ESCANABA - Concerns over Michigan's future energy needs were discussed by government officials and energy company representatives at a forum Tuesday at Bay College.
The town hall meeting, held in Bay College's Heirman Center, was hosted by state Rep. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, and addressed questions and concerns of the local community. Panelists taking part in the discussion included members of the Michigan House Energy and Technology Committee, which McBroom sits on, and local energy company representatives.
Included in the discussion was the "25 by 2025" initiative, calling for 25 percent of America's energy to come from renewable resources such as wind, solar, biomass, and hydroelectricity by 2025. Members of the committee voiced their concerns that this goal would mean a spike in energy prices.
Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, chairman of the committee, said this would likely be a "death warrant" for industries in the state.
"We're going to see factories moving out like crazy and energy prices are going to go up," Horn said.
State Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, agreed, saying he had previously not supported a 10 percent mandate when he was in the state House because he believes it promoted wind and solar energies for potential incentives more than it did for hydroelectric or biomass.
"One of those things we'd like to change is some of those incentives," Casperson said. "Not to disincentivize wind, but to equalize some of the other alternatives."
He said power companies have a better advantage by going after wind and solar due to the incentives.
Tom Harrell, general manager of the Alger-Delta Cooperative headquartered in Gladstone, said he also had some concerns with 25 by 2025, after speaking about it with members of the Michigan Electric Cooperatives Association.