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Fall Energy Policy Forecast

Implementing 2016’s landmark energy law continues to be a top priority in Lansing.

Legislative calendars and priorities often shift as new issues unfold, but here’s a quick overview of what we’re expecting legislators and regulators to focus on during the remainder of the 2017 session.

Integrated Resource Plans

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) has begun the regulatory process to define and formalize requirements for Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs). These plans will enable energy providers to “propose new electricity generation sources” based on the most cost-efficient resources.

Mandated under last year’s energy law, IRPs will allow local energy providers to “assess the full range of energy generation and savings options, including renewable energy and energy efficiency programs,” in order to maximize our state’s energy resources to meet our capacity needs. The MPSC is accepting comments from the public through October 6, and the deadline for replies to comments is October 20.

Demonstrating Capacity

As part of the continued implementation of last year’s energy law, all energy providers—local ones as well as out-of-state companies—must demonstrate to the MPSC that they are able to provide the level of capacity needed to serve their Michigan customers.

The MPSC has been working with the Midcontinent Independent Service Operator (MISO), which oversees the electrical transmission networks across much of the Midwest and parts of the South, to determine a uniform methodology for energy providers to prove they can meet their customers’ capacity needs.

Once the MPSC and MISO have a finalized methodology, the MPSC will require energy companies to meet a certain capacity demonstration requirement. What does this requirement mean? All Michigan homes and businesses will have the energy they need, regardless of which energy company supplies it.

On Friday, September 15, the MSPC announced its ruling requiring all state electric providers to demonstrate the ability to guarantee capacity for their customers for at least four years. Beginning in 2022, out-of-state energy providers will also be required to maintain local generating capacity to ensure reliability for Michigan consumers. The MPSC’s ruling is a vital step forward—confirming the intent of the 2016 energy law—but it appears some legislators, including Representative Gary Glenn, may seek to challenge the MPSC’s ruling.

New Energy Legislation on the Horizon?

Earlier this spring, State Representative Triston Cole (R-105) introduced legislation in the Michigan House designed to encourage the siting of new transmission lines. This is one of 25 bills or resolutions currently before the committee. As the committee continues its work this fall, AMP will remain focused on making sure any new legislation aligns with the 2016 law and its IRP process. It’s too soon now to tell how far these bills will go, but we’ll be keeping an eye on it and updating you on developments.

As lawmakers and regulators continue to implement Michigan’s energy law, we want to know if you have any questions about the policies or processes involved. Email us your thoughts, questions, or concerns at info@allianceformichiganpower.com.