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E-M:/ Consumers Energy's 'Balanced Energy Initiative' Bad Deal for Michiganders' Pocketbooks, Environment



Consumers Energy’s ‘Balanced Energy Initiative’ Bad Deal for Michiganders’ Pocketbooks, Environment

 

Statement of Mike Shriberg, Ph.D., Director of Environment Michigan: 734-662-9797

 

For Immediate Release: 5/2/07

 

Under the guise of “balance”, Consumers Energy is proposing a customer-funded mandate to build at least one dirty new coal plant and return our electricity system to a monopoly.  If Consumers is granted its wish, electricity rates will rise to pay Consumers approximately 2 billion dollars to subsidize a dirty coal plant that will further increase Michigan’s reliance on imported fossil fuels and increase global warming and air pollution.  This 19th Century solution to Michigan’s 21st Century energy needs is a bad deal for Michigan’s economy and environment.  Our elected officials should instead chart a course toward clean, homegrown electricity production.

 

Energy efficiency costs less than half than building a new coal plant.  Yet, Consumer’s uses a worst-case scenario that goes against Michigan’s experience and deemphasizes efficiency’s significance in its “balanced” plan.  In reality, efficiency is our cleanest resource, and it creates stable, in-state jobs.  Investments in efficiency yield four times the return for ratepayers.  Efficiency needs to be a first priority resource, not an afterthought.

 

Renewable energy sources – such as biomass and wind – are also underutilized by Consumers Energy and other utilities.  Consumers proposes a 10% Renewable Energy Standard.  However, renewables are cost effective when compared to new coal and would produce far more jobs, reduce air and global warming pollution, and keep more money in Michigan’s ailing economy.  The pending Renewable Energy Standard of 20% by 2020 (HB4539 & SB385) would jumpstart renewable energy development in the state, and should be supported by Consumers Energy and passed by the Legislature.

 

Taken together, these investments in clean energy would yield over 6,000 jobs and save ratepayers over $2 billion on their energy bills by 2020.  Therefore, Consumers should not be allowed to invest ratepayer’s money into new coal before maximizing investments in clean energy.  Instead of giving Consumers a monopoly in return for building coal plants on the backs of captured customers, our Public Service Commission and elected officials need to make full commitments to clean energy.  This would be better for our rates, health and environment.

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Environment Michigan is  a statewide, citizen-based, non-profit, non-partisan environmental organization.  www.environmentmichigan.org

 

 

Abby Rubley

Field Organizer

Environment Michigan

 

103 E. Liberty St.   Ste. 202

Ann Arbor, MI  48104

(734) 662-9797 office

(517) 420-6777 cell

(734) 662-8393 fax

arubley@environmentmichigan.org