That’s the statement made to the Huron Daily Tribune from Scott Simons, of DTE Energy Media Relations. DTE Energy has filed more than 60 appeals for wind turbines in the Michigan Thumb Wind parks in Huron Gratiot and Sanilac counties. Exelon Wind has filed 74 tax appeals.
These actions seem to have caught county commissioners and local tax assessors flat footed and into a state of “shock and awe” as the large businesses and utility companies aggressively pursue tax relief. “The fact that all these developers went to the tax tribunal to fight the taxes that assessors put on them indicates that they reneged on their promises,” Huron County Commissioner Ron Wruble told the Huron Daily Tribune. “..and those are promises they made to the people of Huron County.”
Michigan Thumb counties could lose out on $100’s of thousands in tax revenue. It reflects yet another example of buyer’s remorse as Huron County is turned into a Green Energy Industrial Zone. In July 2018 DTE Energy placed appeals with the Michigan Tax Tribunal regarding the taxable value of the Monroe and Fermi nuclear power plants.
DTE Energy to Invest More in Wind Energy
DTE Energy announced plans for two additional wind parks that will be built in Michigan that will provide a combined 375 megawatts and begin operation in 2021 and 2022.
Michigan High in Wind Energy Potential
Over the past ten years DTE Energy has been developing wind parks in Michigan and claims to have invested more than $2 billion in renewable energy. It notes that Michigan ranks among the top 15 states nationwide in potential for wind energy generation.
In recent article in Crain’s Detroit Business, Brianna Murphy vice president at Trillium Asset Management called on Michigan lawmakers to increase its renewable energy targets as a way to keep and attract businesses to Michigan. Currently Michigan has a 10 percent renewable energy law target which utilities have already exceeded. This threshold will remain unless lawmakers act to increase it.
Sustainable practices are becoming more the norm as manufacturing and other businesses are demanding access to renewable energy. General Mills has publically announced a sustainable energy policy. Their goal was to reduce consumption and utilize renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass to helping the company minimize its environmental footprint. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has embraced a comprehensive sustainability governance model that assures the principles of sustainability are an integral part of their development process.
Murphy noted that Michigan’s current standards for renewable energy and energy efficiency do not just lead to a greener electricity grid, they also create jobs and lower everyone’s energy costs. A report from the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council and Clean Energy Trust finds that the clean energy sector supports over 87,000 jobs. Standards have also proven cost-effective for ratepayers. According to the Public Service Commission, ratepayers save more than $4 for every $1 of investment in energy efficiency.
She also noted that a group of major companies — including General Mills, Nestle, JLL, and Schneider Electric — have written a letter urging the Legislature to strengthen the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency goals.
Clearly its makes both practical and economic sense for Michigan to embrace sustainable practices by taking the same steps that environmentally progressive companies are already doing. States have been active in adopting or increasing renewable portfolio standards, and 29 states now have them. Michigan should take the leadership role in renewable energy by increasing its renewable threshold to attract new business in Michigan.
Great Lakes States Renewable Energy Targets (source ncsl.org)