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Letter Writer Supports Michigan Ballot Proposal 3

Ron Austin says he wants to move Michigan forward with more renewable energy.

To the editor:

Using more renewable energy in Michigan will help rein in rising energy costs, which is why the big utility and oil companies seem to be doing everything they can to mislead the public about Proposal 3.

I’m not falling for it. More than 30 other states have already passed measures like Proposal 3. Renewable energy is creating jobs and reducing electricity prices in places like Illinois.

We should be doing the same thing, so we can get the same benefits and not get left behind.

The utility companies are hiking our bills by double digits and they will keep doing that if we continue to rely on outdated and expensive energy sources like coal and oil.

I want to move Michigan forward with more clean, renewable energy. That’s why I’m voting yes on Proposal 3.

Ron Austin
Franklin 

Jim Weeks October 25, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Hugh, Thank you for your response. Following are a few of my thoughts to your response: 1) How is it, as you suggest, that on a regional basis Michigan energy needs can “easily” be absorbed by other resources throughout the Midwest when wind is not producing? It is because we rely on production from NATURAL GAS AND COAL BASELOAD PLANTS LOCATED IN STATES UPWIND FROM MICHIGAN. (see map of Midwest electric infrastructure/MISO). This is bad for Michigan air quality; 2) During times of high eclectic usage the wind capacity factor is less than 10% (for every 100 MW of installed capacity 10 MW is actually producing). So, while measured on a 24/7/365 basis the factor is 32-35%, it doesn’t produce on days of highest electric usage by Michigan customers; 3) Reliability has been a problem in areas like Texas because of too much wind. Reliability and affordability should be major concerns, along with environment. MI needs a balanced approach - Prop 3 is slanted to investors; 4) Lastly, 34 utilities in MI that have invested in NEW wind; hydroelectric; landfill gas and geothermal will not have any of that investment recognized under Prop 3. Those utilities relied on present MI law signed by Gov. Granholm. Is it fair to these utility customers to rely on current law only to get cut off at the knees from out-of-state investors? One thing we can agree on is that Maureen is a straight shooter. On this one she hit the bullseye! Best, Jim
Hugh McDiarmid, Jr. October 26, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Thank you also Jim, for your thoughtful response and relevant arguments and observations. I would agree with you on your point #1 – the natural gas and coal capacity both in MI and Midwest provide balance to the intermittency of wind. I think some people lose sight of the fact 75 percent of our generation will still be available for that sort of generation if we get to 25x25. On #2, my understanding is that modern grid management (balancing demand forecasts, weather forecasts, peak-load management, etc.) can work with wind intermittency during peak demand times. Wind also works with solar – as solar capacities are often at their peak at the same time wind is at a low capacity (hot, muggy summer days). I’m not conversant with Texas’ situation in your point #3, although I understand their wind energy program has been credited with saving money for ratepayers.
Hugh McDiarmid, Jr. October 26, 2012 at 02:44 AM
I’m not sure what you mean in your last point, that investors in renwewables will not have their investments “recognized.”? They have contracts with the utilities to provide electricity, and I assume those contracts will go forward without alternation, no? I agree with you that MI needs a balanced portfolio, and I do not think 10% gets us there. The Anderson Economic Group report recently commissioned by Proposal 3 opponents predicts that – with no change in the status quo – Michigan’s renewable electricity percentage will only move from 10 to 11% between 2015 and 2025. We can and should do better. Finally, no plan is without risk. I think the course charted in Prop 3 minimizes risk better than any of the alternatives I’ve seen offered, and better than wrestling with a reluctant legislature for another decade.
Barry Dingles October 26, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Bring a staggering failure to be enshrined in the MI Constitution. Only 16% of Obamas "Green Jobs" training actually lead to employment lasting longer than 6 months. We too can bring this glowing example of fraud, waste and corruption to MI by signing it into our very highest law of the land, the Constitution. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/oct/26/audit-green-jobs-stimulus-program-wastes-cash/
Dale Behler November 10, 2012 at 02:53 PM
The Obama administration and environmentalists need to have balance in forcing these mandates on us. In a weak economy like we have now with high unemployment and families trying to make ends meet financially, the high cost of gasoline caused in part by environmental processing restrictions have added to their problems. Those who are lucky enough to have jobs, are having difficulty paying for the high cost of getting to work. Environmental regulations need to consider the added impact they have on strained family budgets at least until the economy turns around. I see no evidence that the human cost of living factor and negative impact on the economy is ever considered when they push through their Green Agendas. Some balance is necessary.

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