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MICEF applauds Senate committee unanimous passage of homeowner solar panel tax fix

LANSING, Mich. (September 25, 2018) – Ed Rivet, executive director of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MICEF), issued the following statement applauding the Senate Finance Committee’s bi-partisan, unanimous approval of House Bills 5143 and 5680 — legislation that establishes solar installations as personal property, which would prevent an increase in property taxes until after the property is sold.

“This legislation provides much-needed clarity to Michigan’s tax policy for solar installations, which is currently confusing and a deterrent to Michigan residents who want to lower their utility bills by generating their own electricity,” said Ed Rivet, executive director of MICEF. “The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum commends Representative Tom Barrett for taking the initiative to introduce this legislation that improves access to residential solar and protects Michigan homeowners. We applaud the Senate Finance Committee for passing these important bills and we encourage the full Senate to swiftly approve them.”

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About MICEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency. MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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Susannah Barnes Named to Fellowship Program

LANSING — Susannah Barnes, a Grove City College student from Midland, is a member of the second Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) class of research fellows, a select group of college students conducting research to educate and engage state policymakers and the public on the energy challenges facing Michigan.

Barnes is a rising sophomore at Grove City College, majoring in economics and minoring in communications. She is an active member of the debate team at GCC. She will be researching the regulations that impact baseload capacity.

“An ‘All of the Above’ approach to energy policy ensures reliable and affordable energy for all,” Barnes said. “Unfortunately, certain regulations make it difficult to have a diverse energy grid. It’s important that Michigan’s energy industry works for the people to provide Michigan residents with dependable electricity. I’m excited to be working with MCEF to educate Michigan ratepayers about the benefits of a manifold energy system.”

Over the course of six months, the MCEF Fellowship Program offers college students the opportunity to engage with energy policy experts, conduct and publish their own relevant research on a topic of their choosing, and advocate for energy policy improvements at the local and state level, while learning valuable skills and building relationships for a future career in the public sector.

For more information about the program, or to inquire about the application process for 2019, contact Joanna Lewis at lewis@micef.or. To learn more about the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum, visit ww.micef.or.

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About MCE: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency. MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. ttp://www.micef.org/

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Loren King Named to Fellowship Program

LANSING — Loren King, a Michigan State University student from Burr Oak, is a newly selected member of the 2018 Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) class of research fellows, a group of college students interested in the application of renewable energy across the state. The fellows hope to encourage productive conversation around the topic of renewable energy and use their research findings to educate state policymakers and the public.

King is a junior at MSU studying for a dual major in non-formal agricultural education and environmental systems & sustainability. He is also pursuing minors in sustainable agriculture & food systems and environmental economics. King is currently the public relations chair of the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resource Education Club, and a member of the MSU College Republicans. His research will focus on the application of renewable energy in agricultural settings and will culminate in a mini-documentary.

“I have been blessed with opportunities to see renewable energy projects both in Michigan and around the world. The impact that these types of programs have on the local economy and environment is an important factor that should be recognized as vital to the future of oureconomy,” said King. “Utilizing all available options for energy production can ensure the safetyand function of our power grid while also serving as an economic booster. I can’t wait to help share how impactful implementing this technology can be.”

Over the course of six months, the MCEF Fellowship Program offers college students the opportunity to engage with energy policy experts, conduct and publish their own relevant research on a topic of their choosing, and advocate for energy policy improvements at the local and state level, while learning valuable skills and building relationships for a future career in the public sector.

For more information about the program, or to inquire about the application process for 2019, contact Joanna Lewis at jlewis@micef.org. To learn more about the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum, visit www.micef.org.

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservativeswho believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase inourcommitmenttorenewableenergyandenergyefficiency. MCEFbelievesencouragingdiverseand clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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MCEF Advocacy Fund Recognizes Conservative Energy Advocacy Leaders

LANSING — Michigan Conservative Energy Forum Advocacy Fund (MCEF-AF) recognized a group of state legislators and candidates who represent a new breed of conservative leaders in the energy policy realm. MCEF-AF is a policy advocacy group promoting a more diversified energy portfolio in Michigan - a true “All of the Above” generation mix that emphasizes a transition to clean, renewable forms of energy. 

Earlier this spring State Representative Tom Barrett received MCEF’s Legislative Champion Award for his work on key legislation in the state House, while City of Walker Mayor Mark Huizenga, a candidate for the 74th House District, received MCEF’s Founder’s Award for advancing energy efficiency in the private sector. MCEF recently surveyed candidates for the Michigan House and Senate and identified 49 “Friends of Conservative Energy Advocacy.” 

“We are pleased to recognize this group of conservative energy advocates for the leadership and vision they are bringing to Michigan’s energy future,” said Ed Rivet, executive director of MCEF-AF. Rep. Tom Barrett and Mayor Mark Walker have led by example in advancing innovative policies that will make Michigan’s energy supply more diverse, reliable and importantly, more affordable. We applaud their efforts to help lower energy bills for ratepayers. 

