Michigan’s Major Energy Milestones

*Updated on February 17 to reflect the Supreme Court’s stay of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

Three major factors will have significant consequences for Michigan’s energy future in 2016:

Each of these things affects Michigan’s ability to determine and sustain its own energy future, and AMP believes our elected leaders must continue to make energy policy a priority even as we address other important issues.

EPA Plans On Hold*

Governor Snyder has recently indicated that he will suspend work on Michigan’s plan for meeting the EPA’s federal emissions regulations proposed last year.

The Governor had previously indicated his administration would submit Michigan’s plan by September to ensure Michigan retained the ability to decide how it would meet the new EPA standards.  However, given the Supreme Court’s stay of the Clean Power Plan, the Governor has put development of the Michigan plan on hold until the pending legal actions are resolved and the Supreme Court lifts its stay.

Federal regulations and our response to them have an enormous impact on our ability to make the energy decisions that are best for our state, so look for more on this as we move forward in 2016.

Capacity Crisis Adds Urgency

Among the nine power plants that will close in 2016 (with 16 more to follow between 2017 and 2020), Consumers Energy will shut down its “Classic Seven” coal-fired power plants in 2016.  The closure of these plants alone will create a three-gigawatt capacity shortage, most of which is concentrated in Lower Michigan. Local energy providers are looking for ways to replace that as well the additional capacity lost once all 25 generating units close over the coming years.

Building new energy capacity takes time—after it takes roughly five years to bring one new natural gas plant online. The federal and state approval processes for new baseload plants are already lengthy, and the capacity crisis is on our doorstep.  Local energy providers need a road map for the state’s energy strategy before they can fully commit to building the infrastructure to meet Michigan’s future energy needs. 

Key Components of Smart Energy Policy

As we noted in our previous post about the Clean Power Plan, energy policy must address two important issues overlooked in the 2008 legislation:

Senator Nofs is poised to restart hearings on energy legislation in February. We hope to see the House leadership follow his lead and ensure both chambers can come to agreement on a final legislative package sooner rather than later this year.  Whatever path energy policy takes for Michigan, our elected leaders need to work together to ensure we are looking at the whole picture, not just individual pieces.

What do you think is the most important energy milestone for Michigan this year?  Tell us what you think.