You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

Ann Arbor's Arbor Brewing Company owners join environmental groups to promote renewable energy ballot issue

By Amy Biolchini

Editor's note: This story was edited to correct factual errors.


Volunteers sift through fliers after a press conference held by environmental groups Monday morning to endorse state ballot proposal 3 at Arbor Brewing Company in downtown Ann Arbor.

Courtney Sacco I

Representatives of environmental groups met in Ann Arbor Monday morning to endorse the statewide ballot issue to implement a 25 percent renewable energy standard by 2025 in Michigan.

Joining them as hosts at Arbor Brewing Company at 114 East Washington St., and as backers were the business’ owners Rene Greff and Matt Greff.

Voters across Michigan will see Proposal 3 on their ballots, and will be able to choose if they want a mandate that 25 percent of the electricity produced in the state would come from wind, solar, biomass and hydropower sources by 2025.

The majority of that goal likely would be accomplished through the expansion of wind farms, said Lisa Wozniak, executive director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, at the event Monday.

Rene Greff called endorsing Proposal 3 a “no-brainer” for Arbor Brewing Company.

“We believe this is truly a non-partisan initiative,” Rene Greff said.

Matt Greff said he believes Proposal 3 would keep a check on utility companies, and ties in to the investments he’s put in at his businesses.


Mark Garfield Director of Ecology Center was one of four speaks during a press conference Monday morning at Arbor Brewing Company in downtown Ann Arbor. Garfield was one of several who came out to gather support for state ballot proposal 3.

Courtney Sacco I

The couple also owns the Corner Brewery at 720 Norris St., in Ypsilanti. Both brew pubs recently installed solar panels on their roofs.

Though the system has not been running long enough to collect data, the system is expected to offset gas usage by 40 to 50 percent and electricity usage by 15 to 20 percent.

“Even with the solar panels, we still pull electricity from the grid,” Rene Greff said. “We are convinced this will sustainably reduce rates over time.”

Proposal 3 would increase the current renewable energy goal in Michigan, which is 10 percent by 2015.

About 3.9 percent of the energy produced in Michigan comes from renewable sources, said Sarah Mullkoff, Midwest Energy and Climate Policy Coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation.

There is a clause in the ballot proposal, introduced by Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs, that caps the amount a utility can increase its rates from renewable energy expansion at 1 percent per year.

A study conducted by Michigan State University predicts the passage of the proposal would lead to the creation of $10.3 billion in new investment in renewable energy, and would generate 74,495 “job years,” with 31,513 of them coming in construction jobs and 42,982 coming in operation and maintenance jobs.

A “job year” is the employment of one worker for 12 months.


Lisa Wozniak with the Michigan League Of Conservation Voters speaks during a press conference Monday morning at Arbor Brewing Company in downtown Ann Arbor. Wozniak was one of several who came out to gather support for state ballot proposal 3.

Courtney Sacco I

Several speakers at the Monday event cited efforts put forth by Illinois to implement a 25 by 2025 renewable energy standard. Illinois has reportedly reduced electricity prices by $176 million due to the effort.

In Michigan, utility companies are putting forward million-dollar advertising campaigns against Proposal 3.

“They are going to do and say anything to oppose Proposal 3. They want Michigan to stay addicted to coal,” said Mike Garfield, executive director of the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center

Staff and volunteers from Environment Michigan are asking business owners around Ann Arbor this week to display signs in their windows supporting the passage of Proposal 3 in the November election.

Monday night, they will be co-hosting a phone bank 6 p.m. at the Ecology Center at 339 East Liberty St. in Ann Arbor to call voters on the issue.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.


Betty Carnes

Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

This is the only time consumers like ourselves have any way to control rising utility costs we pay monthly! Remember utility companies are in the market to make money for their share holders/stock holders and CEO's! Rising cost for the consumers is the last thing they are concerned with!


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 12:27 a.m.

Betty Carnes - Read the ballot proposal language have been mislead. I am sorry you have been mislead. The ballot proposal only limits the increase based on the installation of renewables. It does not cover increases for inflation, new electric lines, other generation, increases in cost of buying electricity that is not renewable, or other reasons. Your electric bill could easily go up by 5 or 10 percent a year for other reasons. Nothing in this proposal limits the total cost of electricity.

