MONROE — State Representative Bill LaVoy (D-Monroe) hosted a public discussion forum last week on the topic of Michigan’s energy future. Michigan’s renewable energy standard stops increasing at the end of the year, and there has been a lot of discussion in Lansing about how to proceed. LaVoy and his colleagues previously announced a proposal to increase the renewable standard, set higher targets for energy efficiency and ensure affordability for electric consumers.

“Renewable energy has driven investment in our state and created jobs, so we can’t let our current standard expire without a new plan in place,” LaVoy said. “We have the opportunity to increase our renewable energy production, put more people to work, improve the environment and reduce our dependence on imported energy sources.”

Joining LaVoy were several presenters who discussed their organization’s concerns regarding energy policy. Irene Dimitry, vice president of business planning and development for DTE Energy, discussed transitioning away from coal and Michigan’s customer choice energy framework; Jack Schmitt of the League of Conservation Voters spoke about preserving the environment as we expand energy production responsibly; Dean Bradley of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and Jim Harrison and Mike Smith of the Utility Workers Union of America talked about how good-paying jobs translate to better energy outcomes; and Danielle Conroyd from the River Raisin Institute discussed the importance of having an energy policy that promotes sustainable lifestyles. There was also a public comment period.

“As we saw, there are a lot of things to consider when charting a new course for Michigan’s energy needs,” LaVoy said. “We had a great discussion, and I look forward to taking these ideas and concerns back to Lansing as we debate the best way forward.”