Friday, December 14, 2007

Mackinac Center. Wrong again. This time it's alternative energy.

I know, I know, the Mac Center being wrong is not really news, but in the hopes that the press will stop citing them one of these days, we need to point out when they are being stupid, especially when that stupidity threatens to hurt our state in such a monumental way.

Today's colossal error concerns global warming and alternative energy policy. The Michigan version of the Flat Earth Society wants us to believe that all these studies on global warming and climate change are wrong! every single one!, and, setting policy that would bring thousands of jobs and billions in investment to Michigan is a bad idea if they might have to pull a few bucks out of their pocket right now. Better to destroy the planet and pass up economic growth at the same time, I guess.

"The climate change forecasts are extremely ambiguous at best and basing expensive energy mandates on them is highly speculative and bad public policy," said Jack McHugh, senior legislative analyst with conservative Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland.

"For a state that's in the fifth year of a recession, imposing higher energy costs is not good public policy. What the bills are really about are current legislators pretending to do something that probably won't happen and, if it does, will impose higher energy costs on Michigan residents and businesses, making the state less competitive."

I'm sure if I dig far enough into their web site, they will tell me that the moon landings were fake, too. Seriously, why does anyone listen to these people anymore?

Not going to get into the global warming studies here. Just too much evidence that this is happening, and if the Mackinac Center wants to ignore that- well, not much we can do. But, I do want to address the economic portion of their statement because it goes against the grain of everything I have read recently. They are flat-out wrong about this, and, if any legislators are persuaded by their argument, it will prove once again that some lawmakers certainly don't have the best interests of our state in mind.

Every. single. time. I turn on this computer lately I am met with study after study that tells me that if we don't impose a renewable portfolio standard, we will be less competitive. Already did a diary here showing the thousands of jobs that will be created. I even had to turn to George Bush to make a point. Do you know how painful that was? C’mon.

Apparently that isn't enough, so I'll keep going. Today, two more studies to put on the record. The Land Policy Institute at MSU tells us that wind energy alone will bring us thousands of new jobs and billions in investment. And those radicals in Grand Rapids are going to release a study next week that shows that the alternative energy industry would bring almost 5000 jobs and $1.2 billion in investment to the West Michigan area within the next few years.

Now that this issue is getting notice in the press, the editorials are starting to roll in. Just today, a couple more- seems those wacky liberals on the editorial boards in Midland and Traverse City agree that a RPS is a good idea.

First up, Midland.

While most of these technologies are now being developed, the time is now for Michigan to position itself to take the lead in the areas that it can. To that end, Granholm would like to see the renewable fuels portfolio standard -- a blueprint for the state's use of alternative energy -- passed and signed into law immediately.

We agree with her. Already, 25 states have the standard. If Michigan is to be among alternative energy leaders in the nation, this is an urgent first step.

She also said incentives for companies and consumers to develop alternative, energy producing or saving ideas must be in place so that they know what to expect.

This experimentation in the short run will cost companies and taxpayers, but in the long run will lead to new, exciting industries and technologies. This is the way to go, particularly in an economy that is as sluggish as Michigan's.

And Traverse City-

A simple but effective first step would be for lawmakers to adopt legislation that would require electric utilities to obtain 10 percent of the power they sell from renewable sources, like solar or wind power or biomass energy generation.

To the skeptics out there -- you're right. You've heard all this before. But unlike even five years ago, the technology behind both wind and solar power have improved to the point where now thousands of jobs are being created every year to build the equipment to generate that power.

State Rep. Howard Walker, R-Traverse City, has proposed that utilities obtain 7 percent of the power they sell from renewable sources; other bills call for 10 percent.

Whichever it is, it is a start. And we must start somewhere.

I'll even throw in the Freep for good measure here-

There can't be any argument against launching a strong efficiency program. That bill should move ahead separately and as quickly as possible. On renewables, Accavitti hopes to guarantee a minimum of 10% in alternative sources by 2015. The details may take more negotiating, but the goal is surely achievable.

Quick success in these two areas should encourage lawmakers to continue on to the complexities of utility oversight. Michigan cannot afford to have its energy future left in limbo for another year.

All of this follows other editorials that came earlier as the governor held these meetings around the state- you can read more here.

So, what have we learned today? If you want a clean and prosperous Michigan, don’t listen to the Mackinac Center. Their greed certainly outweighs common sense and conventional wisdom, and they will steer us down the wrong path time and time again.