Advocacy News – Sept. 22, 2023
This week, the Michigan Senate Energy and Environment Committee heard more than three hours of testimony on Senate Bills 271, 273 and 502, key legislation to set an extraordinarily aggressive “clean” energy standard.
While the committee weighted discussion significantly toward stakeholders in favor of the legislation, the Chamber and other business advocates were allowed to speak at the tail end of the hearing.
The Chamber spoke emphatically to severe concerns and opposition to the bills. Mike Alaimo, director of environmental and energy affairs, raised several alarms with the legislation’s current wording.
Why does it matter?
While a clean energy transition in the state is important, it’s imperative that policy approaches balance a greener future with energy reliability and affordability. These bills forego those principles and the fundamental needs of families, businesses and communities:
- Relying on onerous mandates instead of goals and regulatory pathways to achieve clean energy goals.
- A lack of transparency in developing processes for how reliability and affordability among all rate classes will be balanced with clean energy mandates.
- A lack of clarity in what technologies would qualify for carbon free energy systems.
- An overly restrictive definition of renewable energy.
- Zero analysis of the costs and feasibility of the pace at which Michigan’s generation portfolio can shift in using new generation assets and the costs associated with the securitization of assets that will have to be retired prematurely.
In its testimony, the Chamber also focused on a presentation given by MISO, the state’s regional grid regulator, that highlighted significant concerns around reliability and capacity shortfalls. Essentially, the energy regulator noted that not only do we have the potential for capacity shortfalls presently, but that states that are pushing aggressive de-carbonization mandates risk further exacerbating those shortfalls.
A new draft of SB 271 is expected within the next few days, but thus far it does not appear that the bill sponsors are willing to make the needed changes to shore up reliability, affordability and avoid significant economic damage. It’s possible the Senate committee may vote on the bill package as soon as next week.