“We’re also highlighting 18 State Senate and 31 State House candidates that share many of our energy policy positions. This being our first foray into identifying friends of conservative energy advocacy, we began with Republican and Libertarian candidates before the primary election. We will survey Democratic candidates in the weeks after the primary. We view this as a three-way educational process. Candidates learn about our policy perspective while we learn about theirs. By providing this list, the general public can be informed as well. 

MCEF-AF is guided by conservative principles such as free markets, minimum government regulation, and encouraging innovation. These are the means for driving down energy costs, stimulating job and economic growth, and creating a diverse and robust energy industry in our great state. 

Attached is the Friends of Conservative Energy Advocacy list.

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About MCEF-AF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum Advocacy Fund is a 501(c)4 organization that works to educate the general public and policy makers on responsible energy issues. The purpose of MCEF-AF is to advocate for energy policy in Michigan which advances the usage of clean and renewable energy sources by working directly with legislators and elected officials to support the passage of energy laws that will benefit Michigan ratepayers.


MCEF-AF “Friends of Conservative Energy Advocacy”

*   MCEF Legislative Champion Award recipient
** MCEF Founder’s Award recipient

MICHIGAN SENATE

Dist.    Candidate                              Party

8          Peter Lucido                        R
10        JosephBogdan                     R
12        Michael McCready                R
15        Jim Runestad                        R
16        Mike Shirkey                         R
17        Dale Zorn                              R
21        Kim LaSata                           R
22       Joseph Marinaro                   R
24       *Tom Barrett                         R
26       Bob Genetski                        R
26       Don Wickstra                        R
28       Nathan Hewer                       L
30       Mary Buzuma                        L
30       RogerVictory                        R
31        Gary Glenn                            R
34       Holly Hughes                         R
34       Max Riekse                            L
38       Mike Carey                             R

MICHIGAN HOUSE

Dist.    Candidate                              Party

4          Howard Weathington           R
26       Al Gui                                     R
35        Theodore Alfonsetti             R
36       Scott Czasak                         R
40       Malissa Bossardet                 R
40       Paul Taros                              R
40       Joe Zane                               R
45        Michael Webber                   R
47        Hank Vaupel                         R
51        Matthew Anderton                R
55        Miha Todd                             R
59        AaronMiller                           R
60       William Baker                        R
65        Todd Brittain                         R
65        Matt Eyer                              R
65        Jason Rees                            L
67        Leon Clark                             R
72        Jennifer Antel                        R
72        StevenJohnson                      R
74        **Mark Huizenga                    R
77        Tommy Brann                        R
78        DavidMann                            R
81        Joel Williams                          R
82       Gary Howell                            R
96       Susan Kay Kowalski               R
98       Annette Glenn                        R
100      Scott VanSingel                     R
101      Carolyn Cater                          R
101      Jack O'Malley                          R
110      Keith LaCosse                         R
110      Gregory Markkanen                R

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Zach Serzo Named to Fellowship Program

LANSING — Zach Serzo, an Albion College student from Lake Orion, is a member of the 2ndMichigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) class of research fellows, a select group of college students conducting research to educate and engage state policymakers and the public on the energy challenges facing Michigan.

Serzo is a senior at Albion College, majoring in political science and minoring in history. He is a member of the Albion College Division III football team, as well as a member of the Student- Athlete Advisory Committee. He will be exploring the different uses and applications of battery storage by hosting and producing a podcast series that features guests who have different and varying expertise on the subject.

“Renewable energy such as wind and solar has proven to be an economic force that has helped to create new jobs and business opportunities in Michigan and around the country,” Serzo said. “Another important aspect of the renewable energy conversation is how well we can develop battery storage technology in a way that will help strengthen our power grid and provide affordable and reliable energy for Michiganders. I am excited to be a part of this program and I look forward to working with MCEF to further explore how we can use battery storagetechnologies in the commercial, public, and private sectors.”

Over the course of six months, the MCEF Youth Fellowship Program offers college students and young professionals the opportunity to engage with energy policy experts, conduct and publish their own relevant research on a topic of their choosing, and advocate for energy policy improvements at the local and state level, while learning valuable skills and building relationships for a future career in the public sector.

For more information about the program, or to inquire about the application process for 2019, contact Joanna Lewis at jlewis@micef.org. To learn more about the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum, visit www.micef.org.

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservativeswho believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increasein our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency. MCEF believes encouraging diverse and local energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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Michael Anderson Named to Fellowship Program

LANSING -- Michael Anderson, a student at the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business from Kingsford, has been selected to be a member of the 2018 Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) class of research fellows. The MCEF Fellowship Program, which was incepted in 2017, consists of a group of outstanding college students aiming to engage and inform state policymakers and the public alike on the latest energy policies and trends affecting citizens across the state.

