Voters must decide on constitutional amendment for renewable energy standard

GENESEE COUNTY — On Nov. 6, voters must decide if they want to amend the Michigan Constitution and make it constitutional policy of the State of Michigan to promote the use of clean renewable electric energy sources.

Proposal 2012-03 seeks a constitutional amendment that would require by 2025 at least 25 percent of each electricity provider’s annual retail electricity sales in Michigan be derived from clean renewable electric energy sources such as wind, solar, biomass and hydropower.

The proposal states that the energy must be produced from facilities located within Michigan or within the retail customer service territory of any electric utility operating in Michigan.

Proposal 2012-03 further states that the proposed standard shall not cause electricity rates to increase by more than one percent in any year.

Finally, the proposed amendment includes language that encourages the legislature to enact laws to promote and encourage the employment of Michigan residents and the use of equipment manufactured in Michigan in the production and distribution of electricity derived from clean renewable electric energy sources.

Supporters of the proposed amendment believe that its adoption will lead to greater investment in Michigan.

Currently, Michigan is dependent on coal plants for most of the electricity produced in the state. Michigan does not have coal resources that can be mined for that purpose so coal must be imported from other states.

Thus, supporters believe money not paid for the purchase or transportation of coal could remain in Michigan to be put to other purposes.

Further, supporters hope the expanded use of renewable energy will lead to manufacturing opportunities within Michigan for wind turbines, solar panels and other means of generating clean renewable energy.

Michigan’s current renewable energy standard is set by Public Act 295 of 2008, which requires providers to generate 10 percent of their retail electricity sales from renewable energy by 2015.

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