Barry Rabe quoted in Detroit Free Press article on renewable energy issues in Michigan

July 1, 2012

Barry Rabe commented on the costs and benefits of changes to Michigan's renewable energy policy in a Detroit Free Press article on the debate surrounding a proposed amendment to the state constitution. The amendment would require utilities to produce 25% of electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

The state legislature has already passed bills requiring it to produce at least 10 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2015, but a group called Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs is proposing to go further by amending the Constitution. According to this group, the constitutional amendment would precipitate $10 billion of new economic activity in addition to benefiting the environment, and that utilities would cushion the cost to ratepayers themselves. Utilities companies and other opponents of the proposal argue that it would actually cost them the same $10 billion and that rates would rise. Each camp cites different numbers to support its case.

Rabe said that despite the certitude of each camp, it is hard to predict what the financial outcome of the amendment would be. "We've seen nationally somewhat of a mixed record. We live in a very volatile time of utility pricing," he told the Free Press.