Michigan Energy wants to amend state constitution to require 25% electricity from renewable sources by 2025, up from the current 10% by 2015 under current law

LANSING, Michigan , January 12, 2012 () – A group wants Michigan voters to amend the state's constitution to require more electricity come from renewable sources by 2025.

Proposed ballot language filed Wednesday for the Nov. 6 election would require the state's utilities to reach 25 percent from renewable sources, up from the 10 percent required by 2015 under current law, the Detroit Free Press reported (http://on.freep.com/ziM6g8).

According to a state report, less than 4 percent of Michigan's electricity came from renewable sources in 2009.

The group Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs, which includes public health, labor and farming groups, hopes to raise more than $1 million and collect about 500,000 signatures to get the measure before voters.

Approving the measure "will create thousands of new jobs for Michigan workers" and "spark over $10 billion in new investment," while protecting the state's air, water and land, said spokesman Mark Fisk.

The initiative calls for incentives to promote the hiring of Michigan workers, the newspaper reported, and also proposes to cap utility rate increases related to meeting the target at 1 percent per year.

Representatives of the state's major utilities expressed concern about the possible 25 percent target.

Jeff Holyfield, a spokesman for CMS Energy Corp.'s Consumers Energy unit, said it is premature to set a new target before Michigan reaches the current goal of 10 percent renewable energy by 2015.

The rate cap "doesn't sound very realistic" because utilities would be "caught between competing requirements," he said.

About 5 percent of the electricity Consumers Energy sells comes from renewable sources, and that's expected to increase to about 8 percent later this year because of additional power from wind, Holyfield said.

John Austerberry, a spokesman for DTE Energy Co., said the current law is "a balanced approach for meeting Michigan's energy needs and contributing to economic growth and environmental quality."

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