In early 2015, Michigan Democrats presented a plan that doubles the state’s RES to 20% by 2022. In the announcement, State Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood, the vice chairman of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee, said, “This plan is pro-business, pro-consumer and pro-environment. Michigan has the potential to be a leader in renewable energy and create thousands of jobs for hardworking men and women across the state.”
House Republicans followed the announcement by introducing a stand-alone bill that would repeal the state’s current 10% RES. HB 4308, introduced by Representative Ray Franz, failed to receive a hearing.
But months later, Senator Mike Nofs, chairman of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee, introduced his long-awaited energy package. SB 437 and SB 438, which are the bills in the Republican Senate energy package, seek to do away with the state’s RES. The senators believe the utility companies in Michigan, including DTE Energy and Consumers Energy, will continue meeting the mandate and administering the energy efficiency program. The package of legislation would also require any future energy policy development to be conducted through an Integrated Resources Planning (IRP). The state’s Public Service Commission runs the IRP, but the utility companies file energy plans, which then have to be approved by the commissioners.
Michigan Net Metering Attacked
Nofs’ package of legislation also attacks net metering, which is set to expire at the end of the year. The legislative plan prevents net metering customers from actually using their own electricity generated to offset usage because it forces them to sell the power back to the utilities at the wholesale rate. This attack on net metering is happening just as the state saw rooftop solar installations triple from 2010 to 2013.
Nof has said the bills are a work in progress, but it remains to be seen what changes will occur as Republicans and Democrats battle over their energy plans – and how the utility companies will respond.
DTE Energy has been a corporate funder of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the group that has created model bills attacking net metering and renewable energy standards, and one of its coal plants has been listed as a top environmental justice offender.