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Michigan Dems File Bills to Double Renewable Energy, Efficiency Standards

May 4, 2015


Brief:

  • Democrats in Michigan’s House and Senate have introduced a package of bills aimed at boosting the state’s clean energy economy and increasing the use of renewable energy.
  • The legislative package, dubbed “Powering Michigan’s Future,” would increase the state’s renewable energy standard to 20% by 2022 and double efficiency standards.
  • Clean energy and efficiency are billion-dollar industries in Michigan, with about $3 billion in private funds invested in green power over the last seven years, according to lawmakers.


Insight:

Michigan Democrats have proposed legislation that would double the state’s energy efficiency standards, building on a set of principles crafted last month designed to boost renewables and lure clean-energy investment and business to the state.

The bills are “all about saving Michigan families and businesses money by managing rising energy costs,” Rep. Bill LaVoy, Democratic vice chairman of the House Energy Policy Committee, said in a press release.

According to Democrats in both houses, since 2008 the state has experienced almost $3 billion in private-sector investment in clean energy, while progress in technology and private-sector competition have helped drive down the cost of cleaner power. The lawmakers believe the bills will help Michigan save more than $1 billion over the next three years by reducing energy waste.

“Michigan’s current clean energy policy expires this year, and the time to act is now to make electricity more affordable and grow our economy,” Rep. Sam Singh (D), said in the statement. “We have a real opportunity to grow Michigan businesses that are already manufacturing and installing products like energy efficient appliances and windows, and components for wind turbines and solar panels.”

Both houses of Michigan’s legislature are controlled by the GOP, and Republican Governor Rick Snyder was reelected in 2014, meaning that it’s unlikely the Democrats’ proposal will become law. The governor and his Democratic rivals appear to be closer together on energy policy than in many other states, with Snyder releasing a blueprint last month to increase investment in renewables, fill a looming capacity hole, and move Michigan away from coal power. The state faces up to a 3 GW shortfall next year.

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