Consumers Energy Admits Renewable Energy Could Equal Higher Michigan Electric Rates
Did you Michiganders think that your electric rates were higher than others? If so you are correct. Michiganders pay some of the highest electricity rates in the Midwest.
According to Consumers Energy, you can expect your electric rates to soar even higher due to their plans to quickly move away from fossil fuels and to renewables including solar and wind. The Michigan Capitol Confidential news site (MCC) is reporting on testimony given by a Consumer employee at a state hearing.
At a state hearing Anna K. Muni, a Consumers Energy employee testified that if wind and solar were to produce more energy than predicted, it would reduce electricity costs for their customers. Does anyone really believe that they are underestimating the amount of solar or wind power they will generate?
Ms. Muni then went on to say:
“If, however, solar and wind resources are not able to dispatch at their projected capacity, due to either persistent unfavorable weather conditions, unexpected outages, or maintenance, a portfolio that contains a high percentage of these resources is at a high risk for unfavorable costs”
I guess these days the “PC” phrase for increasing electricity cost is “unfavorable costs”.
According to the MCC article:
“Michigan is one of the worst states in the nation for solar energy production. Photovoltaic panels only capture 16% of solar energy falling on them over a 12-month period. In December, that number drops to 6.8% in Michigan, and some other power source must make up the shortfall.”
Consumers Energy is rapidly getting rid of their fossil fuel plants, what is called “baseload power” plants and will then be at the mercy of out-of-state fossil fuel plants to supply Michigan with the power they need.
Customers will have to pay more. The MCC article reported on a document called the Siemens Report which contains information that they say backs up the testimony Consumers Energy provided to state regulators.
We then find out that Consumers do expect to greatly increase their electricity purchases from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). This company is one of the regional power companies that operate the U.S. power grid and also helps utility companies that are looking to buy and sell electricity from each other.
Currently, Consumers Energy purchases 18% of its energy from MISO and they expect to increase that to 63% by 2040. Michigan would then be at the mercy of the open market, an open market where there are fewer power companies producing power via fossil fuels. That means the price will be high due to the demand of other states that failed their residents and too quickly went to unreliable renewable sources.
You might consider calling on your state Representatives and Senators to protect Michigan’s power supply by slowing down the closing of our baseload plants.