Bruce Goodman from Varnum Law reports that a petition is being circulated to place an alternative energy question before Michigan voters this November. The coalition, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters seeks to add a constitutional ammendment to ensure that 25% of the state’s energy is generated by renewable sources.
On January 20th, the Michigan Board of Canvassers gave approval to circulate petitions to put the question of Michigan generating 25% of energy from renewable sources by 2025 and place it on the November ballot.
The petition drive must collect more than 300,000 valid signatures to get the question on the ballot.
Bad Axe, Michigan – Local State Rep. Kurt E. Damrow, from Port Austin Michigan introduced proposed legislation creating a unique tax for commercial wind, biomass and solar systems. This proposal is being reviewed by the Michigan House Committee on Tax Policy. House Bills 5278 and 5279 to create an Alternative Commercial Energy Systems (ACES).
The new tax introduced by Damrow would be the greater of; a yearly flat tax based on capacity, or $4 per megawatt hour generated for sale that year. The minimum tax for any commerical system would be $15,400 a year for one megawatt systems. If passed this would affect small commercial operations occuring on several farms in Michigan.
The bills are viewed as a response to replacement for the personal property on tax wind developments which reduced local tax revenue. ACES would effectively replace a portion of those lost revenues.
While lagging behind the rest of the country, Michigan is showing strong growth in commercial wind farm projects. A survey of Michigan wind energy projects showed that in 2011 there are 205 turbines producing 340 Megawatts. Estimates of additional wind projects underway look to add another 205 turbines producing 340 Megawatts over the next two years.
ThumbWind.com is finalizing a survey on this growth and will publish its findings in the next few days.
The US Army Corp of Engineers is forecasting lower water levels for Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron. High temperatures coupled with lack of snowfall in the upper Great Lakes are contributing factors to the decline. Lake Superior is expected to continue to face lower water levels from 2011 and is expected to drop another two inches over the next month. Currently lakes Michigan and Huron are 7 inches above the water levels measured in 2011.
NOAA’s National Ice Center is reporting that most of the Great Lakes region has not frozen over and open water is reported on all the lakes except for Lake St. Clair.
Overall the water level of the Great Lakes’ basin continues to approach historic lows. Low water levels in the 1930’s and again in the 1960s was weather related. Will lake levels continue to decline because of evaporation during these warmer winters?