ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Michigan Deal To Preserve New Energy
Electricity choice on the chopping block in Michigan as state debates reliability, renewables; Clean energy and efficiency could be the key to unlocking a bitter dispute over reliability and choice in the Great Lakes State.
Herman K. Trabish, September 8, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Michigan lawmakers passed these bills after this story ran. A compromise very much like the one described here put in place a 15% renewables by 2022 mandate and a voluntary 30% by 2025 goal. The 10% energy choice provision remains but providers must meet the new requirements.
Michigan faces an energy transformation. Two expansive proposals — Senate Bills 437 and 438 — have very different aims. SB 437 focuses on managing the state’s regulated electric utilities and the deregulated alternative electricity suppliers (AESs) who provide electricity to the 10% of customers enrolled in Michigan’s Electric Choice program. SB 438, meanwhile, centers on updating Michigan’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards, along with its solar net metering policy.
DTE Energy and Consumers Energy, the state’s two dominant investor-owned utilities, have focused their lobbying efforts on SB 437, worried that electric reliability could be threatened by proposals from Energy Choice Now (ECN), a nonprofit group that advocates for energy choice. The utilities have shown less engagement with the renewable energy debates in SB 438. The Clean and Efficient Energy Act (SB 438), is much less controversial and more wide-ranging legislation. Its most-discussed provision would increase the state’s 10% renewables by 2015 mandate to 30% renewables and energy efficiency by 2025. But it would also change the mandate to a voluntary goal — one that critics say would be met with a combination of market forces and efficiency gains even if no legislation existed. If the GOP leadership and utilities would push for stronger renewable energy and efficiency provisions, observers said there could be a deal struck to advance clean energy in exchange for changes to the choice program in SB 437… click here for more