Wind Energy Group Opposes Michigan Energy Legislation

May 9, 2008
| By Pete Daly |
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The American Wind Energy Association and seven of its members, including a world-wide developer of commercial wind farms that is leasing wind rights in northern Kent and Ottawa counties, have told Michigan government leaders that the energy legislation before the Michigan Senate will "jeopardize at least $2 billion of new investment in wind energy projects under development in the state."

Letters sent last week to Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Senate Energy and Technology Committee Chairman Bruce Patterson, R-Canton Township, said Granholm should veto the legislation if it reaches her desk in its current form.

The legislation is part of a package strongly supported by the state's two major utilities: DTE Energy and Consumers Energy. The package also includes legislation that would largely gut the 2000 law enabling Michigan consumers to choose the source of their electricity.

According to the statement released May 6 by AWEA, the bills recently passed by the Michigan House (House Bills 5548 and 5549) require less than one-half of 1 percent of additional renewable energy by 2014, "while containing toothless enforcement provisions as well as other provisions that potentially undermine cost-effective procurement. The House legislation purports to create a renewable (energy) market but actually does not do so."

In the letters, AWEA member companies sought support for annual renewable energy requirements of 5 percent by 2010, then ramping up by 1 percent per year to 10 percent by 2015, and said such legislation would create a “nationally significant” market.

“The House legislation, as a package, cannot accurately be described as a renewable energy standard, and the public should not expect economic benefits to result from the package. To avoid unwarranted market and public confusion created by opaque legislation, our industry asks for your assurance of a veto should such legislation reach your desk,” the letter to Granholm stated. It was signed by Hans Detweiler of the AWEA office in Chicago, and endorsed by six companies including Iberdrola Renewables of Spain and Mackinaw Power of Lowell.

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