What Will 2016 Mean for Michigan Energy?
With the holidays behind us, we look again to Lansing to ensure that the momentum built in the fall around comprehensive energy legislation continues in early 2016. We were hopeful that legislators would be able to finalize and pass these bills before the end of last year. Despite delays, lawmakers in Lansing are confident that a vote can occur by spring.
Final Energy Legislation Is Within Reach
While the debate and process around energy legislation can be complicated, the goals of good energy policy are straightforward. To meet our energy needs now and in the future, we need an energy policy out of Lansing that addresses the three Fs we discussed last year—fairness, future, and flexibility:
- Protecting Michigan families and businesses by ensuring energy remains fairly priced, reliable and affordable.
- Enabling us to proactively address the energy issues we face as a state now and in the future, including our projected capacity shortfall.
- Allowing us to continue incorporating renewable energy sources in a flexible, reasonable way to secure a sustainable energy future for our state.
Legislators must make passing energy policy a priority in the coming months because building new generation capabilities takes time, and we need to prepare for Michigan’s future energy needs now. The fact that this is an election year only complicates matters further, making it even more urgent that lawmakers get the job done sooner rather than later.
Energy Progress in 2016
As we await the final moves from legislators in Lansing on current energy policy proposals, Michigan will see a number of key energy developments this year:
- Governor Snyder Leads on Energy. Next week, Governor Snyder will deliver his State of the State address in Lansing. In last year’s address, the Governor laid out energy policy as a priority—so what will he say this year? Tune in to the Governor’s speech to hear more on Tuesday, January 19, at 7 p.m. We’ll also have a full recap for you following the address.
- Good News on the Renewables Front. Many lawmakers in Michigan have rightly cheered the good news from World Research Institute (WRI), which shows Michigan on track to comply with the EPA’s new Clean Power Plan through at least 2025. Given the investments local energy providers are making in renewable energy—including plans for the largest solar array in Michigan (and east of the Mississippi)—we can expect to see even more progress on the renewables front throughout 2016.
- The Time to Act Is Now. Resting on our laurels could be a costly mistake, as Michigan faces the closure of nine coal-fired power plants in the first half of this year. These closures will contribute to a 1.3GW capacity shortfall that must be addressed with new baseload plants; building new plants takes at least four years. Lansing must enact comprehensive energy policy as soon as possible to allow our local energy providers to keep energy reliable for all Michiganders.
- Revamping Our Approach to Low-income Energy Assistance. In 2016, state lawmakers will be taking a close look at Michigan’s energy assistance policies, including how funding for energy assistance is distributed throughout the state via the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
Keep Up the Good Work!
2016 is likely to see a lot of energy developments for Michigan, and we’ll let you know when it’s time to come together to make our voices heard. Until then, thanks for your continued support through this long process.