Will Michigan vote for renewable energy as a constitutional amendment?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Voters will decide a broad slate of issues in the upcoming U.S. elections on November 6, including many that address energy policy.  Questions range from who will serve as president to the role of government in managing the mix of energy resources used to power society.  In several states, voters will decide whether to increase renewable energy mandates.  One example of such a question is Michigan Proposal 3, a citizen-initiated ballot measure that would mandate that 25% of the state's electricity must come from renewable resources by 2025.
Under current law, Michigan's renewable portfolio standard requires electric suppliers to procure at least 10 percent of electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydro and biomass by 2015.  If enacted, Proposal 3 would increase this RPS requirement to 25% by 2025, and limit the impact of the requirement on electric rates to no more than a 1% annual increase.

The official text of Proposal 3 reads:

This proposal would:
  • 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.
Should this proposal be approved?
YES __
NO ____

The effort to place this question on the ballot has been led by a group called Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs.  Supporters project that the amendment would help the local economy by creating over 40,000 jobs and attract $10 billion in new investments, as well as promoting public and environmental health.  Opponents, including a group called the Clean Affordable Renewable Energy for Michigan Coalition or (CARE) argue both that the increased renewable mandate would cost too much and that such a measure does not belong in the state constitution.

How will Michigan voters respond to this issue?  We will find out within the next week.

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