Former Groundwork managing editor Jim Dulzo reflects on 14 years at the Traverse City-based advocacy nonprofit.
What if a profitable monopoly with an unshakable grip on its customers refused all pleas to establish a program that, cost free, would create lots of good jobs in Michigan and aid the rise of a crucial global industry here? That’s Michigan’s situation, thanks to DTE Energy and Consumers Energy’s regrettable reluctance to renew and expand their rooftop solar programs.
Four months of meetings have failed to produce an agreement among state regulators, solar energy advocates, and the state’s top two utilities about expanding the companies’ highly popular customer-owned rooftop solar programs.
The ruckus over renewables isn’t over: Proposal 3’s advocates sound even more determined to boost renewables goals beyond their current “10 percent by 2015” target and make Michigan a jobs-rich, global, renewables manufacturing leader. And on Wednesday, Gov. Rick Snyder used his Special Message on Energy and the Environment to say he’s ready to start a conversation next year about resetting the goal for renewables.
I was recently mugged by this commercial against Proposal 3, a/k/a the “Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs” proposal. There’s a spinning wind turbine, a doomy voice, and a meter rocketing from zero to $12 billion in 30 seconds flat-all to scare anyone who uses electricity. Turns out it was paid for by a group called CAREforMichigan. What does CARE stand for? Why, Clean Affordable Renewable Energy, of course. Really?
Three states with renewable energy standards similar to those in Michigan’s Proposal 3-Minnesota, Illinois and Colorado-are seeing little or no rise in electricity prices, undermining claims that the ballot measure will sharply increase energy costs.