Michigan Wackos Lost Vote for Suicidal Green Energy Initiative

November 13, 2012 06:57

Wind energy is parasitic – totally dependent on fossil fuels for backup power, with every megawatt of wind power supported by a megawatt of redundant coal or natural gas generating plants. So wind cannot possibly or meaningfully reduce emissions.


By Kevon Martis


Michigan’s insane 25×25 proposition: A postmortem

Why Michigan voters wisely rejected the crazy idea of 25% electricity from renewables by 2025


The Michigan Energy-Michigan Jobs (MEMJ) Proposal 3 – its 25 by 25 gambit – would have forced Michigan taxpayers and ratepayers to produce 25 percent of the Wolverine State’s electricity via expensive, unreliable, parasitic wind and solar projects by 2025.

The misguided program has now been laid to rest by the wisdom of Michigan’s voters. What can we learn by autopsying its corpse?

This initiative was hardly local. It was driven by out-of-state pressure groups like the Sierra Club that were backed by the League of Conservation Voters, natural gas company Chesapeake Energy, and a number of deep-pocketed elites. MEMJ itself was funded largely by the Green Tech Action Fund of San Francisco; the Natural Resources Defense Fund of New York, whose president is multi-millionaire Frances Beinecke; and San Francisco hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer.

These carpetbagger activists placed a bull’s-eye on Michigan ratepayers with Proposal 3. Sierra Club was blunt: “If successful, the [Michigan] 25×25 initiative will send an important signal to the nation that public desire to move toward green energy remains strong.”

The grassroots activists who defeated this proposal had no billionaire largesse to draw upon. They were united under the Interstate Informed Citizen’s Coalition, a bipartisan renewable energy consumers watchdog group dependent on small contributions to support its work and committed to advancing sensible science-based energy policies and free market land use policies.

Compelled by the principle that industrial renewable energy schemes like Proposal 3 bring far more benefit to their invisible corporate cronies than to the environment, IICC members traveled the state on their own dime to speak out, protest, educate and inform. Their reward was sweet: they took their message of science-based energy policy to the people, who responded at the ballot box, soundly defeating Proposal 3 by 64-36 percent.

Using Sierra’s own test, Michigan ratepayers have shouted there is no such “public desire.”

In fact, there is widespread opposition to mandating forest-denuding biomass and massively expensive solar. But the hottest conflict focused on industrial wind. Michigan wind projects have lost at the ballot box virtually every time they have been put to the vote in a fair manner – and by similar margins.

At the township level, opposition to wind cronyism is just as strong. In Lenawee County, Riga Township rejected wind-friendly zoning by 64-36 percent. Two more Lenawee Townships followed suit. In Huron County, Lake Township removed a wind friendly ordinance by a similar 61-39 percent. And in Clinton County townships are intent on adopting police power regulations for wind energy installations, in defiance of too-permissive county level zoning.

This opposition is strongly bipartisan. Proposal 3 and its miles of wind turbines were opposed by both the free market Americans for Prosperity and Michael Moore movie producer Jeff Gibbs.

The ballot box evidence is clear. Michigan ratepayers from left to right are emphatic that there is no “desire” for mandated and subsidized industrial wind projects, in their backyard or anywhere in the State.

The push for Prop 3 also broke the big utilities’ code of silence on wind inefficacy. MEMJ unwittingly exposed CMS Energy’s duplicity on this issue – observing that CMS praised its new Ludington area wind plant for furnishing “reliable and affordable energy,” even as its public relations surrogate Care for Michigan was calling wind “expensive and unreliable.” Unfortunately for MEMJ, the Care for Michigan version was the truth.

Opponents of renewable energy have long pointed out that wind energy is parasitic – totally dependent on fossil fuels for backup power, with every megawatt of wind power supported by a megawatt of redundant coal or natural gas generating plants. So wind cannot possibly or meaningfully reduce emissions.

But the utilities stood silent. Their beloved existing 10 percent renewable mandate, PA295, restored their monopoly status and guaranteed them nice profits, in exchange for a small number of renewable projects. They were not interested in biting the legislative hand that was (and is) feeding them.

But Prop 3 brought all stick and no carrot for the utilities. They could no longer remain silent. Out came the truth. Wind cannot replace fossil fuel plants. Wind is not getting inexorably cheaper, but is far more expensive than current generation and, minus the huge hidden subsidies, more expensive than new coal. Wind cannot increase employment without costing employment in other industries that get stuck with soaring electricity bills. Wind energy cannot liberate us from foreign oil or from out-of-state coal imports.

