Michigan utilities want to end renewable energy mandate

LANSING — Since Michigan’s energy law was adopted in 2008, billions of dollars have been spent in the state’s emerging renewable energy industry — building infrastructure, adding jobs and lowering costs.

With the help of the state’s two largest utilities, which are required under state law to generate electricity from renewable sources, nearly $3 billion has been invested on wind, solar, biomass and other clean power sources across the state.

Now, the utilities want state lawmakers to end the standards that contributed to those results — mandates that governed the amount of electricity they produce from renewable sources.

Detroit’s DTE Energy Co. and Jackson-based Consumers Energy say they don’t need mandates to expand their investment in solar and wind power. Rather, they believe new rules from the federal Environmental Protection Agency requiring utilities to reduce their carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030 will ensure further investments in alternative energy.

Their position has changed in seven years: Both companies supported including renewable standards when the Legislature approved the first energy law.

“There are some who believe that we won’t do it unless we’re forced to do it. I don’t agree,” said Irene Dimitry, DTE’s business planning and development vice president. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Not everyone is convinced the utilities will follow through. Groups from the Sierra Club to some large industrial corporations — led by Benton Harbor-based appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. — say Senate bills that would eliminate Michigan’s renewable energy standard and a companion mandate requiring programs to reduce energy use would cause the utilities to scale back their efforts in pursuit of higher profits.

“Investor-owned energy companies have little incentive to sell less energy and reap less profit,” the Sierra Club’s Michigan chapter said in recent Senate testimony, “but as regulated monopolies they can and should be required to help their customers reduce energy waste.”

Gov. Rick Snyder also has advocated for upping Michigan’s renewable targets — up to as much as 24 percent of a utility’s electric portfolio by 2025, he said in March. And, he added, Michigan should aim for a combined renewable and efficiency target of 30 percent to 40 percent within a decade, based on costs.

But the governor has stopped short of saying that should be mandated.

An active debate

The Senate’s Energy and Technology Committee has held hearings this summer and fall on a two-bill package that would update the 2008 law. Included in the bills is a provision to repeal a mandate that utilities generate a portion of their electricity from renewable sources.

Utilities were required to produce 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2015. DTE and Consumers both say they have met that target.

Revisions to the Senate bills, sponsored by Republican Sens. Mike Nofs, of Battle Creek, and John Proos, of St. Joseph, could be introduced next month based on testimony gathered at the hearings, said Greg Moore, Nofs’ legislative director and energy policy adviser.

Nofs has received $122,995 in political contributions from people and groups connected with electric utilities, according to the nonpartisan National Institute on Money in State Politics. More than $98,000 of that amount has come since 2010, the year Nofs was tapped as chairman of the Energy and Technology Committee. Proos has received $71,170 from the electric utility sector, with most of that coming since 2014.

The legislation as drafted would replace the mandates with a process known as integrated resource planning, which would be used to set rates. DTE and Consumers say the IRP process is more flexible and transparent and allows utilities to consider all energy sources to find the best value for customers, rather than building their electric portfolios around renewable targets.

This scenario is playing out in states across the country, where lawmakers are attempting to roll back, if not repeal, renewable standards. Mandates have been targeted in states from Colorado to Kansas to Ohio.

Proponents of eliminating the standards say they were necessary when the renewable industry was in infancy, but the solar and wind markets now are large enough that they don’t need incentives.

“It’s time for that industry to sink or swim on its own,” Moore said. “What is the most cost-effective resource for our ratepayers? Not having the Legislature pick winners or losers based on the hot technology
of the day.”

Less costly

The emphasis on renewables has had noticeable effects on the industry, particularly on price. The cost of installation has fallen as the market has gained traction across the state.

In a February report, the Michigan Public Service Commission, the state’s energy regulatory agency, said the most recent wind contracts it approved cost in the range of $50 per megawatt hour to build. That was about 10 percent lower than the cheapest contracts approved in 2011 and half as expensive as those from 2009 and 2010.

The standard also spurred nearly $3 billion in investment in renewable energy through 2014, based on an assumption that installation cost $2,000 per kilowatt hour, the MPSC said. It also is estimated to support roughly 8,200 jobs.

cleanenergygraphic

“The renewable energy standard is resulting in the development of new renewable capacity and can be credited with over 1,450 megawatt hours of new renewable energy projects becoming commercially operational since the (2008 law) took effect,” according to the MPSC’s report.

The utilities themselves offered similar data: Dimitry said the company’s first wind project cost $115 per megawatt hour, while the price of its most recent had dropped to $50.

