MSU study: 2025 green energy ballot proposal would boost state economy

<a href=””><img src=”” alt=”Michigan State University Green Energy” title=”MSU Logo” width=”105″ height=”150″ class=”alignright size-full wp-image-698″ /></a><p>Spartans are known for going green, but the state of Michigan could follow suit if a ballot proposal mandating renewable energy standards passes in November. </p>

<p><a href=”,4670,7-127-1633_8716_8735—,00.html”>Proposal 3</a>, filed by Michigan Energy, <a href=””>Michigan Jobs</a>, would amend the Michigan constitution to require utility companies to provide 25 percent of their sales from renewable energy by 2025.</p>

<p>A study conducted last month by three <span class=”caps”>MSU</span> researchers concluded the job creation provided by the 25 by 2025 plan will offset the initial investment, particularly in the wind and solar power fields.</p>

<p>According to the study, the policy’s $10.3 billion investment between 2016 and 2025 would create up to 74,495 job years — where one job year is full employment for one person for working 2,080 hours in 12 months.</p>

<p><span class=”caps”>MSU</span> Trustee Dianne Byrum, who also is a spokesperson for Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs, said the best way to embrace energy innovations is to set a renewable energy standard, and the proposal would secure Michigan’s energy independence.</p>

<p>“It’s about Michigan’s future,” Byrum said. “The national and global standard for renewable energy is growing very rapidly, and if Michigan isn’t going to be left behind, we need to embrace this.” </p>

<p>Many Republicans say the goal is a noble one, but not appropriate in Michigan’s constitution.</p>

<p>State Rep. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, said the proposal might negatively affect Michigan workers if out-of-state companies invest here; and if renewable energy is the future, it will find its way into Michigan without becoming a constitutional mandate.</p>

<p>“We can talk about energy policy — it’s going to be our next important issue for the next few decades,” Horn said. “(But) we need to be very nimble in policymaking, which amending the constitution doesn’t allow.” </p>

<p>The amendment also would guarantee a cost cap to prevent rates from increasing more than 1 percent annually, Byrum said. </p>

<p><span class=”caps”>MSU</span> Greenpeace campus coordinator Jordan Lindsay acknowledged the proposal’s large upfront price tag and said challenges will arise if the proposal passes, but it is a viable long-term prospect for renewable energy in Michigan.</p>

<p>Lindsay said awareness of the ballot proposal and the <span class=”caps”>MSU</span> Energy Transition Plan, might encourage people to learn about renewable energy and pursue more aggressive options.</p>

<p>“I don’t know particularly why we’re not being aggressive enough,” she said. “We have all of this capacity to be, (and) we personally need to go a lot farther. The state could go a lot farther.”</p>

<p>The <span class=”caps”>MSU</span> Energy Transition Plan, which aims to achieve 40 percent renewable energy by 2030, is much more aggressive than Proposal 3, a testament to on-campus innovation, Byrum said. </p>

<p>Horn said supporters of the policy have been misled by incorrect information about the policy’s proposed job stimulation, and he doesn’t want to see Michigan fall victim to out-of-state energy companies.</p>

<p>“I don’t know how the proponents lay their heads on their pillows with some of the information they’re giving out,” he said. “I will move mountains if someone wants to debate this. It’s so important to me and the state of Michigan that I’m willing to go anywhere.” </p>

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