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Michigan Strengthens Clean Energy Standard, Maintains Efficiency with Energy Bill

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Business Groups Praise Renewables, Efficiency Provisions in Michigan Energy Vote

AEE and Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council applaud passage of bills that raise the state’s renewable energy standard from 10% to 15%, and retain successful energy optimization program to save customers money

[WASHINGTON, D.C. and LANSING, MICH., December 15, 2016] — Today Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) and the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, AEE’s state partner in Michigan, released the following statements after the Michigan House of Representatives passed Senate Bills 437 and 438, legislation that increases the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 15 percent by 2021 and retains the state’s successful energy optimization standard through 2021. The final House vote was 79-28 for passage of SB 437, and 76-31 in favor of SB 438.

“Today, Michigan took a vote that reaffirms to the advanced energy industry and their customers that Michigan is open for business,” said J.R. Tolbert, vice president for state policy with national business group, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE). “The passage of Senate Bills 437 and 438 will help Michigan build on the enormous success secured under the previous 10 percent RPS and money-saving energy optimization standard. By increasing Michigan’s RPS to 15 percent of annual retail electricity sales, the state has the potential to attract an additional $2.5 billion to 4.3 billion in renewable energy investment by 2021.”

Michigan’s previous 10 percent RPS, which was achieved by the end of 2015, led to the development of over 1,660 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity and attracted nearly $3 billion in renewable energy investments to the state since 2008.

“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). "That said, 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, and the failure to interconnect Michigan's two peninsulas is a missed opportunity." 

“While the increased RPS represents significant progress, the Michigan House missed an opportunity to solidify the state’s commitment to advanced energy resources by omitting a provision that would have ensured a 50-50 ownership split of future renewable energy projects in Michigan,” said Tolbert. “Such a requirement allows independent developers to build 50 percent of new renewable projects in Michigan, which would have driven down ratepayer electricity costs by injecting greater competition for renewable energy in Michigan’s market.”

"Going forward, we need to ensure that we remain adaptable and open to innovative technologies and business models, ensure meaningful access to Michigan's energy market for advanced energy companies, and allow Michigan consumers to continue to reap the benefits of declining renewable energy costs and a cleaner, more resilient grid," said Clark.

The passage of SB 437 and 438 takes place as AEE reports that top Fortune 500 companies are increasing their commitments to sustainability and renewable energy sources, many with targets of meeting 100 percent of their needs with clean energy sources. As documented in 2016 Corporate Advanced Energy Commitments71 of Fortune 100 companies have set renewable energy or sustainability targets, up from 60 just two years ago. Among the Fortune 500, 43 percent, or 215 firms, have made similar commitments. Of these companies, 22 have committed to powering all their operations with renewable energy.

The House-approved energy package includes a voluntary “green pricing” program provision, which will allow companies to purchase additional renewable energy through their utility providers and is poised to attract more private investment to Michigan.

In another new report, Private Procurement, Public Benefit: Integrating Corporate Renewable Energy Purchases with Utility Resource Planning, the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University explains that corporate renewable commitments present challenges but also several opportunities for states to capitalize on these commitments by enabling direct corporate procurement of renewable energy to finance new deployments, if procurements are accounted for in utility planning, reducing the need for additional utility investments to meet electricity demand.

SB 437 and 438 will be immediately sent to the Michigan Senate for an expected vote of concurrence, before heading to Governor Rick Snyder, who is expected to sign the legislation. 

About Advanced Energy Economy
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean and affordable. Advanced energy encompasses a broad range of products and services that constitute the best available technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow. AEE’s mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy businesses. AEE and its State Partner organizations are active in 26 states across the country, representing more than 1,000 organizations in the advanced energy industry. 

About Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council

Michigan EIBC’s mission is to grow Michigan’s advanced energy economy by fostering opportunities for innovation and business growth and offering a unified voice in creating a business-friendly environment for the advanced energy industry in Michigan. Michigan EIBC serves the objectives of our member companies by strengthening Michigan’s network of advanced energy businesses, engaging the public and policymakers around policy and regulatory initiatives, creating partnerships to expand business opportunities, and advancing energy innovation.

Media Contacts:
Monique Hanis, AEE, mhanis@aee.net, 202-391-0884
Liesl Eichler Clark, MiEIBC, liesl@mieibc.org, 517-243-2860