A junior in U of M’s Bachelor of Business Administration program, Anderson is studying financeand accounting. He serves on the executive board of the College Republicans at the University of Michigan as treasurer while also serving as the founding vice president of the Yooper Club. “Themost rewarding part of being a conservative from the Upper Peninsula at U of M is being able to provide additional perspectives and create diversity of thought in what would otherwise be a leftist echo-chamber,” says Anderson.

As an MCEF fellow, Anderson will be focusing his research on how the retirement of the Presque Isle Power Plant (PIPP) will affect the citizens of the U.P. After speaking with members of hiscommunity, Anderson recalls that, “many Upper Peninsula Power Company customers worry about the PIPP closure and what it will mean for their electricity bill at the end of the month. Energy has been and continues to be a hot topic in our community and I believe it is important to make the public aware of the changes scheduled to take place over the coming months andhow the U.P. can benefit from them.”

The MCEF Fellowship Program will give Anderson and three other fellows opportunities to learn about Michigan's energy landscape and how conservative energy policies can create jobs, expand our economy, improve national security and responsibly make use of our natural resources. Fellows will also meet regularly with the MCEF Leadership Council, join educational meetings with legislators and candidates and participate in grassroots events to strengthen their professional network and develop skills for a broad range of careers.

For more information about the program, or to inquire about the application process for 2019, contact Joanna Lewis at jlewis@micef.org. To learn more about the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum, visit www.micef.org.

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservativeswho believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increasein our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency. MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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Michigan Conservative Energy Forum Statement on Consumers Energy’s Proposed Integrated Resource Plan

LANSING, Mich. – In advance of the public hearing to be held by the Michigan Public Service Commission on the topic of Consumers Energy’s proposed Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) later today, the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) released the following statement:

“Having supported the IRP requirement during the legislative process that resulted in Public Acts 341 and 342, MCEF is very pleased by many aspects of Consumers Energy’s proposal,” said Ed Rivet, executive director of MCEF. “We are glad to see that their plan includes increased use of Michigan-based renewable energy generation (particularly wind and solar), greater efforts to reduce energy waste, and a commitment to phase out coal-powered generation. These elements certainly capture the spirit of the IRP process envisioned in the 2016 laws. While we would like to see a little more focus on energy storage, and preparation for a future that includes widespread adoption of electric vehicles, we believe this proposal is an excellent start and hope that DTE will present an equally aggressive plan when it comes to home-grown renewable energy and energy efficiency gains. As the IRP process continues, MCEF would like to encourage the Commission to work with Consumers Energy and all utilities to ensure that Michigan is leveraging all of its generation assets to the benefit of ratepayers, our economy, and our precious natural resources.”

Program director Joanna Lewis will offer comments on the proposed IRP at the public hearing, which will take place at 5 pm today at Grand Valley State University’s Eberhard Center at 301 Fulton St. W in Grand Rapids.

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency. MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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New Study Highlights Current, Future Economic Impact of Clean Energy in Michigan

Hill Group report, commissioned by Michigan Conservative Energy Forum, examines job creation and state’s clean energy landscape over the next decade

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) today released a report by The Hill Group that studies the economic impact of Michigan’s clean energy laws, and begins to quantify future impact on jobs and economic development resulting from possible changes to the state’s energy policies. The report, “Growing Michigan’s Economy & Jobs: Economic Impact of Renewable Energy, 2017-2027” considers capital investments, jobs created, wages and benefits, and other economic impacts to analyze the effects of three scenarios, including the current 15% renewable portfolio standard that was signed into law in 2016.

The release of the report follows shortly after announcements from the state’s two investor-owned utilities about ambitious long-term goals for clean energy deployment in Michigan.

“With this report we sought to quantify the impact of Michigan’s rapidly evolving energy landscape,” said Ed Rivet, executive director of MCEF. “Given the current trajectory of renewable development, as well as the falling prices of—and public demand for—clean energy sources, and even utility announcements of long-term clean energy goals, what could the energy landscape look like in a decade? Turns out, Michigan’s energy—and economic—future is bright.”

“Investing in Michigan’s energy generation system will power the economy as much as it will power the grid,” said Jordan Pallitto, vice president of The Hill Group. “This research has helped attach tangible numbers to the policies Michigan has enacted, and reflects the vast economic potential that can be had if the state continues on this path toward more Michigan-based energy production.”

The report analyzes the impact of developing clean energy resources in-state, rather than meeting targets by purchasing Renewable Energy Credits. Key findings of the report include:

  • Meeting the 12.5% by 2019 interim target as required by law should result in over 20,000 job-years supported, $1.4 billion in employee compensation, and a gross economic impact of $3.8 billion.
  • By meeting the 2021 standard of 15% renewable energy, the cumulative effect for Michigan’s economy will have reached over 32,500 job-years supported, with $2.2. billion in employee compensation, and $6.3 billion in gross economic impact.
  • The cumulative effect of achieving 30% renewables by 2027 would be over 68,500 job-years supported, with $4.5 billion in employee compensation, and $10.3 billion in economic impact.

