Michigan lawmakers OK renewable energy plan



(The Center Square) – The Michigan Legislature has approved renewable energy bills aiming to enact a 100% clean energy standard by 2040 over Republican objection.

A carbon-neutral energy standard is sought by 204.

Senate Bills 271, 273, 277, 502 and 519 were approved.

SB271 seeks to require an electric provider to achieve a clean energy portfolio of 80% in 2035 through 2039 and 100% in 2040. SB273 aims to boost energy waste reduction and SB277 aims to allow farmers to lease land for solar operations.

“This practical policy is pro-farm, pro-environment and – most importantly – it respects owners’ property rights. Farm owners needing solar as an income source should have that option without being forced to lose their heritage farmland status,” Sen. McDonald Rivet, D-Bay City, said in a statement. “For many, the additional revenue from solar makes it financially possible to keep that land in their families now and for generations to come.”

SB502 aims to require the Michigan Public Service Commission in its Integrated Resource Planning process to add affordability and overall cost-effectiveness to its consideration as well as require utilities to meet clean energy standards.

SB519 aims to create a fifth new government agency since 2020. The Community and Worker Economic Transition Office would help people who lose their jobs in the auto, construction, and energy sectors during the renewable energy transition.

“These bills represent significant progress in ensuring more affordable, reliable and sustainable energy in Michigan, creating job opportunities and supporting our workers in the transition to clean energy production in the process,” Sen. Sam Singh, D-East Lansing, said in a statement.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer welcomed the bills heading to her desk.

“With passage of these game-changing bills, Michigan will become a national leader on clean energy,” Whitmer said in a statement. “These bills will help us make more clean, reliable energy right here in Michigan, creating tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, and lowering utility costs for every Michigander by an average of $145 a year. Getting this done will also reduce our reliance on foreign fuel sources, while protecting our air, water and public health.”

The package pairs with House Bills 5120, 5121, 5122 and 5123, which aim to give the Public Service Commission power to override local opposition to wind or solar energy facilities and energy storage facilities with a capacity of 100 megawatts or more. The process will, if signed into law, preempt local zoning or regulation of such facilities.

Sen. Lana Theis, R-Brighton, warned that reaching Michigan’s energy goal might require about 209,000 additional acres of land for wind and solar generation to achieve 60% of energy from renewable sources, according to MPSC Chairman Dan Scripps.

“Green energy idealogues don’t care about the costs that must be borne by hardworking taxpayers to achieve their goals,” Theis said in a statement. “The reality is hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland will need to be sacrificed upon the altar of green energy to locate unsightly and arguably ineffective solar and wind farms.”



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