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Environmental group says new energy law is pretty good

Dec 21, 2016

The Michigan Environmental Council says energy legislation signed into law by Governor Snyder on Wednesday is a vast improvement over earlier versions.

The initial package proposed to eliminate Michigan's 10% renewable energy mandate, as well as eliminate a mandate to reduce electricity demand by one percent per year.

Instead, after months of negotiations, the renewable mandate was boosted, to 15% by the year 2021, and electric utilities must still reduce demand by at least one percent a year.

People who want to install solar panels and hook up to the electric grid can still do so under the current payment scheme for the next two and a half years. 

After that, the Michigan Public Service Commission will finalize a new scheme.  James Clift, Policy Director for the MEC, says it's likely it will compensate homeowners more or less depending on the time of day they make their electricity available to the grid.

Clift hopes the renewable and efficiency mandates in the new law will also slow the pace of increases in electric bills.  On average, residential electric rates went up 7% a year for the past 8 years.

He says one disappointment was the lack of a provision to reduce peak demand during the hot summer months.