Lower prices for installation are one reason why proponents of repeal say it’s time to abolish mandates.

Another reason is aging coal. Consumers plans to retire seven coal-generation units by next year; DTE another two. Valerie Brader, whom Snyder appointed to lead the new Michigan Agency for Energy, testified recently before the Senate energy committee that a total of 25 coal-fired units are expected to come offline by 2020.

“When we think about the pending EPA regulations, the Clean Power Plan, that will put even more pressure on Midwestern coal plants and will drive even more transformation,” said Dan Bishop, a Consumers spokesman. “In our mind, there is little question that inevitably there’s going to be more investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency.”

Duplicating efforts

Utilities say they view the Clean Power Plan as a federal mandate they’ll have to meet, so continuing Michigan’s standards would be duplicative. They want flexibility to consider all electricity generation sources, including renewables and natural gas, and say there are no plans to uproot the wind turbines or solar panels they already have installed.

DTE says it has more wind and solar projects in the works. It recently received bids for a solar project that would generate 5 to 50 megawatt hours of electricity, Dimitry said.

Consumers recently announced plans to buy electricity from a new 100-megawatt wind farm in Huron County.

“We’re buying wind power from seven different facilities. We own two wind parks ourselves,” Bishop said. “There’s been a tremendous amount of work done in this space, and we just see that continuing.”

Since there’s evidence the mandate has worked, “some have said, ‘Why don’t you just keep it in the books?’” said Moore, Nofs’ energy policy adviser. “We don’t want mandates. We don’t believe they are necessary.”

The issue isn’t limited to the large players.

The Michigan Municipal Electric Association, which represents 40 municipally owned electric utilities, said decisions about pursuing energy efficiency and renewable sources are best left to local leaders.

“It would be our preference to be allowed to do so without the burden of rigid state mandates,” Jim Weeks, the association’s executive director, wrote in submitted testimony. “History tells us that a one-size-fits-all approach to energy policy cannot compete with a process that leaves these important decisions in the hands of our local governing bodies.”

Preserve standards

Yet Michigan is among more than two dozen states and Washington, D.C., that have adopted renewable standards, according to a March 2014 report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Cambridge, Mass.-based organization that performs science-based analysis of policy issues such as clean energy, global warming and agriculture.

Since there’s evidence the alternative energy mandate has worked, “some have said, ‘Why don’t you just keep it in the books?’ We don’t want mandates. We don’t believe they are necessary.” ‒ Greg Moore, energy policy advisor to Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek

Of those states, 17 require at least 20 percent of a utility’s electric portfolio come from renewable sources, according to the UCS report. Still more, including California and New York, require at least 30 percent.

Michigan could support boosting its standard to 32.5 percent by 2030, UCS analysts estimated. The group modeled various scenarios, including assuming no changes to Michigan’s current standard.

If the renewable requirement was increased to 32.5 percent, retail prices for customers would rise by about 3.5 percent by 2020 before leveling off by 2030, the group predicted, and investment could reach $9.5 billion. UCS analysts also said it’s the best option to diversify utilities’ power portfolios and lessen the reliance on fossil fuels.

Environmental groups also say a shift toward more renewable resources will mean improved health benefits to Michigan residents.

“When the evidence is so clear that renewables and efficiency carry with them significant benefits to the people of Michigan, I believe it is critical to preserve these standards rather than replace them with a less-robust and more-complex mechanism,” Sam Gomberg, UCS’ lead Midwest energy analyst, testified before the Senate committee.

“We know we want to continue developing these resources, so let’s maintain the standards and make sure that happens.”

