On Nov. 6 you’ll have lots of decisions to make. For Michigan residents, you’ll also have the choice to demand more clean energy.
Proposal 3 would increase the amount of renewable energy that Michigan electric utilities have to provide from 10 percent by 2015, to 25 percent by 2025. Local utilities are on track to meet the 10 percent goal, and residents can keep that momentum going by supporting the ballot proposition and reaping the benefits of clean energy, which include more stable energy prices, cleaner air and more clean-energy jobs.
Michigan consumers spent more than $1.4 billion in 2010 importing coal from other states. Coal makes up more than half of Michigan’s energy mix, despite the fact the state has no coal reserves. Instead of relying so heavily on imported coal, residents could benefit from in-state renewable energy that would create clean-energy jobs and keep income in the state.
Importantly, Proposal 3 will help expand Michigan’s clean energy production without significantly increasing energy prices. Studies by independent economists predict that it would cost the average Michigan household less than a dollar a month and in the long run could reduce residents’ energy costs.
Although it’s unlikely to be needed, Proposal 3 protects consumers by including a rate cap of 1 percent in any given year, just in case there are unforeseen costs. The rate cap means that on average, the upper limit for clean energy investment for an average household would be about a dollar a month. In contrast, non-renewable energy has no rate cap, and just this year, Michigan ratepayers have seen rate hikes in the double digits.
29 states have already adopted renewable energy standards without causing significant increases in utility costs for consumers. Minnesota and Illinois already have 25 percent by 2025 goals, and Iowa gets 23 percent of its electricity from renewables. Michigan has plenty of renewable resources, including wind, solar, hydropower, and biomass to meet the 25 percent target.
The American Energy Innovation Council, which includes business leaders such as Bill Gates, identifies Renewable Portfolio Standards as a best practice for driving innovation and investment to make clean energy affordable and widespread.
Proposal 3 is a high-return, low-risk proposition for consumers that will help diversify the state’s energy sources, stabilize energy prices, drive down costs of clean energy and make the air cleaner to breathe.