Deceptive, dishonest: Exactly what Cravenly Against Renewable Energy group* paid for

Public Sector Consultants and Ken Sikkema should know better.

Their report making the rounds today, "Proposal 3: Key questions and answers," was commissioned by the utility-backed anti-renewable energy ballot proposal group CARE. That stands for "Cravenly Against Renewable Energy*." (*Not their name, but close). Anyway, those folks really got their money's worth.

The report compares the cost of existing electricity generation from our aging power plants to the cost of new generation from renewable sources. Apples and oranges.

The conclusion - no surprise - is that power from fully depreciated half-century old power plants is less expensive than modern, new generation. Then they run to the press to generate headlines like "Coal power cheaper than renewable."

It's dishonest, deceptive and disingenuous. And it lacks alliteration.

It's like comparing your 200,000-mile paid-off clunker to a new vehicle - and concluding that the beater is the best deal because you'll have car payments with the new model.

Ignore the fact that the clunker is dangerously unreliable, leaks oil, lacks acceleration, is fuel-inefficient, spews pollution and is in the shop half the time. That mirrors the kind of power plant fleet we have - 50, 60-year-old plants that are among the oldest and most polluting in the nation. Many are slated to come off line in coming years anyway, and we need to replace their generating capacity.

With what?

The proper, apples-to-apples comparison is the cost of new renewable energy systems to new traditional electricity generation. CARE and the guns for hire at Public Sector won't talk about that, because renewable energy is already significantly less expensive than new coal - as thoroughly explained in the most recent Michigan Public Service Commission analysis.

And while the price of renewable energy in Michigan is dropping dramatically, the cost of coal delivered to Michigan has increased more than 70 percent in four years. That's a problem, because coal supplies 60 percent of our electric power, but requires us to send $1.5 billion every year to other states to import it.

You won't find that in the Public Sector Consultants report. Because you only get what you pay for.



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