Richard Carter

Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 1:18 p.m.

Perhaps the best solution would be to NOT subsidize this.. but also don't subsidize the oil or coal industries either. THEN the market could really decide.


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

Do the oil and/or coal industries actually get much at all in the way of subsidies, or do they simply utilize the same types of tax deductions for investments, depreciation, etc. common to every other industry? And in looking at subsidies, consider them in terms of the subsidy per MWh of power generated...Per an EIA report from 2008 (before Obama's massive additional subsidies for wind and solar kicked in): Solar: $24.34/MWh Wind: $23.37/MWh Nuclear: $1.59/MWh Coal: $0.44/MWh Natural gas: $0.25/MWh


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

It still wouldn't be the best solution because oil/coal have massive externalities that you'd have to penalize.


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

Mr Carter - On the Federal Government's Energy Information Agency Website ( there is a table that gives subsidies. I would suggest you go take a look at it and tell me what gets the highest subsidy today.


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 12:50 p.m.

Countries all over the world are surpassing us on this front. This is like if they were all moving toward using cars to get around, and Conservatives were mad because they wanted to keep using the horse and buggy. If we don't do something this is going to come back to bite us. Gas prices are NOT going down. They are only going to be going up. The rest of the world is using oil now too. Supply and Demand, Conservatives. Cmon, you can figure this out. China, Germany, India, Switzerland, Iceland, the list goes on. While we are fighting for scraps the rest of the world is surpassing us. Instead of being a world leader in technology like we have been, China, Japan, Korea, these countries are now the world leaders. Conservatives are dragging this country down. It is time to start calling them out on it!


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 7:54 p.m.

I agree that to some extent life-cycle costs need to be considered and not just today's $/kWh costs. It becomes a question of degree as to how much we want self-proclaimed gurus in government to pick winners and losers, thereby overriding market forces as well as directing our attention and resources toward specific technologies and away from other potentially better options. For example, in the case of the heavily subsidized solar system at Corner Brewery, is it reasonable for government to provide the owners with a 4-5 year payback when the actual payback exceeds 50 years? And was any new technology a result of this government largesse?


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 2:32 p.m.

" Trying to fix the problem in the future caused by going for the cheapest energy in the long run will be extraordinarily expensive." Sorry, this isn't a very clear sentence. I meant to say that if we go for whatever is cheapest now, we will be costing ourselves much more in the long run, which is why the economical aspect of the question isn't cut-and-dried.


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

@Z-man Unfortunately, it's easy to be shortsighted on this topic and not count all of the costs involved with particular energy sources. Comparing $$/kWh is not a good comparison. The reason we want to switch to renewable energy is not to immediately get a cheap source of energy. In fact, waiting until renewable energy becomes cheaper than coal and gas will likely be too late in terms of environmental damage. Only then will we see the real economic costs of sticking with fossil fuels for too long. So yes, it's an economic question, but comparing only the costs now is missing the point. Trying to fix the problem in the future caused by going for the cheapest energy in the long run will be extraordinarily expensive. I'd rather not get into the liberal vs. conservative part of the argument because that only mires things up and gets people mad at each other. If we approach this from a partisan perspective, nothing will ever get done. We are going to need all of the smart people from both sides of the isle working on this problem to figure out how to solve it. It's certainly not easy.


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 2:21 p.m.

Is mandating that the US spend its R&D resources on technologies that are not economically viable going to better position us against the rest of the world? Is making the US less competitive and reducing our standard of living going to make us stronger? Countries like Spain, who were early adopters of wind power and mandated its use, created quite a few renewable energy jobs, many of which turned out to not be sustainable. They now realize that for every green job that was created, they lost 3-4 jobs in the rest of the economy. Conservatives simply want us to expend our resources where it makes economic sense.

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 10:35 a.m.

"Mike Garfield, executive director of the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center, said it was ridiculous for voters to be afraid of passing Proposal 3 based on the fear of it raising their energy bills." Nothing like insulting voter's intelligence while trying to drum up support. Question: Will Garfield's group(s) be in line for no bid contracts if the proposal passes, like they have been in the past for City of Ann Arbor contracts?


