Saturday, June 28, 2008

Senate Passes Energy Bills With Lower RPS

More dead of the night legislation, but, hey, at least they did something. It's a start.

Unfortunately, they set one of the lowest renewable portfolio standards in the nation - nowhere near the number we need to be at to attract the investment and job providers away from other states that will have stronger demand.

Why do the Senate Republicans want to deny Michigan jobs?

Senators fell more along party lines, however, when voting 20-15 to require that a combined 7 percent of Michigan's power come from wind or be saved by more efficient light bulbs and appliances by the end of 2015. The proposal is not as robust as a House plan setting up a state energy efficiency program along with requiring 10 percent of power be green by the start of 2016.

For example, here are a a few of our neighbors standards: Illinois - 25% by 2025. Same with Ohio and Minnesota. Pennsylvania - 18.5% by 2020. New York - 25% by 2013. Wisconsin is the lowest around us - 10% by 2015. (Indiana doesn't have one. Yet.)

Reaction from Senate Dems-

Mark Schauer - "Tonight’s effort is a good start as we seek to green Michigan’s economy. But the diminished renewable energy standard isn’t aggressive enough to attract significant investment in renewable energy technology. I expect the legislation to be stronger when it hits the Governor’s desk."

Buzz Thomas - “Senate Democrats wanted to create jobs, establish energy independence and environmental safeguards, and improve the efficiency of how we use and generate our power with this policy, but it’s unfortunate my Republican colleagues weren’t compelled by the same concerns. We will continue to advocate for this comprehensive approach while negotiations continue".

Mike Prusi- "The original intent of this package when it came out of committee — and which I then supported — was not upheld tonight, and I couldn’t in good conscious support any of these pieces of the package. I hope my colleagues in the House return the backbone to these bills, and pass the sound energy policy the people of this state need.”

No details on the efficiency program - the least mentioned, but one of the most important pieces of this package. Want to stop new coal plants from being built? Go read that diary and see how efficiency can help do that.

Looks like the Senate gave DTE and Consumers what they wanted, along with deskewing business rates back onto residential consumers - but weakened the provisions that would bring Michigan jobs, help reduce our dependence on buying out-of-state power, and let's not even mention that pesky global warming thing.

History will not be kind to these people. I guess when we clear out the Senate in 2010 we can play catch up with the rest of the world then.