State Proposal Asks Voters if a Renewable Energy Standard Should be Added to Constitution

Proposal 3, which will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, will ask voters to amend the Michigan Constitution to establish a standard for renewable energy.

Renewable, clean energy is the goal that most states strive for, but should it be included in a state's constitution?

That's the question voters will answer at the polls on Nov. 6.

Michigan is among 29 states with renewable-energy policies already in place, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Public Act 295, passed in October 2008, requires 10 percent of the state's energy to come from renewable sources by 2015.

If passed, Michigan would be the only state to put a standard in its constitution.

Opponents such as Consumers Energy and DTE say the move will cost too much money and that many smaller utilities may have trouble generating the 25 percent required to meet the new standard.

The proponents biggest argument is that the standard will create jobs in Michigan.

The following language for proposal 12-3 will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot:

This proposal would:  

  • Require electric utilities to provide at least 25 percent 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 percent 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 percent standard in order to prevent rate increases over the 1 percent limit
  • Require the legislature to enact additional laws to encourage the use of Michigan made equipment and employment of Michigan residents

If you vote:

Yes – If voters vote "Yes," the Michigan Constitution would be amended to require 25 percent of the state's electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2025.

No – If voters vote "No," Michigan utility companies would not be required to provide 25 percent of electricity sales from renewable energy sources by 2025.

Dan November 05, 2012 at 05:47 PM
It is my belief that we should not change the state con by adding anything new. If these proposals are to be passed it should be by a trial system that should be voted on by the people every year instead of allowing politicans to vote them in, they are being paid by the special interest groups so they don't care. I don't care what party you are with, but we people united are the ones who are going to have to fix these problems we have in this state.
Laura Vogel November 05, 2012 at 06:08 PM
I completely agree that enshrining a fixed threshold/limit in the Constitution ends up being "no good deed goes unpunished". Witness what Prop A (a.k.a. Headlee Amendment) did to school funding. All of the school districts that were below the grabbed-out-of-the-air threshold when the amendment was passed are forever now barred from ever seeking to supplement the State "foundation grant" through local taxation. And, correspondingly, all of the school districts that were above this threshold continue to enjoy the flexibility of asking their taxpayers if they wish to supplement the State foundation grant by self-taxation. Thus, a child living east of Bogie Lake Road goes to Walled Lake schools who are able to fund 33% more towards per-pupil education than a child on the west side of Bogie Lake Road who attends Huron Valley Schools.
Kevon Martis November 05, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Now add the price of "new coal" to "new wind" and you get the true cost of wind because wind is tied to coal at a 1:3 ratio MI due to appallingly low capacity factors. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgN1n4YOIZQ&feature=relmfu for my full presentation on renewables. Kevon Martis Director www.iiccusa.org
Kevon Martis November 05, 2012 at 06:16 PM
At best wind will reduce some fossil fuel consumption. It cannot replace fossil plants, new or old. Wind's costs are additive because, absent storage, wind is intermittent and redundant to fossil. And wind costs at least $120.00 per MWh to produce, using published installed costs+O&M divided by measured output over porjected lifespan of turbine. To sell below $120.00 is only possible if you get someone else to eat the loss, preferably when they are not looking. RECs, PTC, ITC, Section 1603 Grants, accelerated depreciation....translation? Higher cost to ratepayers...or taxpayers...but we pay,
Laura Jones November 05, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Isn't this what a legislature is for? I just don't understand all these proposed amendments to the Constitution. So if you cannot get a legislature to pass your bill you try to stick it into the Constitution - where it can become old, outdated and nearly impossible to change. I like renewable energy, but this is a bad idea, just like all the others.


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