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 2:31 a.m.

If the playing field were level, the dirty old energies would have to pay the cost of their pollution and would not be economically viable. Setting a dollar value on rising oceans and loss of species isn't easy, but any reasonable estimates would be enormous. So we the dirty old industries are spending your money and mine to lobby for continued subsidies and right to pollute free of charge. And they will be spending your money and mine on TV ads to protect their interests. Meanwhile, other countries (e.g. Germany) are investing in clean energy and leaving us in the dust. Yes to clean energy and yes to jobs in sustainable energy! Yes to 3 and yes to the Grafs!


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

Orwell, laughable. If you can't look at the the massive amount of cars in downtown Ann Arbor on a given weekday, and then realize that that is just one day out of 365 in a year, in a small city in a small state in a small country of the world. And then know that that is happening all over this country, to a much larger degree in other cities, and in other cities all over the world even to a greater extent. And then say all that pollution has no effect on the environment, well, you just aren't using your brain. And that's just CARS.

G. Orwell

Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 3:06 a.m.

CO2 has nothing to do with global warming. Al Gore lied to you. What caused much higher temperatures in the past? What caused the ice age? Cave men? Dino dung? It is a natural cycle earth goes through as the sun fluctuates in output.

Jeff Westbrooks

Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 1:36 a.m.

I'm impressed that all these people want to significantly change how energy is produced so as to minimize their carbon footprint, but I'm afraid that the technologies that they choose to this with is inadequate. If you are serious about changing climate change; if you actually think that the CO2 and the methane we spew into our atmosphere by the Gigaton is a large part of this climate change then there is actually only one answer to providing an ever increasing per capita energy profile with an increasing world population: nuclear. With nuclear fission Michigan electrical production could be carbon free by 2023.


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 11:45 a.m.

Michigan has insufficient wind and sunshine to provide full time energy. We would still need backup at our full power needs. Nuclear is the only non fossil source that could provide all the power Michigan needs when it needs it. And only modifications to governance belong in the Constitution. Not marketplace boondoggelry.


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 1:24 a.m.

Far better to pump more toxins into the air and water, that can drive up health care costs, then we can Whine about how the govt is driving up health care costs and can't somebody do something about it!!!! A 2004 report by the Clean Air Task Force estimated that soot pollution from power plants contributes to 24,000 premature deaths, 38,200 non-fatal heart attacks, and tens of thousands of hospital visits and asthma attacks each year. And guess what? Taxpayers help pay for that too!

G. Orwell

Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 3:02 a.m.

@clownfish, "A 2004 report by the Clean Air Task Force estimated that soot pollution from power plants contributes to 24,000 premature deaths, 38,200 non-fatal heart attacks, and tens of thousands of hospital visits and asthma attacks each year. And guess what? " I would be very skeptical of this report. It's by the "Clean Air Task Force." Power plants do not emit soot like they did decades ago. Pollutants are taken out with scrubbers. That is why you see only WHITE steam coming out of coal fire power plants smoke stacks. Not black smoke. Get it.


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 12:56 a.m.

This proposal is corporate welfare for GE and other politically connected corporations. Vote NO. Meanwhile, the electric grid is decaying. Storms knock it down, there's no EMP shielding, components are rotting from old age, etc. All good reasons to build your own distributed infrastructure and achieve independence from the grid, but do it on your own dime!

5c0++ H4d13y

Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 11:39 p.m.

If only we could pass enough laws utopia would be at hand!

G. Orwell

Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 11:14 p.m.

I am for renewable energies as long as it is not financed by the tax payers. Let the market place determine what sources of energies are used. Don't subsidize the oil companies with tax breaks and our military in every oil rich nation and don't subsidize the renewable energy. Provide a fair playing field and let the chips fall. The current renewable energy push is based on a big lie. It comes from the UN's man-made global warming scam. I cannot believe people still believe in AGW. Absolutely no science behind it.