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Comments

Rich
Mon, 10/12/2015 - 7:57am
I have to fault Bridge for publishing the chart showing existing renewable projects for DTE and Consumers Power. Didn't anyone notice the gross differences in the numbers between the two different companies? Did someone just take what was given to them and print it without even understanding what they were printing? There is a difference between megawatts (capacity), and megawatt-hours (usage). Apples and oranges.
Ben Baker
Mon, 10/12/2015 - 9:59am
Thank you. I was so confused when I read that.
Jack
Mon, 10/12/2015 - 2:25pm
Exactly Rich - I noticed the same thing. It seems that DTE and Consumers had different writers, one of whom doesn't understand the terminology.
Mon, 10/12/2015 - 8:34am
Interesting that the primary opponents are CP and DTE. Is there a message in that alone? (Yes, they had not moved on this front prior to a regulatory push) Impressive progress has been made thanks to the standards, we should continue this model with even more ambitious requirements. Additionally, these infant solar and wind industries should be seen as a huge opportunity for Michigan's very competent and available industrial sector to establish a powerful presence in emerging 21st century technologies. We have the skills, labor force and facilities to become a true leader in the green energy movement. The only question is do we have the vision?
Mon, 10/12/2015 - 9:40am
I think Michigan should take a nation 1st and put Solar Asphalt roads in which generate green power. Since we are home to the Auto Industry we should go forward into a solar power example for the world. Wind and solar energy could expand into our yards with wind and solar Lighthouses that have devices that generate power. A hydroponic fabric flag which on top of a solar and wind disk will take in alot of energy. These I'm forming in "The Epilepsy Korps, " and we'll take orders for them and we're seeking power company investors and others. Its a good way to promote online and healthy employment. People with Epilepsy will work at home doing this. Anyone interested in this remember also we can show you a way to pay for healthcare cost also. Please contact me at klewis59@excite.com, Thanks, Ken
Nick
Sat, 12/19/2015 - 6:18pm
The state can't [ay for and fix the roads now. I seriously doubt they will have the ability to build and maintain "green asphalt".
Duane
Mon, 10/12/2015 - 10:18am
There seems to be a few questions here. Should our energy sources be specified by order or by the free market? Should it be decide by the politicians and activitists/lobbiest or by the science and finacial factors? Should a system that is regulated have any choice in the technology they use or should it be decided by a few government selected people? Should the operating decisions be made by people accountable for the results or by a handful who have no accountability? The choice seems to be whether we think/believe/want those who talk alot but don't get their 'hands dirty' everyday making things happen or those who are committed to delivery us energy every day, in good weather and bad, will make better provided us with the electrical grid we want/need? In either case it will be the ones are committed to deliverying that energy to us that will have to make it happen. I have to admit a bias, I have more confidence in the people who will be out in the rain and the snow than the 'sea gull', the ones that make their pronouncements an leave the work to others, advocates.
John
Mon, 10/12/2015 - 1:33pm
This is not about the individuals who do the work of generating & delivering electricity to our homes & businesses. These people, some of whom I know personally have no stake in how energy is generated & using them for your argument is disingenuous at best. This is about renewable energy which the big utilities would never have invested in without the mandates. It is also about coal & the powerful individuals & politicians who want to turn back the clock on the decline of the most environmentally destructive of the fossil fuels. So no I don't trust the executives or their conservative political allies to continue investing in renewable energy without mandates & at least a base percentage to adhere too. Additionally as someone with a lifetime of public utility service ( Water & sewer utility) both in the field & supervision I am well aware of the pressure to adhere to short term savings over long term viability that drives these decisions. Keep the mandates & reduce the pollution that coal fired plants inflict on our environment both locally & globally.
Jack
Mon, 10/12/2015 - 4:13pm
Amen.
Duane
Tue, 10/13/2015 - 2:43pm
John, I don’t believe there is THE answer that should be cast in the stone of law, so I ask questons. I am less confident in those who have no commitment to making something work then in those who work at delivering results every day and must accept risks with every action they take. What are the risks/consequences to the advocates? If the power 'grid' fails or underperforms in any way who will be held accountable, those executives you distrust or those you support? If the forced 'renewable' energy system doesn't deliver up to claims who will you hold accountable, the proponents or the energy company people? Who will you hold responsible for making those required ‘renewable’ energy sources work? With the mandate you support, who do you expect to address the ‘not in my backyard’ to place the required devices? Will you hold those distrusted executive accountable each day for your power supply while continuing to admire those who only talk about it? I have am openly biased toward those who will be held accountable, because they are up and working whenever there is a failure in their system, they are up for public scrutiny by their employees, their customers, the regulators, the media, the advocates, the courts, and the politicians. I wonder if you see the value of accountability. Accountability does hold people, programs, and systems to a higher standard whether specified or implied, it is a strong force for improvement and innovation. I wonder if there is accountability for those you support. Who holds these advocates accountable, how are they held accountable, what consequences do they risk? I see value in expanding the use of wind and solar and gravity and chemical energy supply and storage systems, but I see them as part of an evolving system rather than a forced part of the system. I have found, the minds of those who are committed to make things work are at least is creative and innovative as those who simply make pronouncements about what others should do.
