Groups oppose ballot initiative they say would complicate clean energy siting

LANSING–A coalition of nonprofit green energy advocacy groups has voiced opposition to a proposed ballot initiative that they say would turn back the clock on Michigan’s clean energy projects and thwart the state’s ability to achieve 100% clean energy by 2040.

Energy legislation passed by Democrats in the State Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer makes it easier for farmers and communities to reap the benefits of clean energy projects, the groups said in opposing the Citizens for Local Choice initiative.

“Helping Michigan farmers secure a steady source of second income by leasing their less productive land is what the clean energy law will do,” said John Freeman, executive director of the Madison Heights-based Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association. “Moving to clean, renewable energy helps diversify our energy grid to improve reliability. We urge voters not to sign this ballot petition as it will take our state backwards.”

According to the recently released 2023 Utility Performance Report from the Citizens Utility Board of Michigan, Michigan continues to rank the worst in the Midwest when it comes to residential customers paying the highest rates for the least reliable electric utility service. Measuring the cost of different forms of energy, an analysis found that renewable energy sources, like wind and solar, are cheaper than coal and natural gas, even without subsidies.

“A single acre of solar power can electrify 80 homes, and in 90 minutes, an average wind turbine can power a home for a month,” said Laura Sherman, president of the Lansing-based Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council. “The clean energy law streamlines the process and cuts red tape to help these clean renewable energy projects generate tax revenue for local communities, while maintaining input from the residents and elected officials of those communities. Michigan voters need to know this ballot initiative is misleading and not to sign the petition.”

Michigan communities with clean energy projects have already been reaping the benefits, including local schools.

Under the clean energy law, Michigan will achieve a 100% clean energy standard by 2040, including increasing access to rooftop solar 10-fold and giving Michigan the most robust energy efficiency standards in the country, while helping to address energy affordability, as well as health and safety for many low-income households.

The following groups also expressed opposition to the ballot initiative: Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America-Michigan Chapter, Evergreen Action; Michigan Environmental Council; Sierra Club, Michigan Clinicians for Climate Action, Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association, Vote Solar, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities.

 

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