G. Orwell

Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

@brb11 What caused the ice age? Are humans responsible? Or, can the cooling and warming the result of the earth's interaction with the sun and it's orbits? Earth was much warmer in the past. Why is Mars and other planets going theough the same warming? Is this also caused by evil humans?


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

Sorry for the typos. It's hard to type on a phone.


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

Thanks brb11: you saved me a ton of typing! There is no debate on GCC, all major scientific bodies and virtually every scientist agrees that the the reason the Earth has been heating in an unprecedented manner(which itself is irrefutable and far beyond contestation) is anthropogenic. It's trus, dirty fossil fuels are cheaper now, but that's because their cost are hidden and deferred until the future. I fel bad for future generations, for it is them who will pay through the nose for ou shortsightedness. If we sink some money into these technologies, perhaps w'll leave some sort of positive legacy; after all, dirty energy is finite and will only go up in cost. The sooner ioner me make alternatives cheaper, the sooner they'll be economically viable. Then the markets can decide.


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

Global warming is well-established science. But that highlights the problem with letting the market decide what energy to use. Fossil fuels will (for the foreseeable future) be cheaper to use. That's not the point. The point is that we need to remove ourselves from carbon-producing fuels as quickly as possible, as we are already in a fairly precarious position in terms of global temperature rise. I think there's legitimate argument to be had regarding what source of energy to use. Nuclear is probably a very good option. But this isn't something that can be left up to the free market due to the degree of externalities involved with fossil fuels. You could try to impose penalties based on those externalities to level the playing field, but I doubt many people would be too keen on that considering the response to similar measures. We're going to pay (in real dollars) at some point, whether it's trying to repair the damage being done using fossil fuels or switching to renewable technology before it's the obvious economical choice. Most estimates say it's cheaper to do the latter, which is why the push has to come from places other than the market. Again, the best type of energy to push for can be debated extensively. But I think this is at least a good start to get the ball rolling on an economics issue that isn't obvious to day-to-day life for most (regarding long term cost of externalities).

G. Orwell

Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 11:06 p.m.

I thInk Renee means well. She, like other well meaning people, are being manipulated and used to push this bogus green agenda to benefit people like Al Gore and Goldman Sachs (carbon taxes and carbon trading). I liked drinking the IPA at ABC. I guess I will have to go to Grizzly Peak or Blue Tractor.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 10:42 p.m.

Amy Biolchini Wonderful you perpetuate the lie that the backers of the proposal put out there about the MSU study. Wonderful - the study (try reading it) says Job-Years - NOT JOBS. The fact is that the 25 in 25 will create approximately 3,500 installer jobs that will disappear when the wind farms are installed. AND - There is NOTHING in the proposal that says ANY of these jobs has to be in Michigan. The proposal language: This proposal would: Require electric utilities to provide at least 25% of their annual retail sales of electricity from renewable energy sources, which are wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower, by 2025. > > Limit to not more than 1% per year electric utility rate increases charged to consumers only to achieve compliance with the renewable energy standard. > > Allow annual extensions of the deadline to meet the 25% standard in order to prevent rate increases over the 1% limit. > > Require the legislature to enact additional laws to encourage the use of Michigan made equipment and employment of Michigan residents. > > OBTW - This proposal is backed by private equity and hedge funds, they paid to collect the signatures and run the ads, so they can drain Michigan income to go to Wall Street.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 11:12 p.m.

So what does it mean - 1) Biogas and Geothermal are missing - expect lawsuits from farmers and landfill owners 2) What is a compliance expense? - only lawsuits will tell us - Do qualifying facility costs fall in or out of compliance? What costs are compliance related? Which are not? 3) Limit rate increases for compliance - Does nothing to limit total rate increases 4) Enact laws to encourage - Violates the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution - so no promise of ANY jobs in Michigan So there is no real teeth to create jobs in Michigan. There is no real teeth to limit rate increases to 1% and there is no promise that this will be done by 2025. What there is - is millions of dollars for lawyers and years of lawsuits. If it does happen it will mean far more wind turbines than the supporters admit to. Since this is backed by Wall Street Funds, it is another move to take Money from Main Street to Wall Street. Read the proposal carefully. Think about it, don't just watch TV.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 9:43 p.m.

