Michigan residents can expect to pay significantly higher energy bills in the future due in large part to state law that requires that 10 percent of electricity sales in the state come from renewable sources, such as wind.
The Institute for Energy Research recently released a report titled "Energy Regulation in the States: A Wake-up Call," that found that states with binding renewable portfolio standards have electricity rates nearly 40 percent higher than states without renewable energy mandates. The higher rates in states with a renewable energy portfolio standard may not be entirely caused by the mandates, although there is a strong cause-and-effect relationship to renewable energy mandates and higher electricity rates.
The New York Times reports that Portugal now produces nearly 45 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, up from just 17 percent five years ago. The price of electricity in Portugal has climbed 15 percent in the last five years, and households there now pay twice as much for electricity as does the average household in the United States.
Michigan already has the 17th highest electricity rate among the states. Michigan lawmakers who support renewable energy mandates would do well to remember the devastating impact that higher energy bills have on family budgets, particularly low-income households. Higher energy costs contribute to Michigan businesses being less competitive.
Renewable energy mandates come with a significant cost that Michigan businesses and residents can ill afford. Michigan lawmakers should repeal the current renewable energy mandate or at least suspend it until the unemployment rate falls to a more reasonable level - at least 6 percent. This is the kind of bold action needed to get Michigan's economy back on track.