Group Moves Ahead with Renewable Energy Measure
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Supporters of a Michigan ballot measure that would require utilities to get more of their electricity from renewable sources submitted more than a half-million petition signatures to the secretary of state's office, they announced Friday.
The Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs coalition pushing the measure said it turned in 530,000 signatures, well above the approximately 323,000 required to put a proposal on the November ballot.
The proposal would require more than 80 electricity suppliers statewide to obtain 25 percent of their power from wind, solar, biomass or hydropower by 2025. The current requirement, passed in 2008 as part of a rewrite of Michigan's energy law, requires they get 10 percent from renewable sources by 2015.
Backers say it would make Michigan a leader in clean energy and create jobs.
"We are taking the first step toward becoming an energy leader that can compete with anyone in the world," said Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs spokesman Mark Fisk.
Opponents, however, say the measure would cost electric customers more money and make it more difficult to provide reliable energy.
The Clean Affordable Renewable Energy (CARE) for Michigan Coalition is working to defeat the issue, arguing the requirement doesn't belong in the state constitution.
In a statement Friday, it called the measure "reckless" and "an over-simplistic approach which will cause more problems than it solves."
"The 2008 Michigan Clean Renewable and Efficient Energy Act is the responsible way to expand renewable energy in Michigan without dramatically increasing the electric costs to residential and business customers," the statement said. "Michigan's constitution is all about protecting people's rights and defining the role of government. It is not about making and dictating energy policy."
If voters approve the measure in the fall, it likely would to end up in court because of a provision that limits to 1 percent utility customers' annual rate increases to cover renewable energy.