New Legislation Would Make Michigan a Leader in Clean Energy

In December, after years of debate, the Michigan Legislature passed legislation (PA 341 & 342) that increased our renewable energy standard to 15% by 2021 and maintained Michigan’s energy efficiency standard at 1% per year sun-setting in 2021.  This was a huge victory, considering the original bills been introduced eliminated both standards.   That legislation took effect in April, and we have been working hard to ensure that it is implemented in a way that maximizes protections to public health and residential ratepayers.  While we celebrated that victory, we know that the legislation did not go far enough.  Some legislators agree.

Last week, bicameral legislation was introduced that would increase Michigan’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Standards.  Clean energy champions, Senators Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) and Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D-Taylor), and Representatives Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Twp.) and Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) recognize the benefits of investing in energy efficiency and renewables. Investments in energy efficiency and renewables create jobs, improve our air and water quality, reduce electricity costs, and help curb the effects of climate change. Michigan should be a clean energy leader.

The legislation (SB 475 & 476 and HB 4791 & 4792) would:

  • Increase the renewable energy standard to 50 percent by 2035; and
  • Increase the energy efficiency standard to 2 percent energy savings per year, beginning in 2022.

We are grateful to these legislators for taking the lead in making Michigan’s clean energy future a priority.  Investments in clean energy will protect Michigan families by reducing costs, creating jobs, and improving public health. 

Demand for clean, renewable energy is at an all-time high, with customers wanting greater access to electricity generated from renewable sources. Increasing renewable energy standards would help Michigan meet that demand, spurring jobs and investment along the way. Michigan is already home to more than 87,000 clean energy jobs. Expanding renewable energy and energy efficiency will continue to create jobs in Michigan’s growing clean energy sector.

Since the energy efficiency standard was enacted in 2009, Michigan ratepayers have saved more than $5 billion, yet Michigan still has the highest electricity rates in the Midwest.  Doubling the energy efficiency standard will help residential customers save money on their electricity bills.

Michigan also has an asthma rate that is 10% higher than the national average.  Pollution from coal-fired power plant spews dangerous chemicals and particulate matter into our air, increasing the risk and exacerbation of asthma and other respiratory diseases.

Our continued reliance on dirty energy is a threat to Michigan’s future.  At a time of uncertainty at the national level, states must be bold and lead the way.  This legislation gives Michigan an opportunity to be a leader in clean, renewable energy. We urge the Legislature to build upon the work done in 2016 and pass this legislation.

 

Published on June 29, 2017