What then did our autopsy discover? Michigan renewable energy mandates – including PA295 – are doomed. Because of gluttonous overreach, they will die by their own hand. Politicians need not fear public reprisal for opposing and repealing renewable energy mandates. It is now safe for lawmakers to acknowledge and act on the fact that renewable mandates like PA 295 are of no benefit to ratepayers, employers or employees, and are of dubious benefit to the environment.

Through the failure of Proposal 3, Michigan wind has been dissected and eviscerated by public opinion. The sooner our elected officials zip the death bag shut and send the corpse out for burial, the sooner Michigan can protect its rural areas from needless industrialization and our energy intensive industries from rising electricity costs that compromise their competitive edge.

Other states, and our federal government, should take note.


Kevon Martis is Senior Policy Analyst for the Interstate Informed Citizen’s Coalition (www.iiccusa.org) in Blissfield, Michigan.


Also please consider:

Consumers pay 38% extra for ‘renewable’ energy mandates

States with renewable energy mandates average 38% higher electricity rates for consumers with some like New York paying double. 29 states have renewable energy mandates and 7 others have renewable goals.

By Michael Whipple, Editor usACTIONnews.com Jan 22, 2011

tates with renewable energy mandates (REM) average 38% higher electricity rates for consumers with some like New York paying double according to a study by the Institute for Energy Research (IER). 29 states have renewable energy mandates and 7 others have renewable goals. See how your state ranks in electricity and REMs with the interactive map from IER.

Although REMs cannot be blamed for the total disparity in electric rates, the high cost of renewable energy being passed on to consumers is a significant factor.

A report by The Heritage Foundation finds REMs will cost over one million jobs and raise electricity rates by more than one third:

  • Raise electricity prices by 36 percent for households and 60 percent for industry;
  • Cut national income (GDP) by $5.2 trillion between 2012 and 2035;
  • Cut national income by $2,400 per year for a family of four;
  • Reduce employment by more than 1,000,000 jobs; and
  • Add more than $10,000 to a family of four’s share of the national debt by 2035.


Some states are even paying more for electricity they don’t receive to subsidize renewable energy projects in other states. Michigan will receive no benefits from a wind surtax but will have to pay as much as a billion dollars in increased rates. This is part of Obama’s different way to ’skin the cat’ and have agencies implement his energy policy without congressional approval. The day after the November election Obama realized his cap and trade scheme could not pass congress. “Cap-and-trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way,” Obama said “I’m going to be looking for other means to address this problem.”

An a previous article ‘Subsidy for wind energy will raise electricity prices on everyone‘ we explained how the Federal Energy Regulatory (FREC) will help him ‘skin the cat’. It will force Michigan to pay for transmission lines needed for wind farms in Illinois:

From WSJ:

“In fact, this is the first step in a FERC scheme to socialize transmission costs nationwide. In June FERC drafted a rule to create a new national transmission pricing policy that would link wind and solar energy projects to the national electricity grid. (See our November 7 editorial, “The Great Transmission Heist.“)”

“Let’s be very clear on what’s happening here: Mr. Wellinghoff and FERC are trying to establish by regulatory fiat a national energy policy that Congress has refused to endorse. Last summer Congress rejected the Obama Administration’s renewable energy standard law because it would have inflated power costs. So the fiefdom at FERC is unilaterally moving ahead to require that industries and homeowners pay a surtax on their utility bills for a nonexistent renewable energy policy. This is similar to the EPA’s initiatives to regulate carbon even after Congress rejected cap and trade.”


“The wind industry has essentially conceded that without the ability to socialize the cost of multibillion dollar transmission lines, its projects can’t compete with coal, natural gas and nuclear power.

The FERC pricing scheme is politically insidious, and arguably unconstitutional, because it enables states with renewable standards to export the costs of those policies to other states without these laws. Why should a factory in Pontiac, Michigan subsidize the wind energy costs of a plant in Elgin, Illinois?”


REMs are proven job killers. The IER study describes examples from different ccountries that have fallen for the REM scheme:

But trying to create jobs through renewable subsidies has proved to be a failure. In Spain, for example, it is estimated that 2.2 jobs were lost as an opportunity cost of creating one expensive, subsidy- and set-aside-dependent job in the renewable sector. In Germany, per worker subsidies in the solar industry are as high as $240,000 per worker. The situation in Denmark is similar. Danes have to pay the highest electricity prices in the European Union, and they pay subsidies of nearly $400 million a year to wind producers (in a country with less than 2 percent of the population of the United States).

The Obama administration conspired with the Center for American Progress to discredit and cover up the job data from Spain.  Not surprising since Spain’s economy was on the verge of collapse from over spending. Christopher Horner at Pajamas Media wrote about the efforts of the Obama administration and lobbyists to sell the idea of ‘green’ jobs:

After two studies refuted President Barack Obama’s assertions regarding the success of Spain’s and Denmark’s wind energy programs, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request reveals the Department of Energy turned to George Soros and to wind industry lobbyists to attack the studies.

