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Deceptive, dishonest: Exactly what Cravenly Against Renewable Energy group* paid for

Public Sector Consultants and Ken Sikkema should know better.

Their report making the rounds today, “Proposal 3: Key questions and answers,” was commissioned by the utility-backed anti-renewable energy ballot proposal group CARE. That stands for “Cravenly Against Renewable Energy*.” (*Not their name, but close). Anyway, those folks really got their money’s worth.

The report compares the cost of existing electricity generation from our aging power plants to the cost of new generation from renewable sources. Apples and oranges.

The conclusion – no surprise – is that power from fully depreciated half-century old power plants is less expensive than modern, new generation. Then they run to the press to generate headlines like “Coal power cheaper than renewable.”

It’s dishonest, deceptive and disingenuous. And it lacks alliteration.

It’s like comparing your 200,000-mile paid-off clunker to a new vehicle – and concluding that the beater is the best deal because you’ll have car payments with the new model.

Ignore the fact that the clunker is dangerously unreliable, leaks oil, lacks acceleration, is fuel-inefficient, spews pollution and is in the shop half the time. That mirrors the kind of power plant fleet we have – 50, 60-year-old plants that are among the oldest and most polluting in the nation. Many are slated to come off line in coming years anyway, and we need to replace their generating capacity.

With what?

The proper, apples-to-apples comparison is the cost of new renewable energy systems to new traditional electricity generation. CARE and the guns for hire at Public Sector won’t talk about that, because renewable energy is already significantly less expensive than new coal – as thoroughly explained in the most recent Michigan Public Service Commission analysis.

And while the price of renewable energy in Michigan is dropping dramatically, the cost of coal delivered to Michigan has increased more than 70 percent in four years. That’s a problem, because coal supplies 60 percent of our electric power, but requires us to send $1.5 billion every year to other states to import it.

You won’t find that in the Public Sector Consultants report. Because you only get what you pay for.



  1. Thank Michigan Distilled! Cutting through the clutter to the bottom line on Proposal 3 is really useful and important!

    September 11, 2012
  2. The saying “follow the money” certainly rings true here. A quick look at the list of CARE Coalition Supporters ( shows why they might have a vested interest in a study showing that traditional energy sources are best.

    September 11, 2012
    • It all comes from the sun, directly or incrtedily and it varies with where you are. If you are in the NE USA, around the fall line, water power is feasible. If you happen to be around Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, solar panels would be ideal. That area gets the most insolation on Earth. Not a good spot for river power, though. Tidal power works well if you are along the ocean and nearer the poless than the equator, as in the Bay of Fundy. Wind power is dependable on the Great Plains and id dependent on local topography to a large extent.

      October 10, 2012

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