Thursday, October 11, 2012

From climate change scams to massive costs, Proposal 3 is bad for Michigan

The environmentalists and their supporters are pushing for passage of Proposal 3, which would amend Michigan's state Constitution to establish a standard for renewable energy. Hopefully facts will trump emotion and Proposal 3 will be soundly defeated. Why? For one, it would increase electricity rates exorbitantly through an arbitrary 25 percent mandate for politically favored energy sources. Two, it wouldn't really make energy more efficient since it would depend largely on unreliable wind turbines and solar panels for energy production. Three, it lies about the number of jobs it would create, and finally, Proposal 3 relies on the false premise of the global warming hoax to sway voters to pass it.  

Simply put, Proposal 3 would amend the Michigan constitution to require that at least 25% of each electricity provider’s annual retail electricity sales in Michigan to be derived from the generation or purchase of electricity produced from clean renewable electric energy sources (wind and solar) by 2025.  But Michigan electric utilities already are required to get 10 percent of their generation supply from renewable resources by 2015. The cost of constructing the additional renewable resources required by the new proposal is expected to exceed $12 billion. This will surely raise everyone’s utility rates. 

Megan Brown, spokesperson for the CARE for Michigan Coalition recently commented on ads promoting Proposal 3 saying, “What the proponents of Proposal 3 don’t tell voters is amazing. They don’t tell voters that their $12 Billion energy mandate will not only cost families and businesses thousands of dollars, but it will increase their sales tax costs on utility bills. No other state has placed this in a state constitution." (despite commercial ads claiming that 30 other states have passed similar measures). "They have no plan whatsoever on how this $12 billion scheme will work. Instead of running these ads...they should be providing facts and complete details on what will really happen to the people of Michigan.”

CARE points out that the ad praising Proposal 3 claims, "Studies show renewable energy will reduce the cost of your utility bills.  The Michigan Public Service Commission found renewable energy is now cheaper than new coal." 

That is simply not true. For one, renewable generation is considerably more expensive than existing traditional energy generation. In fact, according to a Public Sector Consultants report, renewable energy is at least 67% higher than conventional energy. 

The ad also claims, "Proposal 3 protects consumers by prohibiting utility companies from raising rates more than one percent." Again, that's not true. Analysis from the Citizens Research Council found that Proposal 3 “will not keep increases in total electric utility bills to one percent per year.” Guess who'll be paying for these cost increases? Us - including the poor and the elderly. 

The fact that Proposal 3 relies mostly on renewable energy sources like wind turbines and solar panels should be especially worrisome to Michigan consumers since these sources rely on two key things: wind and sunshine. 

If we needed to rely on wind turbines to power things like air conditioners, the time when we would need wind the most - such as in the steamy, hot days of August -- is the same time that Michigan has the lowest wind averages of the year. Charts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show Detroit's overall average wind speed as of Oct. 10, 2012 to be about 11.7 mph. For large and small wind turbines, this average wind speed would generate such a small amount of power on average, that wind turbines would be virtually useless.  

Other concerns about wind turbines involve the high maintenance requirements to keep them from over-spinning during high winds and stormy weather.  As pointed out by a retired Ford and Visteon climate control engineer with 41 years' experience, "If these turbines are not maintained, the blades can fly apart with the potential of injury and even death to someone nearby...and also kill birds flying through the spinning blades." To see a short video of turbine failure, click here.  

From merely a common sense perspective, picture what thousands and thousands of wind turbines would do to the visual landscape of Michigan. It would be ugly indeed. And this would be just for DTE alone. Add to that the additional thousands of turbines for Consumers Power, and you would be seeing ugly turbines just about everywhere you look - and you'd here them everywhere, too. Also, considering we're in a big bird migration zone, think of the bird carnage. As the Ford/Visteon engineer put it, "We'll become the Cuisnart of the Great Lakes."

As for solar panels, data from the U.S. Solar Radiation Resource Maps show that, "a south facing panel inclined at 42.4 degrees generates about four to five kilowatt hours of energy per square meter (about 1.2 square yards) per day.  Solar panels are only about 19% efficient so this equates to around 0.76 to 0.95 kilowatts per square meter of solar panel produced power in a day.  Simple panels installed flat against a roof would not meet the angle and orientation for most houses so the efficiency would be considerably less than 19%." And the underlying fact is these panels need sunshine to function. Anyone living in Michigan knows we don't always have sunny days - and if they're covered in snow, they generate no power at all.  

