Struggling to Earn Energy Innovation in MI

From the heart of heavily Republican West Michigan, the Grand Rapids Press yesterday published an editorial lamenting the complicated "political manuevering" by Democrats that the newspaper views as slowing Michigan's effort to adopt a serious energy innovation agenda.

Both sides of the political aisle share the blame for Michigan's inability to adopt even the most basic renewable energy strategy. Openess to change and new ideas isn't exactly a characteristic strength of broad-based leadership in the Great Lakes State these days.

That's primarily because, despite all the talk about the urgent need to evolve and meet the challenges of a global marketplace, the Old Guard of the 20th century remains the driving influential force of Michigan's political and economic machine. And that's slowing the adoption of a more modern and lucrative industrial philosphy.

Want evidence of proof? DTE Energy, which owns Michigan's largest utility and is heavily invested in traditional coal-fired power plants, recently reported a whopping 80 percent earnings increase. That means $971 million earned in 2007 compared to $433 million in 2006.

It's safe to assume, then, that their influence outweighs that of the renewable energy entreprenuers who are working steadily to disrupt the establishment and install a new way of doing business, but have yet to turn serious profits for disposal in the political process.