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The newspaper of record for the coal industry now suddenly concerned about outdated energy

by: Eric B.

Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 17:14:12 PM EDT

For years, the Detroit News has taken the stock editorial position that the state had to stick with coal energy, because it couldn't afford not to. They did this, advising that Consumers ignore the hippies and go forward and build a bunch of new coal plants ... all of which were eventually mothballed or canceled outright because they became too damned expensive to build. If you're at all undecided about these matters, that's something you should keep in mind when reading today's editorial demanding that voters reject Proposal 3 because it would lock the state into energy sources that might quickly become outdated.

They make two points that are valid. The first that the costs of natural gas energy is currently the cheapest, both from extraction and from construction of new plants. This has actually been the case for a couple of years now. And, that the constitution is an odd place to lock in these energy goals. It's more than odd. It's clunky and inappropriate.

However, the state currently gets more than half its energy from coal plants, and those all need to be retired and retired fairly soon. I can't remember the last time a new coal plant went on line, but almost all of them are very, very old and either in dire need of updating or retirement. In other words, there is plenty of room in Michigan's future for both natural gas and alternative energy. The idea that you have to pick one or the other is stupid. Then again, like I said, you have to keep in mind that for years and years the News has been thumbing its nose at alternative energy as something for dumb hippies. Coal is where it's at, right up to the time to when it's not where it's at.

By the way, they note that we're closing in on 10 percent. That tells us that it wasn't ever set high enough. We could address that by getting more aggressive. The state Legislature has responded, however, with energy all directed in repealing it outright. Hence, the citizens' initiative. Naturally, the News isn't interested in context. They still just hate hippies. 

Eric B. :: The newspaper of record for the coal industry now suddenly concerned about outdated energy
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