Detroit, Mich. — In a State of the State speech stunning in its myopia, Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm Tuesday night drew inspiration for Michigan’s economic future by harking back to 30 years of failed energy policy in Denmark.
With her state reeling from a nation-leading 10.6 percent unemployment rate and hemorrhaging population and jobs, Granholm declared the greatest threat to the state is . . . carbon fuels. Granholm devoted the bulk of her speech to an energy policy that would wall off this state from America’s cheapest energy source, coal, and instead build thousands of windmills to power its industrial infrastructure.
More disturbingly for the country, Granholm’s state policies have been a model for incoming president Barack Obama.
“President Obama’s priorities are nearly identical to ours,” intoned the governor, a member of the president’s council of economic advisors. “He, too, is focused on jobs for middle America and new, renewable energy jobs.” Like Obama, Granholm has eschewed fundamental economic reforms and instead spent heavily on road and infrastructure projects while trying to marry her green and labor constituencies under central planning schemes (her recently signed RPS standard mandates 10 percent renewables by the year 2015) to save the planet and guarantee jobs at the same time.
The governor’s plan is modeled after another peninsular water state, Denmark, which in the 1970s embarked on an experiment to rid itself of imported carbon sources, primarily coal. Today, Denmark’s energy prices are the highest in Europe at a staggering 30 cents per kilowatt-hour–well over three times the cost of Michigan’s current electric rates (about 8 cents per kWh) which are already uncompetitively high in the industrial Midwest.
Granholm’s Denmark-like “45-20 plan,” she says, will in 20 years “reduce our reliance on fossil fuels for generating electricity by 45 percent. We will do it through increased renewable energy, gains in energy efficiency and other new technologies. You heard me right: a 45 percent reduction by 2020.”
Yet nothing of the kind has happened in Denmark.
Yes, Denmark’s massive wind subsidies did attract wind companies to that country, but at unsustainable costs: In 2005, Denmark had to slash the bank-busting subsidies and the wind industry instantly dried up. Not one wind project has been built since the subsidies were removed.
But even 20 years on the state tit yielded a pittance. Despite building 6,000 windmills accounting for 20 percent of the nation’s energy capacity, alternative windpower accounts for just three percent of the country’s energy production because of its unreliability. Incredibly, most of Denmark’s wind energy is exported because it’s erratic nature has consigned it to surplus power.
The governor’s speech came as temperatures hit a bone-chilling 7 degrees outside the state capitol, with Michigan suffering through the latest in a series of below-normal winters, and 2009 snowfalls at record levels. Just miles away in Ann Arbor, noted climatologist and fellow Planet Gore contributor Patrick Michaels was giving a presentation at the University of Michigan explaining how the U.N.’s climate models have utterly failed in predicting the cooling global climate.
Yet, in a sign that global warming is truly the opiate of the elites, Michigan’s own Governor Moonbat is banking the state’s future on unaffordable windpower.
“This new energy sector represents our single best hope for new investment and new jobs,” she said. Michigan under Granholm already leads industrial states in greenhouse gas reduction as it has lost population and over 300,000 jobs, and her new initiative is likely to accelerate that process as business reacts to her plan by looking elsewhere for reliable, cheap energy.
Will the last one out of Michigan please turn out the lights?
– Henry Payne is a writer and editorial cartoonist for the Detroit News.