Get the Facts
What is a renewable energy standard?
A renewable energy standard simply requires that a minimum percentage of energy comes from clean, renewable sources like wind and solar.
This proposal would require that a minimum of 25 percent of Michigan’s electricity comes from clean renewable sources.
Thirty other states, including Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa, have already successfully adopted measures similar to this initiative.
How much renewable energy does Michigan currently use?
Michigan currently gets just 3.9 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.
(Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration)
Meanwhile, other states are far ahead, including Iowa, whose renewable energy use is at 23 percent, and Illinois, whose 25-percent-by-2025 goal is saving businesses and families there $176 million, according to the Illinois Power Agency.
Michigan currently gets 58 percent of its electricity from coal, all of which is imported from other states. Michigan sends $1.7 billion a year -- and the jobs they create -- to other states. (
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
Who supports increasing Michigan's use of renewable energy and energy efficiency?
The broad and bipartisan Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs coalition includes more than 300 Michigan businesses, health professionals, labor organizations, faith leaders, environmental and conservation groups and more.
Is renewable energy the cause of rising energy costs?
The Michigan Public Service Commission, the Illinois Power Agency, the Wisconsin Public Utilities Commission, Synapse and others have all reported that renewable energy helps bring down costs.
In fact, MPSC reports show that when they ask to increase rates, utilities cite as the main reason the increasing cost of fuel used to transport coal into Michigan, which is 71 percent MORE expensive today than in 2006.
Doesn't Michigan already have a renewable energy standard in place?
Michigan’s current renewable energy standard is 10 percent by 2015, which was signed into law in 2008 and is on track.
Proposal 3 would increase Michigan’s renewable energy standard to 25 percent by 2025.
Why raise the renewable energy standard now?
Michigan is getting left behind.
More than 30 other states have measures similar to Proposal 3.
Our Midwest neighbors Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa and Ohio have 25 by 2025 renewable energy standards and they're attracting jobs and reducing energy costs.
Will Michigan still need coal because wind and solar can't provide baseload energy, especially since the wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine?
Proposal 3 requires that only 25 percent of electricity come from renewable sources by 2025.
That means 75 percent of our electricity will still come from other sources, including natural gas, nuclear and coal -- so renewable energy does not have to be available all the time.
Proposal 3 is about diversifying Michigan's energy mix to reduce our dependence on imported coal and foreign oil, strengthening Michigan's energy economy and keeping our money and jobs in Michigan.
Aren't wind and solar a lot more expensive than traditional forms of energy?
The Michigan Public Service Commission stated in February that all renewable energy is about $58 per megawatt/hour cheaper than new coal generation.
Just as advances in technology have brought down the price of things like flat-screen TVs and computers, they have also brought down the cost of renewable energy.
The cost of wind-generated electricity is on par with the cost of electricity from natural gas and contracts can be fixed price for 20-25 years, whereas natural gas prices are volatile.
Does Michigan have enough wind and land to meet 25 by 2025?
Yes, and more.
To meet 25 by 2025, Michigan needs to build only 4,600 megawatts of electricity generation capacity from renewable energy.
Michigan has more than 54,000 megawatts of high-quality, land-based wind generation potential, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. That's nearly 12 times more than needed to meet 25 by 2025, meaning we need to harness only 8 percent of available land-based wind.
Michigan can meet 25 by 2025 using wind alone on around 4,600 acres of land.
Michigan also has more sunny days than Germany, one of the world's leading producers of solar energy.
Are wind and solar power reliable?
New technology and innovations are making renewable energy more affordable and more reliable.
Hawaii, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Colorado and California all get more than 20 percent of electricity from renewable energy and have electric reliability as good as or better than Michigan.
How will this improve public health?
Using more wind and solar will reduce pollution and give Michigan cleaner and healthier air and water.
The dirty coal plants that provide 58 percent of Michigan's electricity emit dangerous levels of mercury, sulfur dioxide and arsenic, which are linked to heart diseases, childhood asthma, lung diseases and premature death.
Proposal 3 will give Michigan cleaner and healthier air and water, protect the Great Lakes, reduce illness and ultimately save lives.
The Michigan Nurses Association endorses Proposal 3 because our children deserve a cleaner Michigan.
How will increasing Michigan's use of renewable energy affect Michigan agriculture?
Increasing Michigan's use of renewable energy will help farmers throughout Michigan by allowing them to lease out portions of their land for wind farms, better preserve farmlands and attract development to rural areas.
Agriculture is one of Michigan's largest industries, and increasing Michigan's use of renewable energy will help strengthen it and create jobs for Michigan workers.
Furthermore, renewable energy protects our water, air and land for future generations of farmers.