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The new proposed power plants are very bothersome to me.  I am glad you shared the below with us.  Who else really needs to hear this at the state level?  Who are the influencers that we can reach?


Debra Rowe, Ph.D.


U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development



Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability



Higher Education Associations Sustainability  Consortium


Senior Advisor

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education


Senior Fellow

Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future



Sustainable Energies and Behavioral Sciences




-----Original Message-----
From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net [mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net] On Behalf Of FRANKZAS@aol.com
Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2008 10:42 PM
To: anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org; enviro-mich@great-lakes.net


Congratulations to Kansas Gov. Sebelius for standing up for her convictions.


Governor Granholm has made many commitments for Michigan to cut CO2. Now is the time for her to also show she really means it by calling for a moratorium on proposed coal plants. Fortunately, there are plenty of reasons to support at least a one year moratorium:


Structural Downturn in Michigan’s Economy

·         Michigan's economy is still going through a permanent structural as well as a cyclical downturn. Manufacturing jobs accounted for 50% of Michigan economy and now accounts for less than 20%. And, Dr. Charles Ballard stated in April, “The long term structural adjustment in (Michigan) manufacturing is not over.” This continued decline was not assumed in the 21st Century Energy Plan (21CEP) forecast.


Michigan Electric Sales Forecast is Declining

·         The 21CEP electric and capacity needs forecast was completed in summer 2006 and is now out of date. http://www.dleg.state.mi.us/mpsc/electric/capacity/energyplan/index.htm

·         The 21CEP forecasted electric sales to grow 1.2% per year. However, Michigan’s electric sales growth rate is now close to 0%. The Michigan Public Service Commission (author on the 21CEP) is said to be using a “flat” 10 year electric sales forecast themselves and will update the public sales and capacity needs forecast later this year.

·         In a late 2007 rate case, DTE said their electric demand will actually decline 2%, 2006 thru 2012. And conditions have gotten worse since.   http://efile.mpsc.cis.state.mi.us/efile/docs/15417/0001.pdf

·         David Littmann, Senior Economist for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy says in a DBUSINESS Magazine, November 2007, article: “Michigan has no energy supply problem for the next 10 years.  Why? Because Michigan has been mired in a one-state recession for the last three years, with no relief in sight.  Consequently, forecasts for energy growth have twice been downsized: first from 1.7 percent to 1.2 percent per year (2006, MPSC) and most recently to 0 percent (2007, Edison). In fact, considering the many plant closings and losses of employment and population, a realistic assessment would anticipate up to five years of declining energy demand in Michigan.”

·         There is a 21CEP model scenario which approximates this 0% electric sales growth and it indicates that no new coal plant is needed in Michigan until 2021. Please see page 61, “Low Load Growth” in http://www.cis.state.mi.us/mpsc/electric/capacity/energyplan/newenergy_oct11_2006rev.pdf  Plant retirements are fully accounted for in the 21CEP.

·         Likely Michigan legislation is calling for far more renewable energy and energy efficiency than assumed in the 21CEP.


Carbon Legislation, Construction and Coal Costs

·         There is strong potential for a carbon tax or cap-and-trade no matter who wins the presidency. Carbon and pollution reduction costs will greatly add to the construction and operating costs of coal plants.

·         A recent study (Lazard, March 2008) indicated that wind generation is now less expensive than new coal. Michigan has the highest wind potential east of the Mississippi River.

·         The cost of coal from the Powder River Basin (used in Michigan) has jumped from less than $10 a ton to almost $15 a ton in the last year. Plus, it must travel 1,400 miles by diesel engine which adds significantly to its final cost.    


Great Energy Efficiency Opportunity in Michigan

·         Michigan is way behind in energy efficiency. It is ranked only 33rd in energy efficiency policy according to an ACEEE study. http://www.aceee.org/press/e075pr.htm 

·         Pending Michigan efficiency legislation, federal and corporate actions will accelerate the efficiency catch-up in Michigan. And a recent study indicates energy efficiency can off-set the need for a new coal plant for only one-third the cost, and with no pollution.

·         Surprisingly, Dow Chemical is strongly supporting energy efficiency action in Michigan (legislation) and world-wide. A recent United Nations report, funded by Dow, forecasts significant energy efficiency improvements by 2020 for new buildings (34%), equipment and appliances (25-30%) and industry (25%).  http://www.ase.org/content/news/detail/4105  A McKinsey study supports this.

·         From the 21CEP Appendix I, P18 Consumers Energy and DTE now estimate higher current levels for air conditioning market saturation than previously thought. The higher current market saturation for air-conditioning leaves little room for future increases, resulting in lower electric demand growth. (Add to this the fact that there are few Michigan housing starts.)


Public Relations Embarrassment

The Governor is giving admirable support for renewable energy, green jobs and cutting CO2, perhaps her legacy. Wouldn’t it be ironic if up to seven new coal plants were approved during her remaining tenure?  There are more coal plant proposed in Michigan than in any other state in the country. Even the MCAC (which is populated with utility and corporate people) is indicating the strong need for renewable and energy efficiency to cut GHG emissions. New coal plants did not make their top 10 needs list. Around the country, governors and state and federal legislators are signing coal plant moratoriums.


Michigan is experiencing a major “coal rush” by utilities wanting to have their plans approved before the above actions take hold. If approved, these unneeded coal plants will greatly add to our monthly utility bills, pollution and CO2 emissions for decades to come, further putting an unnecessary “tax” and disadvantage on Michigan residents compared to what could have been.


Take care,   frank

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