First of all, What's wrong with Coal? It's clean, cheap and domestic! Second: What happen to all of President Obama's Green Jobs? Countries that have tried this experience very high unemployment rates Third: This is going to be very expensive, just look at how expensive electric cars are, New Technology equals expensive! Fourth: I hate it when "RICH" 1%'ers (Rene & Matt Greff) to influence our elections! Also I hate it when "Big Environment Movement" does the same thing!


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 2:50 a.m.

Coal is anything but clean--it's a filthy, vile energy source.

average joe

Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 9:36 p.m.

If I were a business owner, I would stay clear of this hot tater.

Unusual Suspect

Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 9:24 p.m.

Wait... I thought corporations being involved in politics was a bad thing. You just can't keep up with the hypocrisies in this town without a program.

Unusual Suspect

Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 9:21 p.m.

"This is a no-brainer" I agree, but probably not in the way you intended.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 8:43 p.m.

My gosh, when are we going to learn? Stop legislating business choices and let the free market decide.

David Cahill

Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

Proposal 3 makes a lot of economic sense. It's great that the Greffs are backing it!


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 11:02 p.m.

David Cahill - I would love to see your math on this one? Higher electric bills? Importing wind power from Iowa? Jobs moving to Northern Ohio? The only people it makes sense to are the wind farm owners who will get paid qualifying facility fees that get passed on to you and me. Who owns windfarms? Private Equity, and Hedge Funds - Wall Street. More money leaving Main Street for Wall Street.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 8:43 p.m.



Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 8:42 p.m.

Are you and Atticus brother?


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

This doesn't belong in our state constitution. It will result in substantially higher electric bills because the technology to store power isn't there yet - and heavy duty transmission infrastructure is also not there. Lastly, if you do the research (I have), Michigan is NOT a great wind market. Vote NO on 3. I had to chuckle at those that aren't going to frequent the Arbor Brewing Company or Corner Brewery because the owners are taking this political position - but apparently were willing to go to these establishments despite significant health department inspection violations every time they are inspected... Arbor Brewing Company - 3/5/12 - 2 critical violations, 10 non-critical violations Arbor Brewing Company - 9/16/11 - 2 critical violations, 10 non-critical violations Arbor Brewing Company - 4/7/11 - 1 critical violations, 10 non-critical violations Corner Brewery - 7/31/12 - 3 critical violations, 8 non-critical violations Corner Brewery - 2/2/12 - 6 critical violations, 7 non-critical violations Corner Brewery - 8/17/11 - 8 non-critical violations


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 1:18 a.m.

It always smells like bleach at ABC that's why I don't go there anymore, plus the beer is just not that great. I like the garlic fries though. They hide the bleach smell...

Top Cat

Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 8:09 p.m.

No on 3 and Yes to Sacred Cow IPA!


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 8:03 p.m.

This article is loaded with inaccuracies and misses some key facts. Proposal 3 is not a "slight" increase from today's standard (a little math suggests it is a 150% increase!). The 94,000 jobs prediction is for job "years," which is more like 9400/jobs per year for 10 years. The proposal defines what energy sources count, so different types of renewable energy, even if less expensive, would not count. I am a big fan of renewable energy, but enshrining policy in our constitution for 13 years out is very dangerous in terms of unintended consequences. I'm not even worried about the cost, since I think we should pay more for the carbon based energy. Like most ballot proposals, this one is much more complex and far reaching than its backers tell you.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 10:22 p.m.

And it's always interesting to see just "what" those "jobs" are and how they are counted. Extremely amusing testimony to Congress a couple of months ago about the number and type of "green jobs" created by Obama admin programs and our tax dollars. Bureau of Labor Statistics was forced to admit they were instructed to be "inclusive" when counting "green jobs". Here's a sample of some they were forced to admit they counted: 1) If you're a bus driver, currently driving a diesel bus, and they issue you a hybrid - then that's a green job counted. 2) If you're a realtor, specializing in "down-sizing" (like selling Grandma's house so she can move to an apartment) - that's a green job counted. 3) If you're hired as an OIL COMPANY lobbyist, that's a green job counted (because you are working in "energy policy).


