Fact check: Proposal Three commercial

7:37 PM, Oct 3, 2012   |    comments
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Some of the more than 100 operating wind turbines in rural Gratiot County. Lansing State Journal

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - With political season in full gear there are political ads everywhere trying to sway your vote. WZZM 13 is fact checking the commercial that slams Proposal Three.

Proposal Three would make it a Constitutional amendment for electric companies to get 25% of its electricity from renewable resources like wind and solar by 2025. Plus, companies can't raise rates by more than one percent annually.

The commercial against Proposal Three claims two things-- it's not reliable, it's too expensive, and would create higher electric bills.

We spoke with two experts, one in favor of environmental changes: West Michigan's Environmental Action Council, and a neutral party: Professor Randy Bytwerk from Calvin College. Both agreed the commercial was misleading on all of its points.

First on the commercial's claim that the energy is unreliable. Randy Bytwerk from Calvin College says we've already made so many technological advancements.

"It's silly to think that between 2012 and 2015 we won't make any progress in solar and wind energy. Look what happened with computers in the last 10 years, five years, there's a big probability something's going to happen to make solar energy more efficient."

Now to the claim that Proposal Three is too expensive because the "sun doesn't aways shine and the wind doesn't always blow. " That was also deemed partially misleading. While weather isn't always ideal in Michigan, the technology is still affordable according to our experts.

Nicholas Occhipinti, with West Michigan's Environmental Action Council says, "The beauty of renewable energy is that according to the Michigan Public Service Commission Report, in 2012 they found new renewable energy is cheaper than new conventional fossil fuels."

Calvin College Professor Bytwerk says the source the commercial sites is also unreliable. "Their source is a Detroit Herald Newspaper article that sites a representative from utility companies in Michigan-- but gives no source -- so we have a $12 billion figure that sounds impressive but we have no idea how reliable it is."

The commercial's final claim that you'll pay thousands in high heating bills is also misleading. The law allows for a one percent increase annually. On a $900 annual heating bill, a one percent increase would be $9.

Bytwerk says, "It certainly suggests I'm going to be paying more than nine dollars a year extra."

To see the full video click the link posted above.

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