Renewable energy companies in Michigan are growing fast and are poised to take advantage of the increasing demand for clean energy and greater market access to consumers.

“The costs of solar technology have fallen so dramatically over the past decade that large-scale solar farms are now cost-effective in states at Northern latitudes,” said Kevin Borgia, Midwest policy director for Cypress Creek Renewables. “Our proposed investments in Michigan are all across the state, in the lower and upper peninsulas, in Consumers Energy and DTE territories, in rural and urban areas alike. We look forward to working with Michigan utilities to make solar development a reality to the benefit of all Michiganders.”

Rivet added: “100% of the coal we currently use to generate electricity is imported from out of state. We would like to see Michigan dollars stay in Michigan, stimulating our local economies, growing our businesses, and providing for our families. By developing the renewable energy resources that are abundant right here in Michigan, we can bring jobs to our state and boost our economy. This report demonstrates that moving beyond the current targets, even taking the most aggressive approach to developing in-state renewable generation up to 30% by 2027, will be a jobs and economic growth engine that could make Michigan a destination state. Not only will there be good-paying and high-tech jobs to keep our children from leaving the state, but we can become a magnet for top talent and investments, helping us better compete within the region.”

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency. MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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MCEF Statement on Consumers Energy IRP

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) today issued the following statement regarding Consumers Energy’s recently released Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which is a long-term energy planning process required by law. The following statement can be attributed to Ed Rivet, executive director of MCEF.

“Consumers Energy’s IRP is a major step forward for Michigan ratepayers. The plan will result in significant investments in clean energy and energy efficiency, moving our state closer to a diversified ‘all of the above’ energy strategy, and in turn helping to reduce electricity costs for Michigan families and businesses. We applaud Consumers Energy for taking steps to ensure Michiganders have more affordable, reliable and clean energy.”

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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Passage of Solar Panel Tax Fairness Bill Right Step for Michigan

MCEF Praises Passage of Rep. Tom Barrett’s House Bills 5143 & 5680

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) today applauded the passage of House Bills 5143 and 5680 in the Michigan House of Representatives on Tuesday. HB 5143 and 5680, introduced by State Representative Tom Barrett (R-Potterville), will make investments in residential and small-scale solar energy equitable under the tax code, treating the addition of solar panels on residential property the same as installing a back-up generator or high efficiency furnace. Solar installations would not be taxed under Michigan’s personal property tax but would be added to the residential property’s market value at the time of sale. The bills were passed by votes of 106-3 and 105-4, respectively.

“Residential and small-scale investments in solar generation to offset one’s own energy consumption should not be taxed as a business or commercial venture,” said Ed Rivet, executive director of MCEF. “Our tax policies should encourage, not penalize, individual investments that reduce demand on the electrical grid while simultaneously promoting cleaner energy generation. These sorts of investments spur local jobs and the economy, while helping to conserve our environment – all benefits for our communities and our state.” 

MCEF also offered its appreciation to State Representative Tom Barrett for his leadership in bringing the legislation forward. “We want to thank Rep. Tom Barrett for sponsoring this package of bills. Taxpayers and clean energy entrepreneurs have a friend in Barrett,” Rivet added.

MCEF will be advocating for the legislation to be taken up promptly in the Michigan Senate after the summer recess.

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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Top Hillsdale Economist Argues State Energy Market Needs Structural Separation

Dr. Gary Wolfram testifies in front of House Energy Policy Committee

LANSING, Mich.Dr. Gary Wolfram, the director of economics at Hillsdale College, testified Tuesday in front of the Michigan House Energy Policy Committee on the need for further structural separation of Michigan’s electric utility industry. Wolfram discussed the perverse incentives of the current system and legislative solutions that can improve innovation and lower rates.

In his testimony, Wolfram cited his recently released white paper, “Open-Access Power Generation: The Need for Structural Separation of Michigan’s Electric Utility Industry,” which was commissioned by the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) in 2018. While transmission has already been unbundled from the generation and distribution of electricity (per Public Act 141 of 2000), the state’s two major investor-owned utilities still own and control generation and distribution technology for most of the state. As a result, Michigan is losing out on innovation and paying more for energy.

Wolfram writes in his paper, “since investor-owned utilities are allowed by state regulators to set rates that recoup their costs and provide a given rate of return, the greater these costs the larger the return to the utility. The incentive would be to build as large and costly a plant as the regulators would allow since net revenues will be larger the costlier the plant. This situation is aggravated by the fact that utilities have more information about the costs of generating and delivering electricity than does the body that regulates them.”

Wolfram notes that changes to Michigan’s electric utility industry model, such as structural separation and increased market access for renewable energy providers, will benefit the state’s retail electricity rates, which are highest in the region and only continue to climb in comparison to neighboring states.

“Michigan’s current energy market does not offer proper incentives to innovators who could take us from a ‘land-line era’ to a ‘cell phone era’ in terms of energy technology,” said Wolfram. “If we separate generation from distribution and open the generation market to competition, we can spur the development of new technologies that will make Michigan energy cheaper, more reliable and efficient, and better suited to meet customer demands. It’s simple: introduce competition and allow access to customers – innovation and lower rates will follow.”