Other misleading information from the Proposal 3 ad is where it says 94,000 jobs will be created in Michigan if the ballot initiative passes. First of all, most of the jobs would be temporary - lasting only as long as it takes to construct wind turbines and solar panels. Second, since there are only about 85,000 "green" jobs in all the of United States combined, where on earth do Proposal 3 proponents assume 94,000 jobs will be created in Michigan alone? 

It is another untruth - just like the climate change scam that Proposal 3 relies on to scare people into thinking we need this suffocating noose around our Constitution.  Not only is there a stunning lack of scientific evidence to show that things like global warming even exist -- especially as a result of human actions -- scientists at the Climate Research Unit in England even admitted that they were deliberately suppressing evidence that proved global warming is a myth. Climate fluctuations have been happening as a normal cycle since we started measuring data on the topic, but alarmists want us to believe that disaster looms. As recently as the 1970s, they warned us about a coming Ice Age, and now they claim we're going to melt right off the planet from escalating heat. 

For an alternative take on climate issues, read the synopsis by Burt Rutan, an engineer and test pilot who designed the first airplane to fly completely around the world without refueling. The Nature Climate Change journal also published a scientific study on climate change that shows no meaningful changes other than normal patterns - except for the fact that temperatures were warmer during Roman Times. The main takeaway is that climate alarmists are just that - fear-mongering alarmists who use a lot of bogus information to fuel fears and to justify measures that will increase our taxes, regulations and dependence on government, while reducing our freedoms by controlling the way we live. But Proposal 3 proponents prey on fear to convince voters to change our Constitution for something that will only benefit the special interest groups supporting it, and which does nothing to help our environment or the humans who inhabit it.  

Our Constitution is not the place for passing independent laws for special interest groups by granting them controlled power. We have a legislature whose job it is to enact energy and other policies for the people of Michigan. Mandating over 12 years ahead of time to spend billions on unreliable energy sources, regardless of need, economic conditions, or even usefulness, just doesn’t make sense. Get the facts - and then vote “no” on Proposal 3. 

What do you think?  Click on the comments link in the bar below to share your thoughts. No registration necessary.


  1. Proposal 3 is terrible, though Burt Rutan should stick to engineering rather than climate science. "Here, I'm unbiased, but did you see what the Heritage Foundation said?!" He ought to lock himself in a room with nothing but CO2. Let's see how well he does - after all, it's essential for life! Seriously, he has no idea how to separate correlation from causation, and he doesn't reference most of his data or slides, so I can't check his claims.

    Anyway, rant over.

    Still, no on prop 3. Other than the lackluster endorsement of a wannabe climatologist, great post!

  2. Karen - st. heightsOctober 12, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    Not to argue with you on the details, Rachel, but Burt said right at the beginning he wasn't a climatologist - he was only taking other claims on climate change and revealing them for being untrue. We should all undertake such things, I'd think. Plus, of course a room full of Co2 would kill someone, but that doesn't take away the fact that it is still necessary for life - just like food is, which could also kill you if you gorged yourself to death:-) Also studies keep showing how co2 doesnt increase temperatures - in fact it's higher temps that increase co2. But the EPA and all of them keep making it the bogey man of our times and all that comes out of all that hype is more regulations and higher taxes. But am glad to see you see through prop 3 as being bad news! hopefully everyone will!

  3. I am all for clean air and energy but when the wind turbine technology is only able to contribute something like 1-2% of our overall energy requirements and often requires government subsidies (tax payer money) then it does not make sense. If this type of energy was able to significantly support our energy needs and was economically viable then the energy companies would be putting their own money and resources towards its development. Aside from all the well founded concerns regarding this proposal I would like to add that the visual damage these wind turbines do to the landscape is quite eye opening to say the least. I have seen wind turbines firsthand around the rural farming community of Bad Axe, MI and the surrounding areas of the thumb. They are hideous monstrosities that can be seen from miles away and are also quite noisy when you live around them. What is so environmentally friendly about that?

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