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.

Vote yes on Proposal3!


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 10:58 p.m.

So you can live in another state to find a job?

Atticus F.

Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

Here's some math to wrap your head around... It's so simple, even a 3rd grader could understand it: lets say hypothetically, it cost 1 million dollars to build a factory that produces solar panels, and each solar panel cost 10 dollars worth of material and labor to produce... Well, if you sell only 2 solar panels, then the cost of each one to produce is equaled to $500,010. And on the other side of the equation, if you sell 1 million solar panels, then the cost of each panel works out to be around $11 dollars to produce.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 10:58 p.m.

Atticus F - So WRONG. Solar panels are already at about $0.50 a watt out of the factory - but the installed cost is $3-5 a watt, shipping, packaging, installation, wiring, inverters, and other gear. The factory is as efficient as it gets. The problem not the solar cells, it is all the manual work to get them installed. The price has bottomed out completely. Check out the Department of Energy's SunShot program, they admit the cell price is not going much lower that they have to fix the rest of it. That is a multi-year effort. Your logic does not hold, since so much of what is left in the cost is labor. Maybe we should outsource that, like the solar cells to China.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

Thank you Harry, I thought it was just me.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

Atticus Its not that simple. Not enough time or room to explain business accounting to you.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 8:13 p.m.

I don't even know where to start ....... guess I'll just let my head explode.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

Pay $$$$$ For solar panels that will take an average home to break even after 15 years+. Average homeowner lives a little over 8 years in one home, by that time you be getting ready to replace panels, lines for worn out internal parts. No thanks, it's failed in California where it shines about twice as long vs in A2. If the state makes it mandated someone supplying products will get rich and you'll have to pay news Fees.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

Don't you think if solar panels were really cost effective more people would have them. 16 to 25 years is a difficult sell for the average consumer.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 7:29 p.m.

Yes on 3 and yes to Arbor Brewing Company!


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

bobslowson - I hope you still have income left after your electric bill increases to pay for beer at ABC


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

Promoting your politics thru your business in the real world is a good way to loose same...Alas this is OZ., where the sheeple drink green coolaide....any local business that sports a window card is off my list...." renewable energy " is just a ponzi scheme that comes out of the taxpayers thanks


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 7:43 p.m.

Excellent point. Businesses should be politically nuetral. Its a good way to lose customers.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 6:54 p.m.

Hey,weren't they the ones who got a bunch of solar panels on tax payers dime ?


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

The taxpayers and the DTE rate payers will share in the expense. I can see why Corner Brewery is gung ho on their new solar panels, since the payback on what they laid out is around five years, but without subsidies (and assuming that maintenance costs zero and the equipment lasts indefinitely), the payback on the total scheme is over 50 years. WE are all paying extra for a scheme that is clearly not economically viable. Voting for this proposition will drive up energy costs in Michigan, make Michigan less competitive in the US and worldwide, and cost us jobs.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

Looks like I won't be going to either of their businesses anymore. Here's a tip Matt and Rene, don't let your business become involved in politics or you're likely to drive people away.

Superior Twp voter

Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

Exactly. Agree.


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 1:19 a.m.

Gee, I guess that applies to Chik-Fil-A, Koch Industries, Georgia Pacific, Invista, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan or UBS etc?


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 12:26 a.m.

Arbor Brewing has hosted political events for years and is still packed every night. You're late to the party if just now realizing their views run left of center. And maybe that's part of why the place is so packed. People appreciate their community involvement and willingness to stick their necks out on issues. Your absence will just mean the Friday night wait for a table goes down from an hour to 58 minutes.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 7:53 p.m.

