Michigan Republican leaders call for renewable energy

Enlightening.... It seems such an appropriate word to describe an energy summit. Informative, educational, and intriguing would have all been accurate as well, but enlightening seems to capture the essence best. Intrigued was what we were when we left for the summit, but enlightened is how we returned.

Together, we represent a very diverse cross-section of conservatives. Generation X and Y, millennials, College Republicans, black, white, middle eastern, single, married, military parents, West Michigan, Greater Detroit area, Lansing, private sector, public sector, non-profit, employees and business owners. One area where we are unified is in our commitment to a strong, diverse, and secure energy future for Michigan, and for our country.

All of us have just returned from the second annual Conservative Clean Energy Summit, in Washington DC. It was hosted by the Christian Coalition and the Young Conservatives for Energy Reform, and co-sponsored by AWEA, SEIA, Defend Our Future, and CRES. Hundreds of conservatives gathered from all around the country to hear from members of Congress, clean energy and business experts, national security leaders and pollsters.

For too many years, energy policy has been a partisan issue, with conservatives standing for fossil fuels, and progressives standing for renewable energy. This partisan divide has been largely driven by the debate over climate change and the environment, and has ignored the economic, national security, cost stability, and poverty issues that are tied directly to our energy policy. With the constant unrest that plagues the Middle East, and our globalization of natural gas prices, diversity in our portfolio has never been more important.

For the past two years, the Michigan House and Senate have been embroiled in discussion about what our state’s energy future will look like. It has become clear that for the present time, we are going to maintain a regulated market for electricity in Michigan. With that in mind, it is important that our legislators take that responsibility of “regulating” seriously. We cannot, and should not, treat our incumbent utilities as if they were operating in the free market, but rather should include in our regulation a requirement that our portfolio be diversified, to include a greater mix of clean, domestic, renewable energy. This not only gives us greater control over the cost of our energy, but it keeps our hard earned dollars right here in Michigan, instead of sending them to countries who often wish to do us harm.

A wise investor would never invest 90% of their retirement funds in one company or sector. Equally, we should not be dependent on globally priced energy for 90% of our portfolio. Use of locally controlled hydropower, solar, wind, biomass and other forms of renewable energy will give us greater stability and security when it comes to the price of our energy. Even the 2016 RNC Platform calls for the expansion of renewable energy, and we support that call. We encourage the Michigan Senate, House, and the Governor to stay strong in their commitment to a secure energy future, and to expand Michigan’s role as a clean energy innovator and leader in our country.

 

This commentary was submitted by Adi Sathi, Coalitions Vice-Chair of the Michigan Republican Party; Blake Edmonds, former Youth Vice-Chair of the Michigan Republican Party, an Advisory Board Member of the Christian Coalition of Michigan, and the Michigan Chair of the Young Conservatives for Energy Reform; Hank Fuhs, secretary of the Michigan Republican Party; Kelly Mitchell, the Outreach Vice-Chair of the Michigan Republican Party; Linda Lee Tarver, President of the Republican Women’s Federation of MI, and former Ethnic Vice-Chair of the Michigan Republican Party; Michael Banerian, Youth Vice-Chair of the Michigan Republican Party; and Nick Hawatmeh, former Grassroots Vice-Chair of the Michigan Republican Party.