Kevin
Tue, 10/13/2015 - 9:27am
What this law will do is allow utilities, regulators, and interested parties to file testimony, cross examine, and argue in briefs in the context of an administrative law process which is open and transparent. Anyone who wants to participate will get their say. That seems to be an improvement.
Duane
Tue, 10/13/2015 - 2:57pm
My limited experieince with the administrative law system for regulation has nothing to do with quality of information presented, the fair and open consideration of those making the regulations, and certainly don't ecourage conversations or exchange of ideas or what will be required. The reality is the authors of regulations start with trying to write something that can be enforced and genrate fines (enforcement metric), they seldom if ever have enough knowledge of the issue at hand to consider perfromance of those being regualted or how that will benefit the public.
Chuck Fellows
Mon, 10/12/2015 - 10:36am
Continue the mandates since free markets do not work very effectively without the balance of public input, often referred to as regulation. Our current electrical suppliers wouldn't exist without the regulations that grant them free right of way for their electrical and pipelines. Our private electrical suppliers have a history of failure to maintain and upgrade infrastructure (how many have experienced power outages or visited the Kalamazoo river). Company managers are obligated first to protect their investors and provide them with "profit" of some form to continue to secure investments. This demands they adopt a short term profit generation approach to business planning. That forces them to hang on to old business practices that are low risk and easy to implement and manage. Finally, the rest of the world is moving in alternative fuel directions which could become the next competitive advantage as world markets ignore those countries that have failed to step up and contribute to the health of the planet.
Duane
Tue, 10/13/2015 - 2:53pm
Chuck, I am surprised that you think only the government is smart enough to decide how we live. I can recall a change in our quality of live that was mandated by government. I have yet to find people that don't work in the field being regulated that have enough understanding to write regulations that promote change and improvement rather stiffle it. You seem to feel in forced consensus is the way to provide the best quality of life. I have found that it is the competition of ideas that has change our world making it a better place for us to live. I believe in the value of regulations, the order of law, but they should be designed to encourage innovation and creativity, they should be about performance not casting the methods/technology in the stome of law. You may feel distain for profits, but they are a much more effective driver of change and improvement that the government and unaccountable spending.
Dennis Zimmer
Fri, 12/04/2015 - 9:12am
I am hard pressed to see where government involvement has surpassed the ability of free markets in any worth while endeavor. I do not believe the state government is more likely to succeed over free enterprise. The basic situation is we have to regulate the oligopoly created to efficiently provide energy availability to our consumers. What we are looking for is an efficient energy producing system that can also act as a vacuum cleaner so we have the energy we need while enjoying the clean air we seek. What we need is to stop all of the rhetoric and partisan talking points that prohibit us from having an valued conversation on what the balance is between affordable energy and a clean environment. Get rid of coal and what due you have left? Can you meet the peak demands on the system? Will you produce a system that requires rolling blackouts? Who will pay for the cost of replacing the current energy capacity? The one problem I have is they state 8,200 jobs were created in renewable energy. Were these temporary or long term jobs? Can you prove it.
Nick
Sat, 12/19/2015 - 6:26pm
Chuck, How can you say the free market doesn't work with out the voice of the consumer? That's exactly what the free market is. If a company or business is not producing something the consumer wants they will fail. If the people keep allowing the state to regulate every aspect of the business community when will enough be enough. The State can't even balance their own budget so why should they have the right to tell business's how to run their companies?
John Ramsburgh
Mon, 10/12/2015 - 11:36am
