The Michigan House of Representatives passed state Senate legislation that would increase the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) from 10 percent to 15 percent by 2021 and to at least 35 percent in 2025. The newly passed legislation includes voluntary “green pricing” program provisions which enables companies to buy additional renewable energy through utility providers.
“The expansion of Michigan's renewable portfolio standard and better alignment of utility business models with strategies to reduce energy waste together represent a significant step forward for Michigan ratepayers, and send a strong signal that Michigan will continue to grow its advanced energy economy,” said Liesl Eichler Clark, president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC).
Michigan achieved its goal of 10 percent renewables by the end of 2015, which the state implemented in 2008. To reach the requirement Michigan developed over 1,660 megawatts of renewable energy capacity and brought nearly $3 billion in green energy investments to the state. Increasing the RPS to 15 percent is expected to attract an additional $2.5 billion to $4.3 billion of clean energy investment by 2021.
“We now have a statewide energy policy that will save Michigan residents millions of dollars on their electric bills, alleviate concerns about having enough capacity to power the daily activities of 10 million people and find new ways to use our existing energy grid more efficiently. This policy also allows for more consumer choice in our growing market,” said Governor Rick Snyder (R). The bills protect our environment by making it easier for Michigan to develop its own energy sources, instead of buying coal from various states. Our energy will be more affordable, more reliable and more green.”
Still, only 1 percent of the state’s energy comes from solar power and the state has been criticized for its solar policies in the past. In fact, Michigan was one of 10 states recently recognized in a Center for Biological Diversity report that it criticized for bad solar policies and for not recognizing the economic potential of solar. It looks like that trend continues in the state. EIBC’s Clark observed that “the addition of an unnecessary grid charge on solar customers—particularly when distributed solar remains capped at 1 percent of our energy use—causes real concern.”
While the bills make significant progress in improving Michigan’s clean energy future, environmental advocates remain concerned that the legislation does not go far enough and maintains corporate interests above the needs of customers and the environment. For example, J.R. Tolbert of the Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) said the omission of a provision that allowed split ownership of future project development would have decreased electric costs and created a more competitive renewable energy market in Michigan.Tweet