Senators and Representatives in Lansing have several significant challenges facing them early in 2016, including the water crisis in Flint and the financial issues affecting Detroit Public Schools. Those issues certainly deserve immediate attention, but so does the need for Lansing to finalize a new comprehensive energy policy for Michigan. Lansing can continue to make passing fair, flexible energy policy a priority even as they deal with other important issues—and below are just a few of the reasons why they should.
Nine coal-fired plants are closing in Michigan this year—that’s enough to serve one million Michiganders who deserve reliable, fairly priced energy. Lansing must act quickly to ensure Michigan is prepared to address this capacity crisis. Local energy providers need a policy framework for building new capacity so they can move forward confidently.
Up to 100 power plants are closing throughout the Midwest in 2016. Michigan isn’t alone in facing power plant closures. Aging facilities and more stringent emissions standards mean capacity is at risk throughout the region.
Michigan’s economy is moving in the right direction…for now. Governor Snyder’s State of the State address celebrated Michigan’s economic recovery, including our status as first in the nation for manufacturing growth. Fair, reliable, flexible energy is essential to keep this growth going strong. Watch the Governor’s full address here.
Under our partially deregulated electric system, 90 percent of Michigan energy consumers have unfairly paid to subsidize the 10 percent of deregulated electric consumers, to the tune of $300 million a year, or more than $1.8 billion. Legislators should address this fundamental unfairness.
Michigan must cut its emissions 31 percent from 2012 levels over the next 14 years. Large-scale renewable projects—like DTE’s 750 MW project in Romulus or the Lansing Board of Water and Light’s planned 186-acre solar array—help Michigan meet these requirements more cost-effectively, keeping energy prices lower for consumers. While local energy providers continue to move forward with these types of investments, having a comprehensive energy policy in place will provide the regulatory certainty needed to encourage and accelerate development of renewables in Michigan.
Can you think of other reasons Lansing should make energy policy a priority in the first half of 2016? Share your thoughts here.