Lansing Debates Michigan’s Looming Energy Shortfall

On February 25, the Michigan House Energy Committee held a hearing on Michigan’s coming energy shortfall, which featured testimony from Michigan’s two largest energy providers—DTE Energy and Consumers Energy—detailing the challenges their companies and customers are facing, as well as needed regulatory reforms.

This week, the Committee took up this issue once again, hosting a panel of experts from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), which regulates electricity in the Midwest region.

MISO Central Region Executive Director Melissa Seymour confirmed the capacity challenges ahead for Michigan and the Midwest, telling the Committee that the capacity shortfalls that will result from 9 plant closures in Michigan and many more across the region are “what keeps MISO up at night.” She also cited both a lack of investment and certainty as to how and when this capacity will be replaced as issues of primary concern for MISO.

“We’re not crying wolf yet,” she said, but if “we don’t do something, then we’re going to see an issue.”

MPSC Commissioner Sally Talberg stated that the imminent “major shift” in regional energy supplies would leave Michigan with too little in reserve electricity capacity, which is needed during peak demand times. The question, she emphasized, is “do we build more generation?” And, “if so, who…[and] what type?”

These are indeed the key questions—ones that AMP has been asking all along. With the nine coal-fired power plants scheduled to close and new federal regulations creating additional challenges, addressing our state’s energy shortfall in ways that protect the affordability and reliability of electricity for all consumers is paramount.

The Time for Action is Now

The recent Upper Peninsula capacity crisis clearly demonstrates the dangers the rest of Michigan faces if action is not taken. Michigan needs a smart, comprehensive energy plan that accounts for all Michigan families and businesses, promotes economic growth and job creation, and fosters a bright energy future

Governor Snyder will likely present his own thoughts about the capacity crisis later in March as part of his upcoming energy message. AMP will continue to serve as the voice of Michigan’s consumers, businesses and local energy providers to promote the best policy solutions for all Michiganders.

This issue is a priority focus for AMP, so watch for more information in the weeks and months ahead.