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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