Standing United Against Proposition 3
While we, the general managers and CEOs of Michigan’s electric distribution co-ops support renewable energy, we also stand united against Proposal 3. This ballot proposal would amend the Michigan Constitution to include a 25 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which would be very expensive and extreme. Please consider the following important facts about Proposal 3 as you head to the polls on Nov. 6:
YOUR CO-OP IS A RENEWABLE ENERGY LEADER. Michigan’s electric co-ops are already leaders in renewable energy, and we support the current 10 percent RPS set by the Legislature in 2008. Electric co-ops are key partners in Michigan’s first commercial wind farm, which is located in the Thumb area and was built prior to any RPS requirements. One of our state’s largest renewable energy resources, a hydro facility in Sault Ste. Marie, is also owned by an electric co-op.
THE CONSTITUTION IS THE WRONG PLACE FOR ENERGY POLICY.
We strongly believe that the Michigan Legislature—not the constitution—is the place to enact far-reaching energy policy. While the Legislature’s work can be “fine tuned” to allow for changes in technology, the economy or unintended consequences, these types of necessary adjustments would be nearly impossible to achieve if enshrined in the Michigan Constitution. The majority of the financial support for Proposal 3 is coming from out-of-state special interest groups who would profit from binding energy policy into our constitution.
RENEWABLE IS NOT ALWAYS RELIABLE. Renewable energy has a place in our power supply toolbox, but its limitations make it less-than-ideal. Wind farms in the state typically only generate 30 percent of the time—and this “reliability” is often lower on the hot, still days when electricity demand is highest. By comparison, wind farms in Texas and parts of the upper Midwest often operate at levels exceeding 40 percent.
PROPOSAL 3 WOULD BE EXPENSIVE. Wind power in Michigan is very expensive. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy reports that it would cost the average residential ratepayer an additional $170 to $190 annually to achieve the 25 percent RPS suggested by Proposal 3. This cost estimate does not even include the additional costs of building new transmission lines or generation needed to “back up” the wind when it does not blow. Solar power is even more expensive, and better suited for other regions of the U.S.
We support renewable energy and the current 10 percent RPS, but encourage you to join us in voting “no” against Proposal 3. You can learn more about your co-op’s concerns with Proposal 3 in this edition of Michigan Country Lines (pp. 11, 12-13) and at CAREforMich.com.
(signed by Mark Kappler and the general managers of all of Michigan's electric distribution cooperatives)