As usual, great reporting by the Bridge. My impression was that the Clean Power Plan is facing several lawsuits, and its future is uncertain. If our state utilities view the Clean Power Plan as binding, why quibble over what looks like a modest renewable energy mandate? I appreciate that the utilities want "greater flexibility," but that sounds to me like more natural gas plants. I'm all for natural gas, but think we have sound long-term economic and environmental/public health reasons to support renewables. I appreciate that means a bit more cost for us at the front end. I'm even willing to call it a rate-payer supported subsidy. But that's how a lot of great technologies get a foothold and I know lots of people, myself included, willing to help pay it. Finally, I'm curious whether any of the pending legislation considers energy efficiency mandates and/or whether utilities could meet the standard through greater efficiency outcomes? I've heard that renewables are the sizzle, efficiency is the steak. Any way we can boost the incentives for utilities and consumers to be smarter about how we consume energy? I DO NOT mean wearing sweaters here -- I mean saving money that could go toward making investments / creating jobs in other areas. Thanks for any feedback other readers might have.
AMW
Mon, 10/12/2015 - 4:07pm
A standard for energy efficiency is also being eliminated in the proposed legislation both in the House and the Senate - here is testimony from Dr. Martin Kushler of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy regarding Senate Bill 437, introduced by Chairman Nofs, who notes that states that do not have a standard for energy efficiency but merely call for a planning process achieve efficiency levels at just 1/3rd of those with standards: http://www.senate.michigan.gov/committees/files/2015-SCT-ENERGY-09-24-1-...
Chuck Jordan
Mon, 10/12/2015 - 11:54am
We should make laws prohibiting lawmakers from taking money from corporations in order to do their bidding. Then the people would know that they are doing what's best for them, not their masters.
Dennis Zimmer
Fri, 12/04/2015 - 9:16am
I agree. We should make it a criminal offense to provide political money from any company to any person or company in an effort to gain a political advantage.
Bob Carstens
Mon, 10/12/2015 - 1:23pm
So-called "Free Markets" are a ruse supported by those (Corporations) seeking too rig the system to their exclusive advantage. Regulation is needed to make the words "with liberty and justice for all" and "democracy" less farcical in the reality/context of today's USA. I am deeply appreciative and in agreement with the contributions above by Chuck Jordan, Chuck Fellows, Joe, and Ken History informs us that the ones that have been committed to delivering energy to us to this point have clearly demonstrated resistance to less destructive and more sustainable energy generation when there was no regulation just as coal mining was much less safe before safety measures were mandated by government. ~bob c.
Bill H.
Mon, 10/12/2015 - 3:31pm
As a very influential American once said " Follow the Money"
Geoffrey
Mon, 10/12/2015 - 6:42pm
There is no free market in utilities. These are monopolies. Period. California is going for 50% by 2030. DRE and Consumers will do nothing on their own.
Jim Brown
Mon, 10/12/2015 - 7:53pm
If the utilities don't need mandates (as they claim) they should not fear them (as they claim). Which is it? The bottom line is that we can not trust them. They didn't want to do renewables until forced to do so.
Bob
Tue, 10/13/2015 - 9:17am
Oh, so you trust the likes of Barry,Hillary & Bernie to mandate the crock of bio mass that they spew each and every time they open their co2 emitting pie holes.
Larry
Mon, 10/12/2015 - 8:27pm
One of the dumbest laws ever passed. The mandate is costing consumers a fortune. What a waste of resources. When the economics make sense people will flock to the most economic alternative. We all have a natural incentive to utilize the most economic alternative. Government needs to quit passing laws that restrict choice and let people choose what is best for them. I'm not against anyone choosing to say put solar panels on their home but don't make me pay for them - through taxes, tax incentives or stupid and costly renewable energy mandates.
John
Mon, 10/12/2015 - 9:22pm
Larry, I can agree with you that it would be nice to let people choose the type of energy they want. The catch to this is that self-interest does not necessarily meet the need of a whole society. Some would prefer coal because it is cheap but do not care if it pollutes the air that we all breathe. Also, I do not believe that the energy companies would develop alternative energy if not forced to. There seems to be too much "me" and not "we" in making decisions today.
Matt
Tue, 10/13/2015 - 10:59am
John, This isn't about greedy individuals verses the common good. The problem here is that you can't and don't really determine what is self interest or societal interest as a whole (if society even knows itself). One could reasonably contend that the renewable energy RE mandates are also the self interests of a small minority trying to project their interest onto society as a whole. There's no denying there are a lot of people making significant money off these renewables. Nor do you balance nor account for society's interest in economic growth (jobs) verses the additional cost incurred or opportunities lost because of higher energy costs from these mandates. Lastly there is no clear picture of whether the benefits claimed by RE proponents are factual and whether the total (all economic, aesthetic, environmental and societal) costs and benefits are fully accounted for, let alone whether by incurring these costs we can achieve any meaningful environmental/societal benefit verses other actions these mandates exclude and discourage. (Remember corn ethanol? ). The renewable energy world is driven as much on emotions, greed and hopes and less by hard cold data than its proponents want to admit.
Hugh McDiarmid Jr.
Thu, 10/15/2015 - 2:06pm
