Positive Energy Policies Advance in 2021

2021 was full of policy achievements in both Lansing and Washington, D.C. Here is a recap of the policy developments that will impact Michigan’s near-term energy future and our state’s ability to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Congress Invests in Clean Energy Infrastructure

After months of negotiations, Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)—also known as the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Signed into law on November 15, 2021 this legislation will help Michigan and other states cut carbon emissions by investing in:

The legislation will also help local electricity providers improve grid resiliency and transmission infrastructure.

Congress could also enact the Build Back Better (BBB) Act, also known as the reconciliation package, which includes additional clean energy policies. Proposed tax credits would encourage investments in solar, nuclear, and other clean energy, as well as promote carbon capture and sequestration. These policies, if enacted, would help electricity customers in Michigan save money and speed the retirement of coal plants.

Workgroups of Michigan’s Council on Climate Solutions Make Energy Recommendations

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) will soon be creating the MI Healthy Climate Plan, building on recommendations from five broad-based advisory workgroups. Several recommendations could support Michigan’s progress to net zero, while helping to ensure that electricity remains affordable and reliable. Key policy recommendations include:

We’ll be watching to see which recommendations make it into the final MI Healthy Climate Plan—and how these recommendations lead to policy actions and new investments.

Lansing Lawmakers Take Smart Approach to Energy in 2021

In Lansing, state lawmakers considered several policies in 2021 to help Michigan reach our net zero goal. The state’s new budget, passed in September, provides funding to the Michigan Public Service Commission to conduct a study on the local development and use of renewable natural gas (RNG), also known as biogas.

RNG is derived from organic waste, such as compost, food waste, yard debris, and other animal- and plant-based materials. It has the potential to serve as a renewable supply of carbon-neutral natural gas. The state study represents an important step in making this innovative fuel source part of Michigan’s clean energy future.

While energy policies are generally moving in a positive direction, some municipal and state policy proposals arose that could undermine the fairness, affordability, and reliability of electricity—and impede our state’s progress toward net zero emissions. In recent years, private out-of-state rooftop solar companies have pushed for profit-driven policies under the guise of supporting clean energy in Michigan. These misguided policies would benefit these companies at the expense of Michiganders, as well as limiting access to large-scale universal solar power. For now, these policy proposals did not advance, but we will continue to monitor and respond to proposals that threaten access to affordable, reliable electricity.

Looking Ahead to 2022

In 2022, the Alliance for Michigan Power will continue to support policies that promote the availability of all forms of power that will help our state reach net zero. We will also keep the AMP community updated about the implementation of the federal infrastructure bill.

We expect lawmakers to consider a proposal help expand access to natural gas for Michiganders who live in unserved and hard-to-reach areas, especially in the Upper Peninsula. Unfortunately, this proposal was not included in the budget. Low-emission natural gas is a reliable, affordable source of energy that will play an important role as state energy providers continue to increase the availability of renewable energy.

We’ll be keeping a sharp eye on energy policy discussions in Lansing—and will let you know when we need your help. We’re on the right track in Michigan, and your participation helps us continue moving toward our clean energy future.

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