Ballot Proposal 3: Renewable energy standards in Michigan Constitution

Proposal 2012-03 will amend the state constitution to establish increased renewable energy standards for the state.

In 2008, Michigan passed PA 295 which set renewable energy standards for the state to achieve by 2015.  This legislation requires that 10 percent of retail electricity sales be generated by renewable energy sources by 2015.  

Proposal 12-03 is a state constitutional amendment that will increase the standard to 25 percent renewable energy sources by 2025. The identified renewable energy sources are wind, solar, hydropower and biomass. This proposal also caps rate increases from renewable energy transition to 1 percent annually. This covers investor-owned and municipal utilities, electric cooperatives and alternative retail suppliers.

Michigan State University Extension has prepared a bulletin that provides Michigan residents with non-partisan, objective information about all of the statewide ballot proposals. Download the free bulletin, GE49 “Statewide Ballot Proposals 2012” from the MSU Extension Bookstore.

In 2010, sources of electrical power were from coal (58 percent), nuclear power (26 percent), natural gas (11 percent) and petroleum (2 percent).  Only 3 percent came from renewable sources, such as wind, solar, hydro and biomass. If passed, this proposal would increase the standard to 25 percent by 2025.

A majority of states have renewable energy standard laws. If Michigan passes this proposal, it would join 30 other states.  However, it would be the only state with the standards established in its state constitution.

The provisions of this proposal are to:

  • Require electric utilities to provide a minimum of 25 percent of their annual retail sales of electricity from renewable sources, wind, solar, hydro or biomass, by 2025
  • Cap utility rate increases to customers to 1 percent annually and only for the portion to achieve compliance with the renewable energy standards
  • Allow annual extensions of the 25 percent standard deadline to prevent any rate increases of over 1 percent
  • Require the legislature to pass laws to encourage the employment of Michigan residents and the use of Michigan-made equipment in the achievement of the standard
  • Require the facilities generating the renewable energy be located within Michigan or the retail customer service area (parts of Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio).

A “Yes” vote will amend the constitution to increase the renewable energy standards as outlined.

A “No” vote will leave PA 295 as the renewable energy standard law. It will allow the legislature to adopt or change renewable energy standards in the future.

For more information on this and the other proposals, read Michigan State University Extension’s bulletin, Statewide Ballot Proposals 2012, to learn more about the issue and supporting and opposing arguments for this and the other issues on the November ballot.

Additional information also can be obtained from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

You can also read more MSU Extension News articles on: Proposal 1, Proposal 2Proposal 4, Proposal 5 and Proposal 6.

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