I am going to tell you all you need to know about the opposition to “Proposition III.”  First I’m going to give you a number, $6,130,642.  That’s the amount of money donated to fight this proposition by just two entity’s.  One is DTE, and the other CMS, as of October 2,2012.   http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/committee.phtml?c=12007

The stated purpose of this proposal is:  Proposed constitutional amendment to require utilities to obtain at least 25% of their electricity from clean renewable energy sources. http://michigan.gov/documents/sos/Bal_Prop_Status_2011_2_346859_7.pdf

This was posted on MyFoxDetroit.com, on October 8th:


Require electric utilities to provide at least 25% of their annual retail sales of electricity from renewable energy sources, which are wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower, by 2025.

Limit to not more than 1% per year electric utility rate increases charged to consumers only to achieve compliance with the renewable energy standard.

Allow annual extensions of the deadline to meet the 25% standard in order to prevent rate increases over the 1% limit.

Require the legislature to enact additional laws to encourage the use of Michigan made equipment and employment of Michigan residents.  http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/19765522/michigan-ballot-proposal-12-3

Could this be less about wind, solar…, than we are being led to believe?  Could it be more about the limits on electric utility rate increases and the requirement that the legislature enact laws to encourage Michigan jobs and manufacturing?  Michigan utilities are already mandated to provide 10% of our energy using renewable sources by 2015, this was enacted during Governor Jennifer Granholm‘s administration, so what could be the problem with this new legislation?  Could it be that the Utilities are just trying to maintain their stranglehold on the citizens of Michigan?  Between them DTE and CMS have a veritable monopoly on providing power to Michigan citizens.  That monopoly gives them power over not just their customers but over their competition as well.  The power to control their complete business environment is what, I believe, they want to gain and/or maintain.

The opposition to this proposal is led by a group called “Clean Affordable Renewable Energy for Michigan Coalition.”  (CARE for Michigan)

Those opposed to this proposal have made claims that this proposal will cost consumers 12 billion dollars in increased costs. This is a claim that has been refuted by The Michigan Truth Squad:



They also claim that Proposal 3 will cost jobs in Michigan, but “Think Progress” has another take:

“In February, Michigan’s Public Service Commission issued a report showing that the state’s current renewable electricity standard requiring 10% penetration by 2015 had spurred already $100 million in economic activity. The report also showed a remarkable trend seen throughout the rest of the country: the cost of wind, solar, and hydro “is cheaper than a new coal-fired generation” in the state.

That changing equation is making renewable energy far more cost-effective for ratepayers. In nearby Iowa and Minnesota — states with the second and fourth most wind energy respectively — a dramatic increase in wind installations has had a minimal impact on rates. In fact, a recent study in Iowa showed that the state’s 20% wind penetration was keeping rates below the national average — while also supporting more than 3,000 manufacturing jobs in the state.”

It should be noted that:

“CARE’s campaign is publicly backed by the Michigan Jobs and Energy Coalition, which includes DTE Energy, Consumers Energy, the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, and the Detroit Regional Chamber. CARE’s Treasurer was recently named DTE Energy’s Chief Accounting Officer, and her address listed in a recent CARE legal filing is the same as DTE’s headquarters.

“The big utilities fighting this are large bureaucratic entities that resist change,” said Mark Fisk, a spokesman for the advocacy campaign in favor of the increase renewable energy targets. “What the utilities aren’t telling people is the cost of doing nothing.”

Although proponents estimate a new target will add roughly $1.25 to the typical utility bill in Michigan, CARE is trying to stoke fears by calling additional targets “reckless.”  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/06/26/506298/chamber-of-commerce-and-utility-groups-wage-campaign-against-renewable-energy-increase-in-michigan/

Please understand, I don’t have a problem with any private business controlling their environment, within legal limits.  But the business of providing a necessary service as a virtual monopoly (you cannot realistically call DTE and CMS competitors), using government tax subsidies, is not private.

According to another “Think Progress” post:

The companies that paid no tax for at least one year between 2008 and 2010 are the utilities Ameren, American Electric Power, CenterPoint Energy, CMS Energy, Consolidated Edison, DTE Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy, FirstEnergy, Integrys Energy Group, NextEra Energy, NiSource, Pepco, PG&E, PPL, Progress Energy, Sempra Energy, Wisconsin Energy and Xcel Energy; and the fossil-fuel extraction and services companies Apache, Atmos Energy, Chesapeake Energy, El Paso, Exxon Mobil, FMC Technologies, Halliburton, Holly, Marathon Oil, Occidental Petroleum, Peabody Energy, and Scana.  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/11/07/363018/corporate-welfare-for-energy-companies-means-we-paid-24-billion-in-taxes-to-them/

Alternative energy, renewable energy, these things matter, but I don’t believe [that] is what this fight is about.  And no one begrudges the utility companies the “earned” tax subsidies that they receive.  (Particularly those subsidies that generate jobs for Michigan businesses)   Those subsidies, though, represent  an investment made by Michigan’s citizens.  This proposal is about the return on investment the citizens of Michigan receive.  This proposal gives the Michigan citizens a constitutionally mandated “legislative” seat a the table.



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