DeVos was practicing for his 2010 Fun Run for Governor at the Michigan Energy Conference held at Ferris State University yesterday by showing us that he still doesn't have a plan or a clue. From MIRS, here is part of his speech-
What really makes me worry is the widely peddled notion that the Renewable Portfolio Standard is an economic development tool. The logic here is that just having an RPS will encourage firms that build wind turbines and other equipment related to renewable energy to locate in Michigan.
But let's remember, we know that such investment decisions are made based on economic fundamentals regarding the skill level of the labor force, the regulatory climate, the tax burden, cost of electricity, transportation infrastructure, and other factors. If an RPS is on this list, I've never heard of it, nor does it make any sense to put it on the list. In fact, it is more likely that an RPS would be listed on the CON side of the ledger than on the PRO side.
You're joking, right? Because this can't be serious.
Let's drag out that investment statistic once again, just for Dick.
In testimony last week before state Sen. Bruce Patterson's energy policy committee, Seth Dunn, general manager of strategic marketing for Atlanta-based GE Energy, said more than $9 billion was invested last year in wind-energy facilities in the United States. Of that total, 96% went to states with renewable standards.
Well, Dick, you've heard of it now.
Does DeVos think that is just a coincidence? For someone who is supposedly so in touch with "business", you would think that a $9 billion dollar figure would be on the radar - but sadly, no. Dick says it would make "no sense" to put that on the list. Ooo - kay then. Moving on.
To show you just how far Dick has his you-know-what up his you-know-where on this issue...
The people who operate power plants at Dow Chemical factories fret that a mandate on use of energy from renewable sources might require Dow itself to buy costly renewable power. And the people who buy natural gas as a factory raw material worry that the mandate might actually raise gas prices.
So an RPS mandate is bad news for Dow and might actually cause job losses, not gains. It's certainly possible, because nobody is guaranteeing anything - not one job. Let me repeat that. There is no guarantee the RPS will generate even one job - not one.
Does Dick honestly think that the nearly $9 billion invested in states with a RPS didn't create a single job? Really?
And as far as rate increases go, let's turn once again to the RPS study commissioned by the US Dept. of Energy.
With a few exceptions, the long-term rate impacts of state RPS policies are projected to be relatively modest. Only two of the 28 state RPS cost studies in our sample predict rate increases of greater than 5%, and 19 of the studies project rate increases of no greater than 1% (and six of these studies predict rate decreases). The median residential electric bill impact is +$0.38 per month. When combined with possible natural gas price reductions and corresponding gas bill savings, the overall cost impacts are even more modest, resulting in net consumer savings in at least one additional case.
Yes, the study predicts decreases in natural gas costs - they just aren't certain how much.
And as far as Dow goes, apparently Dick has forgotten that Dow partners with Hemlock Semiconductor, the world's biggest manufacturer of polycrystalline silicon, which is the main ingredient in solar panels and electronics. DeVos is trying to convince us that creating demand for Dow's product will reduce jobs for Dow. Well, it may work that way in the closet-organizing industry (and just how many jobs have you created, Mr. "Jobs Maker"?), but out here in the real world, high demand for your product usually requires people to manufacture and sell it. Could be the reason Hemlock is undergoing a $1.5 billion dollar expansion, don't ya think?
So, what does Dick propose instead? Michigan shouldn't chase the "latest trendy idea" (because those never sell, right?), we should increase "economic growth", and that's how we will increase the demand for power. What economic growth in what industry? Dick didn't say. He's still using those sweeping generalities such as "jobs" and "economic growth" without specifying exactly what in the world he means by that. From Gongwer-
Mr. DeVos said promoting economic growth - through tax cuts and revamped regulations - will inevitably lead to more energy use.
Yes, if we just give more money to Dick and let him do as he pleases, everything will be just fine. That's "growth". For Dick's wallet, anyway.
Nice to know the DeVos platform hasn't changed a bit.