I hoped that we, as a nation, learned our lesson last summer when gas prices spiked above $4 that we cannot rely upon foreign sources of energy. Unfortunately, that lesson appears to have been lost upon many of our leaders.
First, we need an energy policy that encourages energy efficiency. Reducing the demand for gasoline, electricity, natural gas and other energy will help hold down prices. In the long run, families and businesses could use the money saved through energy efficiency for other goods and services, helping to strengthen our economy.
Second, we need an energy policy that enables us to fully develop American sources of oil and natural gas.
Unfortunately, the recent federal stimulus package did nothing to encourage the expansion of American oil and natural gas supplies through offshore energy exploration, development of shale oil deposits or drilling in ANWR.
Third, we need an energy policy that recognizes that an adequate and reliable supply of affordable electricity is a necessity and a key factor for the nation's long-term economic health. Families and businesses are increasing their demand for electricity every year. Our state and our nation need new generating plants, but these workhorses of the electric system are not being built.
Fourth, we need to explore opportunities for renewable and alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and hydrogen for the future.
Renewable energy will play a larger role in our national energy mix in coming years, but it cannot replace generating units. The stimulus package included $79 billion to support renewable energy development, but nothing for nuclear power.
The cost of ignoring the need is staggering. Michigan's 21st Century Energy Plan, commissioned by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, projected that the state's electric customers would pay $2 billion more for electricity over 20 years if new baseload power plants are not built in the state.
Granholm recently acted to stymie the development of new coal-fired generating plants as part of her push for wind and solar power, even though the electricity from such sources cost several times more than power from conventional generating units.
Obama and Granholm are willing to gamble huge sums of taxpayer dollars on energy sources that may never be economical while ignoring the need for reliable and affordable energy. Families and businesses will end up paying higher electric bills while their tax dollars subsidize the development of power sources that are far more expensive and, as Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu has said, will require "scientific breakthroughs" to become economically viable.
Michigan already is burdened with double-digit unemployment and the highest rate of population flight in the nation. It is the worst possible time for our state to derail the development of reliable, affordable energy and stake its economic future on an experiment in political correctness.