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New energy policy would get rid of Michigan’s renewable energy mandate

Jul 2, 2015

Credit Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Under current state law, utilities in Michigan must get 10% of their power from renewable sources, like wind and solar, by the end of the year.  

After a year of work, Republican lawmakers have outlined an energy policy to replace Michigan’s renewable energy standard.

State Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, says the new policy wouldn’t require utilities to have a certain amount of renewable energy, like wind or solar.

“What I think we’re doing is trying to give as much flexibility to the public policy itself to adapt to the changing federal rules,” Proos said.

The federal government is proposing major cuts to carbon emissions over the next decade.

Instead of a renewable mandate, Proos says the new policy considers carbon emissions, price and reliability.

“It really is our best opportunity to put ourselves in the position for the future of energy in the state of Michigan,” he said. Proos says reliability and price will be important considerations as federal regulations on carbon are finalized.

League of Conservation Voters Deputy Director Jack Schmitt says they’d like to see a renewable mandate continue.

“Moving towards these forms of energy is actually critical for lowering overall costs for consumers,” he said.

“It redefines ‘clean energy’ to include burning coal, tires and other hazardous waste that will increase toxic pollution in the air we breathe and the water we drink, undermining the success of our state’s clean energy sector and putting our health at risk,” Schmitt said.

He supports a bill Democrats introduced this spring that would require 20% renewables by 2022. But that bill hasn’t moved out of committee.