Thursday, April 17, 2008

House Starts To Pass Energy Legislation

By the end of the day, we may be halfway to that RPS. The AP reports the House is moving energy bills as I type.

The bills, which may face opposition in the Senate, would require that power companies sell more green energy, limit the amount of competition facing the state's major electric utilities and set up programs helping residential and business customers save energy. Customers also would have to pay the actual cost of the electricity they use.

We probably aren't going to like that part, but no matter what we do here, rates are going to go up. We also are going to give DTE and Consumers what they want... whether that is a good idea or not, only history will tell.

Utilities would get a guaranteed customer base they say they need to secure financing for new power plants capable of running continuously. Gov. Jennifer Granholm and environmentalists like requiring that 10 percent of Michigan's electricity come from wind and other renewable sources by the end of 2015. Others support re-establishing energy-efficiency programs that disappeared in the 1990s when Michigan partially deregulated the electric market.

And one thing that the AP neglected to mention, these guys made a little promise to us if we did this...

Tonight, I'm announcing that our state's largest utilities are poised to make one of the world's largest investments in alternative energy and energy efficiency, creating upwards of 17,000 jobs in Michigan.

As soon as this Legislature acts on a comprehensive energy package, Consumers Energy and DTE will begin to jointly invest up to $6 billion in Michigan - much of it to build wind turbines and wind farms to produce electricity and to help businesses and homeowners install energy saving technologies. $6 billion. 17,000 jobs.

It's not often the Legislature gets to cast a vote that will create that many jobs. But you have that opportunity right now. For the sake of our people, I urge you to get it done.

Get it done, and then hold their feet to the fire to make sure they come through on this investment promise.

On to the Senate... reports have them clearing this by the "end of June", why so long, I don't know. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce signed off on the bills (which should probably scare us all) and that might be motivation enough to get moving a little quicker.