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Michigan Environmental Council’s response to Consumers Energy statements on Michigan-made renewable energy

Renewables cheaper, cleaner than alternatives
May 2, 2012
May 2, 2012

Statement by Consumers Energy spokesperson Daniel Bishop:

"There's reasonable green renewable programs like this one [current 10% requirement], and then there are far-fetched, unreasonable, costly renewable energy concepts that would cause harm to the Michigan environment, and that's what [the proposed ballot initiative to require 25 percent renewable electricity by 2025] would do." (MIRS news service)

We are baffled by the statement that renewable energy would cause harm to Michigan’s environment. Last year, the Michigan Environmental Council commissioned a report that estimated that Michigan’s nine oldest coal plants cause $1.5 billion in health care costs and damages to Michigan residents. Those costs did not even include the impacts of mercury emissions and their impacts on human health and wildlife.

The statement also contradicts their own website, which states, “Environmentally friendly and naturally replenished, renewable energy is produced by resources, such as wind, biomass, landfill gas, solar, geothermal and hydroelectric plants”.

Consumers Energy also fails to explain why renewable energy is “costly”, at the same time they are requesting to raise rates by over $120 million this year to pay for upgrades to at coal plants and cover the rising cost of fossil fuel. They fail to talk about the 38% increase in the cost of coal from 2010 to 2011 for Michigan ratepayers, or the fact that coal costs have doubled in just the last seven years. Michigan now exports $1.8 billion each year just to buy coal.

In contrast, Consumers Energy this week was given approval to drop its renewable energy surcharge to 52 cents per month for residential users – a 79 percent decrease since 2008.

The 25% by 2025 proposal would continue our transition to cleaner energy and would follow the lead of 20 other states that now have renewable energy goals or standards above 20%, including Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa and Ohio. The standard would require an additional 1.5% of our electricity to come from renewable energy each year, the same pace which has been creating jobs in Michigan since 2009 under current law.

Contact: James Clift, 517-256-0553 Hugh McDiarmid Jr., 248-660-4300
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