Successes, failures for major green energy ballot initiatives

Michigan and California both had ballot initiatives aimed at promoting green energy and green jobs, with voters in Michigan voting overwhelmingly against a renewable energy constitutional amendment and a wide majority of California voters approving a proposition to fund energy efficiency projects and clean jobs.

Michigan voters overwhelmingly opposed Proposition 3 which amends the state constitution that requires 25 percent of its energy to be generated from renewable sources like wind, solar, and biomass power by 2025.

“The defeat of Proposal 3 is a win for the consumers of Michigan, who would be locked into a perpetual energy rate increase and a public policy that would destroy jobs,” Lisa Camooso Miller,  vice president for media relations at American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

ACCCE is part of The Clean Affordable Renewable Energy (CARE), a coalition against the mandate.

Had the amendment passed, Michigan would have been the first state to have a constitutionally mandated renewable energy generation levels. Most of the increased renewable generation is expected to come from wind power.

Wind power only made up 0.3 percent of the state’s total net electricity generation in 2010, according to the Energy Information Administration, with renewables only producing 3.7 percent of the state’s net electricity generation in 2010.

Fossil fuels still make up the vast majority of Michigan’s energy portfolio, with coal representing 54 percent of Michigan’s net electricity generation in 2011 and nuclear power making up 30 percent.

“Our coalition is very large, it’s very bipartisan and we’re not going to give up until we can make a positive change in Michigan energy policy, ,” said Mark Fisk, campaign spokesman for Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs — the coalition which supported the mandate that includes the Sierra Club, the American Wind Energy Association, and the Michigan Environmental Council.

“This is just the beginning of our fight to increase renewable energy in Michigan,” he said.

A report by the MEC estimates that between 2016 and 2025, the mandate would drive residential utility rates 50 cents per month on average, but by 2030, customers would save more than 80 cents per month on average. Another study supported by the MEC projected the amendment would create 74,495 jobs and require $10.3 billion in investments.