Wolfram also addressed how the issue of structural separation relates to legislation being considered by the committee on a fair value tariff for distributed generation (formerly known as “net metering”) customers.

Opening markets to competition can spur development of third party ownership, increasing choices for where and how consumers get their energy. More choices and competition will help drive down costs – which remain one of the highest bills that industrial and manufacturing companies pay. Lower rates will allow families to spend less on utility bills, and businesses to invest more in employees with the money they save. In turn, a more competitive and distributed generation-friendly energy environment can help attract additional companies and investments to the state.

“Our current regulated monopoly utility industry is not working for Michigan ratepayers, plain and simple,” said Ed Rivet, executive director of MCEF. “We are losing out on cheaper, cleaner more reliable and efficient energy technologies because of a lack of incentive to innovate. Structural separation in Michigan’s energy market will level the playing field for electricity generators, increase consumer choice and innovation, and create jobs. MCEF thanks Dr. Wolfram for his leadership on this issue, and we look forward to working with energy stakeholders, policymakers, and the public to further open access to Michigan’s energy market, improve innovation, and protect ratepayers.”

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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Michigan Conservative Energy Forum releases statement on 50 percent utility clean energy goal

LANSING – Ed Rivet, executive director of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF), issued the following statement regarding the announcement of a 50 percent clean energy goal by 2030 from DTE Energy and Consumers Energy. The goal is part of an agreement reached between the utility companies and the group seeking to increase the renewable energy standard to 30 percent by 2030, and will result in the cancelation of the ballot campaign slated for this November. 

“We are pleased a compromise was reached that builds upon the historic, bipartisan energy laws passed in 2016. An out-of-state billionaire purchasing a ballot campaign to increase the renewable energy standard is not the right approach to advancing clean energy options in Michigan, which is why MCEF opposed the initiative to increase the RPS to 30 percent by 2030. The deal announced today will give Michigan a clear path forward that will help diversify our energy mix while expanding access to affordable electricity for Michigan ratepayers. We’re looking forward to being active participants in the process that will implement this agreement.”

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About MCEF:The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency. MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org

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MCEF Applauds Michigan Representatives for Introduction of Energy Freedom Legislation

Energy Freedom package promotes energy choices, independence

LANSING — State Representatives Tom Barrett (R-Potterville), Scott Dianda (D-Calumet), Gary Glenn (R-Williams Township), Steven Johnson (R-Wayland), and Yousef Rahbi (D-Ann Arbor) today introduced a package of bills to simplify the process for Michigan ratepayers to offset their energy costs by producing their own renewable energy. Larry Ward, executive director of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF), issued the following statement in support of the bipartisan energy legislation.

“The Energy Freedom bill package will protect the Michigan ratepayer who wants to invest their own capital to produce their own energy on their own property. When individuals, businesses and organizations generate renewable energy, they benefit the grid and all other electricity consumers. This bill package will help guarantee that they have the freedom to do just that. MCEF commends this legislation.”

These bills will ensure that Michigan residents, businesses and organizations receive a fair and competitive price for energy they contribute to the grid. By bringing a degree of freedom to the energy market and removing regulatory red tape, they will stimulate Michigan’s economy, diversify our energy sources, and protect our valuable natural resources.

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency. MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org

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MCEF Presents “Legislative Champion” Award to Representative Tom Barrett

LANSING — The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) presented a “Legislative Champion” award today to Representative Tom Barrett (R-Potterville). This award recognizes Representative Barrett’s work to promote legislative solutions that increase ratepayer protection and safeguard the property rights of individuals seeking to generate their own electricity through residential solar. 

“From property rights to solar taxation and a focus on utility companies’ accountability to ratepayers, Representative Barrett has championed energy issues that affect the success of not only the clean energy industry, but the wellbeing of Michiganders and their right to self-generation of clean and renewable energy,” said Larry Ward, MCEF executive director. “MCEF thanks him for his commitment to solving the serious energy challenges facing our state. We look forward to working with him and his colleagues in the legislature as we continue our efforts in 2018.”

“I am honored to receive this award and appreciate the recognition of my hard work,” said Representative Tom Barrett. “Energy policy directly affects every Michigander and I will continue to support conservative policy solutions that will drive innovation, create jobs, and protect ratepayers.” 

