Jack Spencer — Michigan Capitol Confidential — November 16, 2013
Court battles over the Colorado and Minnesota renewable energy mandates could potentially mark the beginning of the end for similar laws in other states, including Michigan.In June, Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Court wrote that Michigan’s in-state renewable energy mandateviolates the Commerce Clause and is therefore unconstitutional. Judge Posner’s statement did not have the weight of law because the issue wasn’t directly before him. Nonetheless, many received it as a wake-up call and possible harbinger of things to come.In 2008, the Michigan Legislature passed a law mandating that 10 percent of the state’s energy be produced by in-state renewable energy sources by 2015. This law was supposedly enacted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, aspects of it appear inconsistent with that goal.The law did not include monitoring requirements to test what effects, if any, the mandate actually has on emissions. Also, although there are several so-called renewable energy sources with wind energy the predominate source used to meet the mandate in Michigan. This has been so in spite of the fact that the federal government says Michigan is not well-suited for wind energy production.If courts find that in-state renewable energy mandates violate the Commerce Clause, many think it would virtually kill wind energy in Michigan. Such a ruling would force Michigan’s wind energy industry to compete on an open market. Wind energy cannot be produced efficiently in Michigan. As a result, without an in-state mandate, Michigan produced wind energy would simply lose out to cheaper energy produced from other sources or even by wind energy from some other states. Read full article here…..