State Reps. Pam Byrnes, D-Lyndon Township, and Dan Scripps, D-Leland, are calling for co-sponsorship of legislation that would require that the current renewable energy mandate of 10 percent be increased to between 20 and 30 percent of the electricity produced by utilities in the future. Doubling or tripling the renewable energy mandates for utilities requires that significantly more energy be produced by non-conventional sources such as wind, solar or biomass. Generating electricity from wind or solar is generally more expensive than utilizing conventional fuel sources such as coal or natural gas. The increased cost is passed on to Michigan families and businesses through higher energy bills, which results in less money for consumers to spend and fewer jobs created by business.
Michigan needs more jobs, not fewer. Rather than mandating costly alternative energy, state policymakers should be encouraging energy production with efficient technology such as clean coal. A good place to start would be for Gov. Jennifer Granholm to rescind her moratorium on new coal fired power plants. Studies have shown that conventional power generation facilities provide more high-paying, long-term jobs than does building wind mills. Many Michigan families are in economic distress and we can ill afford to add to their economic problems with wrong-headed energy policy such as that being offered by Reps. Byrnes and Scripps.