The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) announced that all utilities in the state have either reached or exceeded, the state’s 10 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirement established in 2015. With nearly $3.3 billion invested in clean energy development, almost 1,670 megawatts of renewable energy projects were online in the state at the end of 2016 in its annual report.
“The Michigan Public Service Commission is pleased to report that the 10 percent renewable energy standard for 2015 was accomplished successfully by all Michigan electric providers,” said MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg. “The combined efforts of the electric providers, renewable energy project developers, communities hosting renewable energy projects, renewable energy advocates and many others have contributed to the effective implementation of Michigan’s renewable energy standard.”
Wind power generation was the primary source of clean energy growth across Michigan from 2009 to 2016. Of the 1,670 megawatts of clean energy sources online throughout the state, 1,575 megawatts came from utility-scale wind projects by the end of 2016. The state installed 15.9 MW of solar last year, bringing its total generation to 35.4 megawatts, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
More solar development is on its way in Michigan. DTE Energy launched its MIGreenPower program, which offers customers a chance to choose if they want to buy renewable energy and how much of it they want to buy from solar and wind farms. Additionally, DTE and Consumers Energy have filed contracts with the MPSC to develop 1,800 megawatts of wind and solar throughout the state.
The report found that the costs of developing renewables in Michigan continued to fall through the end of 2016 and were actually significantly lower than building new fossil-fuel-based power plants. The state’s total renewable energy and waste reduction program’s weighted average cost was $34.65 per megawatt-hour (MWh).
“The average price of existing renewable energy contracts is considerably less than was forecast in initial renewable energy plans,” Talberg said. Development contracts for all renewable energy projects submitted to MPSC leveled off at $45 to $69 per MWh, nearly half what they cost in 2009 and 2010.
Michigan’s RPS was put into action in 2015. Now that utilities have met the first goals, the RPS ramps up. It requires that utilities increase clean energy generation to 12.5 recent by 2020 and 15 percent by 2021. Recently, the Michigan House of Representatives passed additional legislation that will increase the states RPS to at least 35 percent by 2025. That legislation was signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and includes voluntary “green pricing” allowing companies to buy additional renewable power from utility providers. The bill also will expand clean energy investments an additional $2.5 billion to $4.3 billion by 2021.Tweet