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About MCEF:The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency. MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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Public Service Commission missed the mark with distributed generation order

LANSING – The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) issued the following statement in response to the Michigan Public Service Commission’s (MPSC) recent order that changes how residents are compensated for electricity generated through solar. The order establishes a billing system in which residents with solar buy energy from the grid at their utility company’s retail rate, but must sell energy they generate themselves back to the utility at a lower rate based on the utility company’s avoided cost:

“The billing system established by the MPSC for distributed generation (DG) customers is not in compliance with Public Act 341 of 2016. Rather than complete an outflow cost of service study to establish a DG tariff as required by the legislature in Subsection 6a (14) of PA 341, the MPSC staff instead presented a cost of service study on the inflow portion alone, rejecting the policy established by elected officials. MCEF is dismayed by the indefensible action taken today by the Commission, and frustrated that the MPSC ignored the input of so many stakeholders in the work group. The order reflects a capricious lack of respect for the law and demonstrates just how much sway the utilities have over their own regulators. It is the responsibility of the MPSC to implement the law as written, not establish policy of its own choosing.

“The Commission made significant changes to the current net metering program that will effectively undermine solar in Michigan. This is about more than renewable energy – it’s about an individual’s right to produce electricity on their own private property. Who is looking out for the ratepayer if not the MPSC? Distributed generation benefits us all in the form of better reliability and grid security. Residents who want to be more energy independent and generate their own electricity should receive a fair and equitable rate for the energy they provide to the grid – today’s order by the Public Service Commission ensures just the opposite. As a result, solar energy will be much less cost-effective for Michigan residents seeking to reduce their electricity bills by generating their own energy.”

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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Michigan Conservative Energy Forum announces leadership change

Rivet to replace Ward as MCEF executive director in May

LANSING – The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) announced today that Larry Ward will be stepping down from his role as executive director in mid-May, and will be succeeded by longtime conservative political activist Ed Rivet.

Ward, who founded MCEF in 2013, has helped usher in conservative solutions to address the energy challenges facing our state, educating policymakers and the public on the economic, security, and conservation benefits of renewable energy. MCEF has worked to depoliticize energy policy and advance an “all of the above” diversified energy portfolio that is reliable, affordable, sustainable, and increasingly clean and efficient for Michigan ratepayers.

MCEF played a role in the passage of the 2016 historic bipartisan energy laws, and most recently has focused its attention on electric ratepayer protection, leveling the playing field and creating market access for innovative energy technologies, as well as addressing consumer choice and competition in Michigan’s energy markets.

Ward’s new role has yet-to-be-announced, but he will continue the work he started at MCEF to advance conservative solutions to clean energy issues at the regional level.

Rivet announced his departure from the Right to Life of Michigan earlier this week, where he served as legislative director for over 30 years. He will be joining the MCEF team on May 14. He has been a member of the MCEF Leadership Council since 2014.

“I am proud of what MCEF has accomplished in the last four years,” said Ward. “My team has been a trailblazer, leading the conservative clean energy movement that has spread throughout the country. We’ve demonstrated that energy is an issue that affects all Michiganders – no matter where on the political spectrum they fall. While we have made great progress in advancing homegrown energy solutions that protect ratepayers, secure our grid, conserve our natural resources, draw significant investment to the state, and create thousands of good-paying local jobs – there is still more work to do. There is no better person to lead MCEF into a new era than Ed Rivet. His policy acumen, relationships in Lansing, and his passion for energy issues will propel the organization for many years to come. I wish Ed the very best as he takes on this new challenge, and I look forward to working with him in a new capacity going forward.”

“I am ready and excited for this new challenge,” said Rivet. “I believe that energy issues are inextricably linked with the quality of life of Michiganders. But our state’s transition to clean, renewable energy not only improves the health of children, mothers, and seniors – it secures far more benefits in the form of stimulating our economy, creating local jobs that can’t be shipped overseas, giving consumers choices about how and when they use energy, and leveling the playing field so new technology has access to markets and customers. As someone who has installed geothermal and solar panels on my private property, I’ve seen firsthand the immense economic benefits of clean energy. Throughout the years, MCEF has demonstrated that renewable energy is not a partisan issue, and I look forward to advancing solutions that are smart, balanced, and position our state for further economic success in the national and global energy markets.”

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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Dispelling myths about clean energy, advancing conservative policy solutions focus of MCEF Catalyst Conference

Legislators, conservative and energy industry leaders discuss technological innovation, polling, and policy at 4th annual conference

LANSING – The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum’s (MCEF) 4th Annual Catalyst Conference, “The Truth About Renewable Energy”, held yesterday at the Radisson Hotel in Lansing, engaged various energy, business, and conservative leaders in a conversation on the common myths and misconceptions of clean energy.

“Clean energy industries like wind, biomass, hydro, solar, and landfill gas are already paving the way for a bright energy future in our state,” said Larry Ward, MCEF executive director. “These industries are supporting Michigan communities, powering homes, schools, and businesses, and creating local jobs that can’t be outsourced. While misconceptions about renewable energy abounds, MCEF is committed to working with legislators, the Michigan Public Service Commission, business leaders, and fellow conservatives to promote smart conservative solutions that establish our state as a national leader in the energy transformation that is underway.”

The conference featured a panel of representatives from the solar, wind, biomass, and landfill gas industries, including: Casey May, Director of Market Development at Cypress Creek Renewables; Brad Pnazek, Senior Development Manager at Tradewind Energy; Gary Melow, Director of Michigan Biomass; and Jim Grant, North America CEO at Energy Developments Ltd.

