Michigan beefs up state renewable policy, raises RPS

By Anna Simet | December 27, 2016

Early this week, Michigan legislators overhauled state energy policy, approving a 234-page plan that was signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder on Dec. 21.

In the works for more than two years and including updates to key provisions of the state’s existing energy laws, Senate Bills 437 and 438— sponsored by state Sens. Mike Nofs and John Proos, respectively—focus on the use of clean and renewable energy resources and reducing energy waste, and modify laws related to utility rate cases and protecting electric choice.

The previous renewable portfolio standard (RPS) Michigan enacted in 2008 has been raised from 10 percent by 2015 to 15 percent by 2020. Other components include: reducing energy waste by providing incentives for utilities to enhance current programs and meet needs via the cheapest, cleanest resources; ensuring a reliable energy supply by requiring all electric providers to have adequate resources to avoid blackouts/brownouts, using a market-driven approach; allowing regulated utilities to use on-bill financing programs for utility customers, allowing them to finance energy waste reduction projects (through an itemized charge on their utility bills; requiring utilities to develop a long-term planning process that includes comparing projects to alternatives; provide greater energy security through the use of indigenous energy resources available within the state; encourage private investment in renewable energy and remove unnecessary burdens on the appropriate use of solid waste.

The measures are now Public Acts 341 and 342 of 2016.