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Energy mandates, renewable siting bills see final passage

Advocacy News – Nov. 10, 2023

Clean Energy Mandates
What happened: This week, bills that would hamstring the state’s energy portfolio to just a few types of generation technology saw final passage in the Michigan Legislature, ending a fast and furious rush to enact. The new restrictive and aggressive energy regulations leave Michigan’s future uncertain with reliability and affordability of chief concern to ratepayer advocates and energy experts. Under this legislation electricity utilized on Michigan’s grid will have to be 50% renewable by 2034, 60% by 2035, with a clean energy standard of 100% by 2040. It is not yet clear what the costs associated with this massive transformation to the state’s grid will ultimately be, though it’s likely to be in the billions of dollars. While the Chamber and a partnership it helped form – Great Lakes Growth Coalition for Clean, Affordable and Reliable Energy– successfully worked to amend the bills to avoid certain dire consequences, it is still the belief by energy experts that these new legal restrictions to energy production are unachievable and will lead to higher prices and lower reliability.

Why it matters: Michigan relies on a diverse supply of energy generating assets to ensure Michigan businesses, families and communities have the power they need, when they need it. While the transition to clean energy is important, so is doing it thoughtfully and getting it right. The regulatory process has historically been structured in a way that allowed electric providers flexibility around what was achievable and worked best for their customers. Now, lawmakers have created strict requirements for what technologies can be used to power our state, creating the need for billions of new investment into the grid that will ultimately be paid for by ratepayers.

Renewable Siting Changes
What happened: Additionally, renewable energy siting reforms passed, with the intent of addressing the significant barriers to these critical energy infrastructure projects under current laws. These bills were strongly opposed by local government advocates seeking to preserve strict local control. The Chamber worked hard to inform lawmakers starting early in the year on the rationale and need and to implement needed policy changes.

Why it matters: While the bills are a significant shift away from how renewable projects are permitted today, local communities will continue to play an important role in the decision-making process. This will also open the door for economic development and increased tax revenues within rural and underserved areas of the state.

For questions or more information, contact Mike Alaimo at malaimo@michamber.com.