Presenters spoke about the technological innovation taking place in energy markets, the importance of diversifying our energy resources, and how renewables can – and do – positively impact electric rates, reliability, and the state economy.

“In many markets across the country we have grid parity, meaning solar on its own can compete and even beat the economics of more traditional generation sources,” said Casey May, Director of Market Development at Cypress Creek Renewables. “It is a common misconception that renewables – and solar in particular – are a liberal issue, or off limits for conservative discussion. It is not a liberal issue. In reality, it can’t be; it’s a story of American achievement and innovation – and I would argue is wholly bipartisan.”

May added: “Utility scale solar developers – we’re not guaranteed any rate of return, unlike the traditional utilities. We are taking on that risk to compete, all the while investing, providing lease income to families across the state, across the country, we’re stabilizing farms. And this is happening in rural America. We are investing millions and millions of dollars in places that have missed out on a lot of the investment and economic growth that has happened over the last three decades. The inertia is there and conservative principles are at the heart of this.”

Representative John Reilly (R – 46th district) touched on the topics of energy innovation, market access, and competition in his remarks, as well as what the House Affordable Energy Caucus will set out to do in 2018.

“Ultimately economics leads policy progress, not politics,” said Reilly. “Propping up monopolies is trying to make war with nature.”

State Senator Mike Shirkey (R – 16th district), member of the Michigan Senate Energy and Technology Committee, delivered the keynote address in which he shared his personal experience with renewable energy technologies and his views of how the state legislature and regulators can forge ahead with future energy policy that is efficient, effective, and protects ratepayers.

“I’d like to change the theme for today to dispelling the myths of resisting technological change,” said Shirkey. “Change is hard, but the alternative of resisting change – the costs are too high. We can choose to try to preserve our comfort zone and preserve the status quo. But I believe what we should be doing is embracing and exploiting – and exploiting in a completely positive way – the opportunities represented by technology today, particularly in the energy field.”

Shirkey added: “The longer we resist change in this arena the more dangerous, the more costly, and the less competitive we will be driving ourselves to.”

The conference also featured a presentation from Mark Pischea, president of the Conservative Energy Network (CEN), on new national energy polling conducted by Public Opinion Strategies. The CEN poll found that Republicans across the country, especially Trump voters, support the transition to cleaner forms of energy like solar.

MCEF promotes an “all of the above” approach to energy production that emphasizes a transition to cleaner, cheaper, and more efficient sources that will stimulate the state economy, create jobs, and increase our national and grid security.

The event also featured an awards ceremony recognizing various energy industry and policy leaders:

  • The Legislative Champion Award was presented to Representative Tom Barrett for his promotion of conservative legislative solutions to protect ratepayers and property rights for residential solar generation.
  • Former executive director of the Michigan Agency of Energy, Valerie Brader, received the MCEF Clean Energy Champion Award for her exceptional work in helping to craft the state’s 2016 historic, bipartisan energy legislation that increased our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • Michigan Biomass director Gary Melow also received the Clean Energy Champion Award for his instrumental work to protect Michigan independent power producers and promote conservative and common-sense solutions for homegrown, baseload, and clean power.
  • The inaugural class of MCEF Youth Fellows were formally recognized, and outgoing MCEF Leadership Council Member and Board President Mark Huizenga, mayor of Walker, MI, received the Founder’s Award for his outstanding service as a founding member of the organization.

“We are witnessing a revolution in our energy markets, driven by the cost competitiveness of clean energy,” said Mark Huizenga, outgoing MCEF Leadership Council Member, Mayor of Walker, MI, and owner of Key Green Solutions. “Despite the positive changes we have seen in our economy, security, environment, and health from the growth of renewables, there are still those who choose to perpetuate misconceptions about clean energy, or those who seek comfort in the status quo. Today’s conference seeks to clear up the common misbeliefs about renewable energy, and spark an honest dialogue about the energy transformation taking place throughout our state, country, and the world, and how legislative and regulatory solutions, in conjunction with a more open and free market, are driving these changes right here in Michigan.”

Ward concludes: “Clean energy truly is the future. But we must be smart and diligent in developing policy solutions and encouraging technological innovation that spurs job creation, attracts investments, lowers rates, protects our grid and national security, and conserves our natural resources. I hope the conversations we had today serve as a catalyst over the next year, helping to bring that next big policy idea or technological development closer to fruition.”

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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Proposed 30% renewable portfolio standard not right solution for Michigan

Michigan Conservative Energy Forum opposes proposed ballot initiative, focuses instead on innovation, electricity competition

LANSING – On Tuesday, February 13 the Michigan Board of State Canvassers approved a ballot initiative petition to raise the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 30% by 2030, up from the 15% by 2021 currently required under Public Act 342 of 2016. The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) opposes the initiative, arguing the state should instead focus on expanding competition, opening market access, and leveling the playing field for independent clean energy producers.

