Plan Boosting Efficient, Renewable Energy Gains House Dem Support

Bipartisan legislation promotes green jobs, more affordable energy
Thursday, December 15, 2016

LANSING — Members of the House Democratic Caucus voted in support of a new energy policy that would increase the renewable energy standard and provide utilities with incentives to become more energy efficient. The energy plan could lead to job growth in the renewable energy industry and lead to cheaper, more reliable energy for Michigan families and businesses.

“Michigan has needed a new, forward-looking energy policy for some time now, and this plan moves us in the right direction,” said House Democratic Floor Leader Sam Singh (D-East Lansing), who will become the House Democratic Leader in January. “This is a bipartisan compromise that will increase the renewable energy portfolio standard, give utility companies incentives to become more energy efficient and provide customers with reliable and affordable energy. There are still ways in which we can improve our energy policy, but the plan we voted on today is an improvement over our existing policy.”

Highlights of the plan include:

  • Renewable Energy Portfolio: Utility companies will increase their renewable energy portfolio to 15 percent from the current 10 percent by 2021.
  • Energy Efficiency: Utility companies will be offered incentives in order to become more energy efficient.
  • Energy Affordability: The Michigan Public Service Commission found that for every dollar spent on energy efficiency, consumers save nearly $4 in reduced energy usage, resulting in lower bills for families and businesses.
  • Green Energy Jobs: By increasing the renewable energy standard, jobs will be created at businesses that produce wind turbines, solar panels and other clean energy components.

“This energy plan represents a strong step forward for Michigan, and gives us room to grow our renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts,” said state Rep. Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills), who will serve as the House Democratic Floor Leader in 2017-18. “As a result of this policy, Michigan will be better positioned to become a leader in renewable energy, and our families and businesses will be reassured that their energy will be affordable and reliable.”

The bill was the result of a bipartisan effort to build an energy policy that balances the needs for increased renewable energy and energy efficiency and the desire for electric choice among some energy customers.

“The new energy policy reassures energy consumers that their lights will come on when they flip the switch, and that their bills will be affordable,” said Bill LaVoy (D-Monroe), the Democratic vice chairman of the House Energy Committee. “This energy bill also shows that bipartisan compromise works, and that it benefits the people of Michigan.”