A ballot measure to expand Michigan's renewable energy standard was soundly defeated at the polls Tuesday, after a hard-fought battle in which the measure's opponents outspent supporters by a three-to-one margin and blanketed airwaves with ads.
As of this posting, early returns showed 73 percent of voters rejecting the measure. That figure closely tracks an exit poll of 800 people conducted by the Detroit Free Press and other media organizations showing 72 percent voting no. The measure had polled with 55 percent in favor as early as September.
If the mandate had passed, the Michigan constitution would have been amended to require the state’s utilities to supply 25 percent of their electricity from wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectric by 2025, an increase from a current mandate of 10 percent by 2015.
"It's a disappointment. Michigan had the opportunity in a very visible way to demonstrate leadership across the country in establishing a state policy to go to 25 percent renewable energy by 2025,” said John Sarver, executive director of Great Lakes Renewable Energy, an East Lansing, Michigan-based advocacy group that promotes renewable energy technologies.
But opponents to the renewable energy measure are celebrating the measure's defeat.