A lot of aged but still repeated-so-often-they-must-be-true misconceptions here. I've no time to go on at length with details, but the state's Public Service Commission report on renewable energy has, for several years now, reported that the cost of wind generation in Michigan is comparable to and even lower than comparable coal-fired electric prices. Additionally, Gov. Snyder's own task force concluded that Michigan could generate more than 30% renewable electricity before grid instability (the wind doesn't blow all the time and sun doesn't shine at night argument) even becomes something to worry about. In 2008 when the renewable standard was passed, dire warnings about grid instability and high prices ran rampant. None. NONE, came to fruition. The prices are plummeting, efficiency improving every year. No reason not to broaden our portfolio -- as you would with your financial portfolio -- to include more renewables. PSC Report here: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mpsc/PA_295_Renewable_Energy_481423_7.pdf
John S.
Tue, 10/13/2015 - 10:59am
States can develop their own clean power plan. Michigan utilities rely heavily on coal. The utilities in this state can't meet the federal mandate and provide good service to customers without moving to natural gas. That has to be part of the mix. Further, it's a cheaper option right now than moving to renewables. From what little I know, natural gas fired power plants are only about half as dirty as coal fired power plants. Still, there's carbon pollution from such plants, and there's no tax (carbon tax) on the negative externalities from such pollution. Because of carbon pollution, the marginal personal costs for power generated from natural gas will be less than its marginal social costs. Michigan must compete with neighboring states for industry and jobs. Is there any evidence that the state mandate on renewables results in higher utility costs in Michigan than in neighboring states? The answer to that question is likely no. There are other far more important reasons for the higher utility costs in Michigan. The two representatives taking campaign money from utility interests should sew the logos of the utility companies onto their business suits so that their constituents know whose interests they represent.
Neil
Tue, 10/13/2015 - 1:33pm
We have to make a trade for green renewables in exchange for reliable electric power. Right now we are spoiled with 24x7 availability of 120V/240V electricity to charge our cell phones and digital cameras. If 30-50 % of residences and business are directly connected to wind turbines or solar cells, does the wind blow full blast all the time, or does the sun shine without cloud cover over Michigan 24x7? We could experience third-world electricity of rotating blackouts and brownouts. Blackouts are no electricity when you flip the switch on the wall. Brownouts are voltages less than 120V that can smoke your appliances. All your appliances are designed to operate on a standard of 120V or 240V 60 cycle. Obama wants to shut the coal mines. This will take us back to the stone age. We need coal or coke to smelt iron and make steel and most of our other metals. We need coal fired electric power plants to supply bulk power for electric steel furnaces and all other manufacturing plants. These plants require currents like 1000 ampere hour. Where are we going to get electricity like from green renewables. With green renewables I guess we don't need metals anymore or manufacturing plants.
Stephen Brown
Mon, 10/19/2015 - 1:26pm
How about addressing these questions: 1) If our “government” is really behind renewables, then why can’t we have a net metering law in Michigan? Because the utilities have too much political power in the legislature. See what is happening in states and countries that have net metering laws. Many individual citizens are eager to contribute to renewables, and can do so at a profit. This should be supported by all us libertarians out there! Google “vermont renewables”, and see what another state has done, through net metering. 3) Nuclear is not viable, because the life cycle costs are already higher than for renewables. This is the reason no nuclear plants have been built since the 1970’s. Its not political, but economical sense. 4) Go to your public library, or Amazon, and check out “Winning the Oil Endgame” by Amory Lovins. See who has endorsed this well-considered policy recommendation!! It’s dated (2004), but still relevant. For net metering, see: http://michiganradio.org/post/lawmakers-new-state-energy-plan-devastatin...and references therein. Why are Republicans in the legislature hostile to this, when Gov. Snyder (R) is supportive? Ask them yourselves! Just to clarify what I mean by “hostile to net metering”, visit the State’s LARA site and note this restriction: “The project must be sized small enough so that it is no larger than what is needed to meet a customer’s electric energy needs.” This is the current law, which seems unacceptable to Republican legislators, who would prefer to eliminate net metering completely. Ask them why!! Michigan LARA website: http://www.michigan.gov/mpsc/0,4639,7-159-16393_48212_58124—,00.html
Laurel Raisanen
Tue, 10/20/2015 - 10:12am
I was glad to see your article. I watched Rick Albin interview Nofs on To The Point on Wood TV. He was sure selling his bills. He knew so much! The threats of lost jobs and increased consumer costs intrigued me. So I googled him to find out more and came across an article about the pros and cons of these bills. I am convinced removing the mandates is wrong. Your article totally supports my suspicion that ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) is behind this. The oil and coal industries are writing these bills and selling them to the states one by one through guys like Nofs and Nesbitt. Please continue to keep us informed. Thanks!
Tom
Tue, 10/20/2015 - 2:52pm
When you write such articles, it isn't helpful when you confuse watts (power) with watt-hours (energy). The terms are not interchangeable. It actually serves to confuse people better than it does to educate them, or was that the intent? Numbers matter in this debate...