November 19, 2009

Petition Urges Consumers Energy CEO to Go Beyond Coal

Proposed coal plant is a bad investment, job killer for Michigan

LANSING – Concerned Consumers Energy ratepayers and watchdog groups today launched a statewide petition drive calling on Consumers Energy CEO David Joos to drop the utility’s push for a new coal plant,
calling it a job killer and a bad investment for stockholders, ratepayers and Michigan’s future.

In stops across the state, the groups invited citizens to sign the petition and join the effort to invest in 21st century energy jobs by moving away from coal, an outdated energy source. Sign the petition here.

“Michigan has a tradition of hard work and looking forward, and together we can look forward to a future of clean Michigan energy that is creating Michigan jobs for Michigan workers,” Sierra Club Michigan Director Anne Woiwode said. “Coal is a bad investment, and a risk to both stockholders and ratepayers. Clean energy is quickly on its way to creating more jobs than coal ever will. That’s why we’re inviting Michigan citizens to tell Consumers CEO David Joos to end the coal rush and help us invest instead in a strong clean energy future for Michigan.”

Despite a recommendation from Michigan Public Service Commission staff that there are many good alternatives to building a new coal plant near Bay City, Consumers is continuing to pursue the project. Construction of the Bay City plant could cost ratepayers at least an estimated $2.6 billion, with billions more over its lifetime spent on dirty coal, carbon costs and environmental impacts.
“Coal is outdated technology that will increase rates for fewer Michigan jobs and more pollution,” Clean Water Action Michigan Director Cyndi Roper said. “Consumers Energy ratepayers and Michigan workers deserve better. They deserve a future that will keep electric costs down, create Michigan jobs and strengthen our energy independence.”

Clean energy investments will create up to 42,000 jobs in Michigan and as many as 1.9 million jobs nationally by 2020, according to a study by researchers at the University of Illinois, Yale University and the University of California-Berkley. In addition, these investments would increase annual household income in Michigan by $667 to $750 per year and boost GDP by $2 billion to $2.4 billion, according to the collaborative study unveiled in October.

“Michigan families are hungry for 21st century clean energy jobs,” Gussie Farris, a Consumers Energy rate payer from Grand Rapids said. “In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we urge Consumers CEO David Joos to help create the gift of clean energy jobs for Michigan families and help move our economy into the future.”

According to a September report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Michigan can meet its energy needs through a combination of wind power, biomass, and other renewable energy sources coupled with aggressive energy efficiency programs. Among the NRDC’s findings:
  • Energy efficiency programs could save Michigan $3 billion in electricity costs over the next 20 years.

  • Michigan’s previous energy plan, written in 2007, is out of date, with unrealistic projections of future electrical demand, limited implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy, and reliance on outdated 20th century coal technologies.
  • Clean renewable energy is less expensive, cleaner, faster, more economically robust, and creates more jobs in Michigan than a 20th century plan based on new but obsolete large power plants driven by fossil fuels.