Yes, I agree. There are plenty of great breweries downtown. I think this is stupid, with all the competition for customer traffic, why give people a reason to walk by your door.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

I completely agree with you on this one. I will not do business with ABC again. Nor will I recommend this place to football parkers. I think it's great that they try to make their businesses more green, but keep junk like this out of the MIchigan constitution.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

Haven't we learned from Solyndra, the Chevy Volt, and other forced green initiatives? The market isn't there yet! When it is the market will be flooded with all of these things and I'll be right there with everyone else. In the mean time we are wasting tax payer dollars, forcing higher energy costs, and taking away more dollars from people's pay checks that could help fuel a recovery. Taxes are going to be increasing soon, the dollar is falling in value due to quatatative easing which will fuel inflation, and now we want to artificially increase the cost of energy and hit the economy even harder. The green energy jobs at this point in time require taxpayer dollars just like government jobs. That will require all taxpayers pay more and that will kill any hope of an economic rebound. Let's get people back to work and then try these intiatives. I know the environmentalists don't care about the economy but when it collapses there will be no money for the environment. The money all comes from working taxpayers and there are less and less of them all the time.


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.

The problem is not about "forced green initiatives," it's with people picking the wrong technology. I know a lot of engineers who reviewed Solyndra technology for the DOE, and it was great technology, but was left in the dust by better technology that came out of the blue. Without some "forced green initiatives," we'd all be swimming in medical waste, while listening to PR firms who were hired to tell us about the health benefits of swimming with someone else's needles.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 10:49 p.m.

Atticus F - Look up the rules on "Qualifying Facilities" and how wind and solar have to be paid. Check the premiums that will be passed to rate payers (anyone who uses electricity) under these rules. Also realize that most large electric users are free to buy their electricity from anyone avoiding the qualifying facility charges - to a 25% renewable means that homeowners will pay the qualifying facility surcharge on about 40% of their electricity. Right now in Michigan qualifying facilities get roughly 200% of the average power price. The big question is the qualifying facility cost a compliancy issue (inside the 1% limit) or not. If it is not, enjoy the higher electric bills. The first people to make money off of this will be the lawyers who file dozens of lawsuits. Starting with Farmers - who are excluded from this bill.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.


Atticus F.

Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 8:59 p.m.

andys, i'm going to explain why your theory holds no weight; Because nobody ever said "I'm going to Start a business for the sole purpose of creating jobs"... As a matter of fact Most people say the exact opposite "I'm going to start a business with the sole purpose of making money, and unfortunately, I'm going to have to pay somebody to help me" Long story short, thats why trickle down economics doesn't work.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

Good point. There is a reason GM is shutting down the Volt production line. Maybe tomorrow but not today. It makes no financial sense.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

No, you are making me and all business pay up to twice as much or more for our energy usage in the form of higher utility bills. This will reduce spending (remember your recirculating money argument) and jobs as business move out of state or off shore. Also much of this effort will be supported by govt subsidies that I pay for. Its an inefficient allocating of resources.

Atticus F.

Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

Nobody said that the government providing all jobs is the logical conclusion, andys. But you need to understand the nature of wealth, labor, trade, supply and demand, and regulation. what we are in essence doing, is taking the money spent on coal, and instead of giving the money to ABC mining company, we are giving it to local residents, who are building devices to harvest energy. In other words, we are still spending money on energy, but we are purchasing it from a different provider.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

"Also, when tax dollars go to create jobs, it usually helps our economy, because people who were previously unemployed, now purchase goods and services from the tax payers who helped to provide the jobs." This is great, I keep hearing this, but taken to its logical conclusion, Atticus, then why don't we all work for the government??? Would that not create an economic boon??? No, you see its typically not the most efficient allocation of taxpayer resources. so economically its a net losing proposition.

Atticus F.

Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

The numbers have been skewed because of the cost of reasearch and development. Also, when tax dollars go to create jobs, it usually helps our economy, because people who were previously unemployed, now purchase goods and services from the tax payers who helped to provide the jobs. When big corporations 'bank' trillions of dollars, that money sits in acounts, and DOES NOT circulate through our economy. However, when said money is used to provide jobs to people who were previously unemployed, the money recirculates over and over through our economy.

Atticus F.

Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 6:37 p.m.