MCEF believes the framework established in the 2016 energy package (Public Acts 341 and 342), including the current 15% RPS, combined 35% renewable energy and energy efficiency goal advocated by Republican Governor Snyder, and the integrated resource planning process, should all be allowed to play out as the State Legislature had intended.

“Given technological advances and market forces, we're optimistic Michigan will move well past its 15% RPS without a new legal mandate,” said Larry Ward, executive director of MCEF. “The state’s utilities are already on track to meet and exceed the current RPS and combined 35% renewable energy/energy waste reduction goals established by public acts 341 and 342 of 2016. What our state needs is a level playing field for renewable energy sources – with more competition, we will see this industry continue to thrive.”

If approved by voters in the November general election, the ballot initiative, introduced by Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan, would establish a legal mandate for state-regulated utilities to increase their use of renewable energy to 30% by 2030. A similar measure to implement a 25% RPS by 2025 was struck down by Michigan voters in 2012. Unlike the previous ballot initiative, the proposed 30% measure will not seek an amendment to the state Constitution.

“Clean energy is the future,” said Ed Rivet, MCEF Leadership Council member and conservative political activist. “We are moving in the direction of microgrids, customer-owned generation, and further structural separation of energy production from distribution. However, interference in our economy and energy market by out-of-state interests to override our current laws is not the way to further spur the growth of Michigan’s renewable energy industry. On the contrary, the market is taking care of that on its own, as demonstrated by the substantial – and continual – drop in renewable energy costs over the years.”

According to the recent Lazard report on the levelized cost of energy, renewable energy costs are declining quickly, becoming cost-competitive with, and oftentimes cheaper than, natural gas or coal-fired generation. Wind and utility-scale solar prices have on average declined 67% and 86%, respectively, since 2009.

“Competition and innovation are the answer – not a new RPS,” said Jake Putala, MCEF Leadership Council member and former MCEF youth fellow. “Let’s open markets and allow clean energy producers direct access to the market. Competition is a win-win; there is already significant consumer demand for renewables – opening our energy market will spark further investment and innovation in the state, creating jobs, and lowering rates.”

MCEF will continue to educate lawmakers and work with in-state stakeholders to encourage policy solutions that build upon Michigan’s historic, bipartisan 2016 energy laws and pursue a diverse “all of the above” energy strategy that ensures affordable, reliable, and efficient energy for years to come.

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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MPSC report highlights affordability of renewable energy, success of energy laws

LANSING – Larry Ward, executive director of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF), issued the following statement regarding annual renewable energy and energy waste reduction reports released this week by the Michigan Public Service Commission:

“The reports by the Michigan Public Service Commission prove that renewable energy is competitive in Michigan and helps attract billions of dollars in investment, creating jobs across the state. Thanks to bipartisan, comprehensive energy policy signed into law in 2016, we can expect further growth in Michigan’s clean energy sector and increased investments in energy efficiency, which will keep Michigan competitive and secure affordable and reliable energy for ratepayers.”

Key findings of the report include:

·         Savings of $4.29 for every $1 spent on energy efficiency programs.

·         Michigan has seen $3.3 billion of investment for renewable energy projects since the 2008 passage of Public Act 295. These investments have resulted in the addition of 1,670 megawatts through 2017.

·         Average costs for renewable energy contracts are cheaper than coal, with just $72.60 per megawatt hour for renewable energy, compared to $133 per megawatt hour for coal.

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

 

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MCEF Announces New Addition to Leadership Council

LANSING — Today the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) announced the addition of Jake Putala to its Leadership Council. Putala is a member of the First Congressional District Republican Youth Subcommittee, the Michigan DNR Youth Conservation Council, and serves on the board for the U.P. Whitetails Baraga County Chapter. Prior to his involvement on the Leadership Council, Putala was one of five individuals chosen for the inaugural MCEF Youth Fellowship Program in 2017. 

The MCEF Leadership Council is comprised of conservative leaders who believe Michigan needs to diversify its energy portfolio and move towards a true “All of the Above” generation mix, with an emphasis on transitioning to cleaner and more renewable forms of energy.

“Michigan’s young Republicans are making it known that energy is an issue they care deeply about,” said Larry Ward, executive director of MCEF. “Whether for economic, security, or stewardship reasons, our state’s youth are passionate about securing an energy future that is affordable, reliable, and renewable. Jake Putala has been working to spread awareness of the energy crisis in the U.P. and to promote policy solutions like clean energy that will benefit the region he calls home. The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is proud to welcome him to our Leadership Council.”

“Energy policy directly affects the lives of all Michiganders, but especially the residents of the U.P. where our electricity rates are among the highest in the nation,” said  Putala, Upper Peninsula native and MCEF Leadership Council Member. “I believe that conservative principles such as free markets and competition will drive down the cost of electricity, encourage innovation, and lead to a diverse and robust energy industry in our great state.”

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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