Via the FOIA request, the Competitive Enterprise Institute has learned that the Department of Energy — specifically the office headed by Al Gore’s company’s former CEO, Cathy Zoi — turned to George Soros’ Center for American Progress and other wind industry lobbyists to help push Obama’s wind energy proposals.

Back in the U.S., the American Wind Energy Association — the lobby for “Big Wind” in Washington, D.C., which includes a few Spanish wind giants — also attacked the publication of the Spanish paper.

Soon, the Obama administration published a five-page talking points memo assailing the economic assessment — written by two young, non-economist, pro-wind activists from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Boulder, Colorado.

NREL is an extension of the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). EERE is run by Assistant Secretary of Energy Cathy Zoi, who, until assuming this post, served as CEO to Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection. Zoi is responsible for many millions of the “green jobs” stimulus dollars pushed for and designed by Van Jones (this according to Jones himself).

Scotland’s wind farms are unable to cope with the freezing weather conditions – grinding to a halt at a time when electricity demand is at a peak, forcing the country to rely on power generated by French nuclear plants.

Other attempts at ‘renewable’ energy have had costly results in jobs and dollars here in the US. Two different solar panel plants have closed in the last year despite hundreds of millions in subsidies.

The day after the 2010 election San Francisco Bay Area Solyndra, the great green hope, a government subsidized solar plant, shuttered its original manufacturing plant and scaled back plans for those thousand jobs that Obama had heralded just a few months prior. Solyndra had obtained a government guaranteed loan for almost half a billion dollars. After $58 million in subsidies Evergreen Solar Inc. eliminated 800 jobs in Massachusetts and shut its new factory just two years after it opened and will rely on its plant in China.

Some states have secretly passed on additional cap and trade costs to consumers making corporations like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase and others a handsome profit. In a previous story we posted from New Jersey WACTHDOG:

Secrecy and greed are polluting the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the nation’s first mandatory cap-and-trade system.  Under the RGGI scheme, the smell of profiteering is powerful.  New Jersey and nine other Northeast states have sold $662 million in carbon dioxide permits since 2008.

RGGI is the prototype for two other mandatory regional systems scheduled to start in 2012.  The Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord will bring cap-and-trade to Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas.  The Western Climate Initiative adds California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Mexico, Utah and Montana – plus British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.  Manitoba is a member of both cooperatives.

Together, the three regional systems will encompass 23 states with roughly half of population in the U.S. – plus four Canadian provinces with more than three-quarters of that nation’s populace.

The bottom line:  A cap-and-trade system that favors secrecy over public disclosure – and Wall Street over consumers – now has the inside track to become the de facto law of the land, even without an act of Congress.

What could possibly be the purpose of all this ‘alternative’ and ‘green’ energy manipulation? Brian Sussman at Human Events explained it well describing the motives behind cap and trade:

“Concurring green interests perceive cap-and-trade differently.  Environmentalists envision it as a progressive engineering tool that will coerce both industry and individuals to emit less CO2.  Wind and solar companies see it as an instrument to manipulate the market, which they hope will force their companies to grow.  Socialists regard it as a way to redistribute wealth by offshoring America’s manufacturing sector to the Third World.  The elite identify cap-and-trade as a means to acquire control of the population (because if they can govern the amount of energy the people use, they can better control those people).”

Even if you believe in man caused global warming (AGW) (40% of legitimate scientists do not) all of these mandates, higher rates and CO2 regulations won’t make a discernible difference in the earth’s temperature. EPA’s Own Estimates Say Greenhouse Gas Regs Could ‘Slow Construction Nationwide for Years’ — and Take a Century to Reduce Temperature 0.0015 Degrees.

As Shannon Love put it in ‘Why Alternative Power Is and Will Remain Useless’:

“Here’s a fact you won’t see mentioned in the public policy debate over “alternative” energy:

There exists no alternative energy source, no combination of alternative energy sources, and no system of combinations of alternative energy sources that can fully replace a single, coal fired electric plant built with 1930s era technology.


Yet many want to make this group of functionally useless technologies the primary energy sources for our entire civilization.”

The Obama administration certainly seems to be doing all it can to raise the costs of all types of energy. But we should not be surprised. After all, Obama warned us that under his plan electricity rates would ‘necessarily skyrocket’. The only thing ‘green’ about renewable energy is the money going down the drain. Renewable Energy Mandates are just another way to bilk the taxpayers out of trillions of dollars.

Michael Whipple, Editor usACTIONnews.com

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