Detroit – At its conference here last week, the Midwest Governor’s Association (MGA) — chaired by green queen Jennifer Granholm of Michigan — said it wants to claim the future by transforming the Rust Belt into the Green Belt. But in calling for energy independence from other U.S. states and embracing a 30 percent renewable energy standard by 2030 (up from 2 percent today), the MGA’s prescription is a giant leap backwards.
Governor Granholm and Gov. James Doyle of Wisconsin seem to be tormented by the fact that the Midwest industrial engine imports much of its energy needs from coal states in the east and west. “Doyle has estimated that $226 billion leaves the region each year in energy costs that could be saved with alternative-energy installations and support jobs here,” reported the Detroit Free Press.
But their solution — mandating dispersed wind and solar facilities utilizing “local” natural resources — would turn back the clock half a century, leaving industrial customers without the plentiful, reliable power delivered by large-scale generation — which, thanks to economies of scale, also happens to be far cheaper. (What’s next? Will the MGA mandate that we knit our own socks, cut our own lumber, and milk our own cows?)
Dispersed, unreliable renewable resources are expensive and incompatible with 24/7 grid demands. But the governors blindly reject years of progress for “new” models: Communist China’s 15 percent RPS and the failed renewable plans of Norway and Spain.
Fortunately for the Midwest, its governors are hardly unanimous about powering 300-acre auto plant assembly lines with windmills. Prior to the Detroit gabfest, Indiana governor Mitch Daniels contradicted MGA Chairwoman Granholm by saying that the pursuit of green jobs and fuels would increase energy costs without benefiting the environment.
“(Daniels) said it’s a fantasy to believe such sources can completely replace fossil fuels such as oil and coal,” reports the AP. “He contends the proposed caps on carbon emissions pending in Congress are misguided and ‘rockheaded.’”
He might also have pointed out that his fellow governors should worry less about “importing” American coal and more about the jobs that will be exported overseas by anti-industrial green policies.