I'll be voting yes on this proposal. Not because I'm worried about global warming, but because I believe that we are being robbed by energy companies. And I believe there is profit to be made by not allowing us to harvest the energy that surrounds us. Energy blows by us every day, in the form of wind, and it rains down on us 12-16 hrs/day in the form of sunshine.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

David Waligra - Capacity factor is the percent of time on average the generator creates power. So if I have a 1 unit solar panel and run it for 100 hours - if the capacity factor was 100, the panel would create 100 unit-hours of energy. Since the capacity factor is 12 - that means that over 100 hours the panel would create 12 unit-hours of energy. So if you want 100 unit-hours of energy in 100 hours - you would need 100/12 units of solar panel or approximately 8.3 units of solar panel. A typical coal fired power plant has a capacity factor in the low 90's and a nuclear plant in the 101-103 range. The nuclear plants have had their efficiency improved since they were built so now exceed 100% of the original installed capacity. With wind and 16.8 percent - we would need 6 units of wind turbine to give the same energy as 1 unit of nuclear. Since all the positive campaigns talk about the cost per unit of capacity - not unit of energy - the understate the cost of the proposal by somewhere between 6 and 8 times.

David Waligora

Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 12:55 p.m.

@ DonBee if what you say is true, which I will take it at face value "If that is true, why is the capacity factor for solar in Michigan less than 12% according to the National Renewable Energy Lab? Why does the Midwest Independent System Operator put the capacity factor for wind in Michigan at 16.8%" Isn't 12 + 16.8 = 28.8? So 25% wouldn't be so far off?


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 10:45 p.m.

Atticus F - If that is true, why is the capacity factor for solar in Michigan less than 12% according to the National Renewable Energy Lab? Why does the Midwest Independent System Operator put the capacity factor for wind in Michigan at 16.8% These are real numbers from the people who should know.

G. Orwell

Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

@Atticus, The energy companies will still make money off you and gouge you no matter what type of energy is used. You are being very naive if you think DTE will not benefit from this scam. Where will we get power when the wind does not blow? Wind is terrible source of continuous power. Also very expensive to maintain. There are currently 14,000 wind turbines sitting idle because they are broken. Also, wind turbines are very bad for the ecosystem surrounding them.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.

"The fact that we exchange our labor for money, is what gives money its inherant value." Any labor? OK then I'll dig holes for the money. That's only slightly less efficient use of the money then building solar panels no one can efficiently use and will buy. Atticus, there is no economic argument for this proposal, its an inefficient use of financial resources. I don't agree, but some would say we have to do this for the environment, that arguable. But this proposal will be a drag on household finances and general economy. I've tried to highlight this with wild examples, but fear its not sinking in.

Atticus F.

Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

"The same could be said if you just give the money to me, I'll spend it all, and return it to the economy, I promise." Andys, your theory is flawed... Giving money away, and getting paid to preform a service, are 2 entirely different things. And you need to learn to make a distinction between the 2. we can not just "give away free money"... If that were the case the value of meoney would not be relative to labor. The fact that we exchange our labor for money, is what gives money its inherant value.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 8:11 p.m.

" dollars go to pay employees, those employees spend the money on rent, groceries, and a whole host of goods and services. which in turn, provides income for farmers, landlords, retailers, retail employees, ect.." The same could be said if you just give the money to me, I'll spend it all, and return it to the economy, I promise. That being the condition, would this not be equally as good of a use of TP funds. No, you say, because your not sure you're not sure that me spending it would be a good use. Well that's how I feel about your inefficient green initiatives. Spending is not good just because it is spending.

Atticus F.

Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 7:55 p.m.

andys, i pay taxes just like you... And there are planty of things that I dont want "my money" to be spent on. But that's the nature of democracy, we don't always get to choose how each dollar is spent. And when we pay taxes, there seems to be this belief that out elected officials gather up the money, put it into a pile, light it on fire, and the money is never seen again... The truth is that when tax dollars go to pay employees, those employees spend the money on rent, groceries, and a whole host of goods and services. which in turn, provides income for farmers, landlords, retailers, retail employees, ect..


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 7:46 p.m.

The problem is to capture that energy it is more expensive than the current sorce. A lot of people are not happy to spend more to save 15 years down the road especially older people of fixed incomes.


Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

Get ready for frequent brown outs / black outs, and spiking utility bills. The technology is not there yet. but it sure is a nice thought, just don't waste my money on it.