Senate Charts Course for Michigan’s Energy Future

2015 is the most important year for Michigan energy in nearly a decade. With major portions of our state’s landmark 2008 energy law set to expire and nine of Michigan’s existing energy generation plants scheduled for retirement, Governor Snyder and lawmakers are hard at work developing new energy policy that puts Michigan first.

One of the key players in this work is Senate Energy and Technology Committee Chairman Mike Nofs, who recently partnered with Committee Vice Chairman John Proos to release two much-anticipated energy bills (SB 437 and SB 438) dealing with various aspects of Michigan’s energy future.

On July 15, the committee held a hearing regarding the bills, allowing lawmakers from both parties to ask questions of Senator Nofs, Senator Proos, and key legislative staff members.

Hearing Highlights

Chairman Nofs kicked things off by noting that the bills in question are a work in progress—he expects them to evolve as the legislative process moves forward. Some key elements of the draft legislation noted during the Wednesday hearing include:

Both Nofs and Proos repeatedly highlighted the need for any Michigan energy legislation to focus on adaptability, affordability, and reliability—concepts that AMP wholeheartedly supports.

How Does Nofs Solve the Problem of Deregulation?

Senator Nofs commented that while he wanted to honor the commitment made to those who picked the deregulated market, those consumers will need to shoulder the burden to pay for more capacity if they choose to return to local energy providers.

He also noted that our “incumbent utilities” (i.e., DTE Energy and Consumers Energy) have “been with us for 100 years” and provide Michigan with “good-paying jobs that strengthen the middle class.” He added that when some “choice” customers pay for electricity, their money is going out of the state, while utility customer payments are put back into Michigan’s economy.

In closing the hearing, Chairman Nofs stated that there would be many further hearings on the bills, and that future hearings would involve a variety of stakeholders within the state. As with any legislation, there are parts AMP agrees with and parts where we differ, but overall we are glad to see things moving forward in Lansing and will continue to keep you updated as this legislation advances.

What do you make of Senator Nofs’s legislation? Let us know your thoughts and questions today!