Governor Snyder announced Tuesday that the Michigan Agency for Energy and Department of Environmental Quality will create a state implementation plan (SIP) to comply with the EPA Clean Power Plan. Last month, EPA finalized a rule calling for a 32 percent reduction in carbon emissions from power plants by 2030. States have until 2018 to finalize their own plan of compliance, or risk allowing the federal government to create a plan for them.
Michigan EIBC commended these actions as “proactive,” and stated that they hope than any SIP will incorporate the lowest cost strategies to comply, like increased energy waste reduction and the deployment of more renewable energy.
The Institute for Energy Innovation – a Michigan non-profit organization – recently released a whitepaper outlining the lowest cost options for Michigan to comply with the EPA rule, including energy waste reduction, new wind and solar generation, and the use of natural gas in cogeneration, where both heat and electricity are generated. The report noted that accounting for future natural gas price projections and the uncertainty around those prices should counsel against simply switching from coal to gas as not in the best interests of Michigan ratepayers.
While Governor Snyder has decided to comply with the Clean Power Plan, the Michigan Senate Energy and Technology Committee is considering legislation to repeal both the renewable portfolio standard and energy optimization standard for electric providers, as well as dismantling Michigan’s net metering law. Michigan is already well on its way towards complying with the Clean Power Plan because of these standards.
The Michigan Senate Energy and Technology Committee took one last week of testimony on Senate Bill 438. Michigan EIBC member Mike Linsea of Solar Winds Power Systems, LLC, spoke out against the legislation, particularly his opposition to the current net metering program with a system that would require solar owners to sell their power to their utility at the lower wholesale rate, and then have to buy it back at a higher, retail rate – a change that would decimate rooftop solar deployment in Michigan.
The Committee’s work will now focus on Senate Bill 437, a bill that will place new requirements on energy suppliers within the choice market, and create a new integrated resource planning process for future energy policy decisions.
The Committee may no longer be taking testimony, but you can still have your voice heard. Send your Senators a letter sharing your views on the proposed legislation. They need to hear from you! You can find your Senator here (and make sure to contact the Senator who represents both your home and your business!).
A group of two Republicans and two Democrats representing both Michigan peninsulas announced an “Energy Freedom Package,” four bills that will remove certain legal barriers so consumers of energy can more easily generate and supplement their own energy needs through advanced energy.
The package to be introduced next week by Representatives Scott Dianda (D-Calumet), Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), Gary Glenn (R-Midland), and Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) includes:
1.A bill from to increase caps on net metering (Rep. McBroom)
2.A bill to allow community energy gardens across Michigan (Rep. Glenn)
3.A bill to create a mechanism for fair value pricing for distributed generation systems up to 500KW. This pricing methodology accounts for the value of the renewable energy, its delivery, generation capacity, transmission capacity, transmission and distribution line losses, environmental value, and other values not always considered in current energy prices. (Rep. Irwin)
4.A bill to create mechanism for fair value pricing for systems over 500KW with options for combined heat and power. The pricing methodology for this bill does not include transmission. Utilities would also have the option to decline net metering if the generating system is over 500KW and there is a fair value price or standard offer contract available. (Rep. Dianda)