Sunday, March 9, 2008

Utilities (again)

The legislative battle over Michigan's energy future is even more convoluted than I described previously.

Two things are going on: an attempt to add a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to promote renewable energy in Michigan, and an attempt by big energy (Consumers and DTE) to re-establish the old regulatory regime - effectively guaranteeing their profits and giving them the ability to control whatever happens on the renewable front. The two bills have been tie-barred, which means neither one can be enacted without the other.

Even the GR Press recognizes the folly of this. The state needs an RPS to catch up to the rest of the country on renewables and maybe even create some manufacturing jobs for turbine parts and such. This should have happened five years ago but until the magic "jobs" word got attached to it, the Granholm Administration didn't show much interest.

What we don't need is another gift to Big Energy in exchange for the RPS. Consumers and DTE have done everything they can to block renewable energy in Michigan and the last thing we want to do is put them in the driver's seat.

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