarmed at the 30 second TV spots with the spooky voices and predictions of doom about renewable energy. Opponents scream catastrophe to try to scare Michiganders away from what we instinctually know to be good for Michigan. We know renewable energy is putting Michigan to work. Many of us know folks working in the industry. We KNOW it’s cleaner. We know it’s affordable. We KNOW most of America is already ahead of us.

We know that.

We also know that it’s good to just cut through the crap. Forget the commercials. And look at the real world and what we know.

For example…We know that most US states are already way ahead of Michigan in the Renewable Energy race, and they’re doing fine compared to Michigan. Here’s a short list of just a few US states that either have more renewable energy than Michigan or a higher renewable energy standard:

  1. Iowa
  2. Texas
  3. Oregon
  4. Colorado
  5. Washington
  6. New Mexico
  7. Arizona
  8. Montana
  9. North Dakota
  10. South Dakota
  11. Wyoming
  12. Kansas
  13. Wisconsin
  14. Illinois
  15. Indiana
  16. Ohio
  17. Virginia
  18. West Virginia
  19. Maine
  20. Minnesota
  21.  Okalhoma
  22. Missouri
  23. North Carolina
  24. Hawaii
  25. Pennsylvania
  26. New York
  27. Vermont
  28. Maryland
  29. New Jersey
  30. Idaho

There’s more, but why belabor the point? Right? We KNOW that the notion that renewable energy will cause dramatic problems is simply made up. It doesn’t happen. Made up. Michigan has the 9th highest electricity costs in America, and is among the lowest adopters of renewable energy. Which is strange because…

We know renewable energy is putting people in Michigan to work and sparks Michigan businesses and innovation

Energetx, Dokka Fasteners, L3 Communications, Astraeus, Burke E. Porter Machinery, Great Lakes Heavy Haul, Four Elements Energy, Mart Dock in Muskegon…these are all businesses in Michigan working in the renewable energy sector. Putting Michigan to WORK in the renewable energy sector. I’ve spoken to steel workers, electricians, crane operators, truckers, home installation folks, all working on renewable energy projects. And what about Michigan farmers whose crops were devastated this year by horrible weather? Some with land lease agreements from wind farm projects were able to make it through another year, save their farm.

Renewable energy puts Michigan to work.

We know the status quo is making Michigan’s electricity costs uncompetitive

Even as utilities scream made up statistics about price hikes from renewable energy, those same utilities are raising Michigan’s power rates by DOUBLE DIGITS year after year after year based on the rising cost of coal. DTE raised their rates by 14% recently, and cited the rising cost of shipping and diesel as the reason. Consumer’s Energy just raised their rates by about the same citing maintenance to Michigan’s power plants….the SECOND OLDEST IN AMERICA.

The status quo is killing our businesses. Taking money from our families pockets. The cost of renewable energy is falling, while the cost of coal is rising. And worse, Michigan gets 60% of its power from coal, and imports 100% of it. We have to ship 35 million tons of it 1000 miles into our state year after year as the cost of diesel climbs. We can’t afford that.

We KNOW renewable energy is good for Michgian. So the opposition has a fallback argument.

So the opposition’s fallback argument, when dozens of successful examples in the US are presented, when real renewable energy jobs are presented? The fall back option is to quibble about legislative process.

Opponents don’t want the Michigan People to decide this issue, suggesting it shouldn’t be in the Michigan constitution…as they hope and pray people hear the word Constitution and think US Constitution instead of MICHIGAN constitution — which was re-written in 1963 and has been amended 32 times since them. Not the same thing.

“Let congress decide this for you!” the opponents to Prop 3 suggest, knowing full well they have far more sway over Congress than you do. Or I do.

There’s no free-market way for Michigan citizens to move toward the cleaner, cheaper, Michigan made power source: renewable energy. Our utilities are monopolies. And there’s no legislative pathway to more Michigan made energy, because the utilities hold huge sway over our congress.

Fortunately, the Michigan constitution has a way for Michigan citizens to act.  Michigan citizens have a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to create the laws that serve Michigan best. Laws that put Michigan to work, create clean energy, help us COMPETE for jobs, innovative businesses and a new industry.

Michigan’s past Governor Milliken recently said “There are times when the public is better served when important matters of public policy are protected within our Constitutional framework….I think the opportunity of renewable energy in Michigan is important enough that the 25% renewable policy should have the long-term certainty of Constitutional protection.”

I couldn’t agree more. Let’s get this going.


Muskegon Critic
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