MichiganVotes Bills

Michigan bill would require 100% renewables by 2035

Senate Bill 271 takes two different views on nuclear: It’s not renewable before 2035, but is renewable afterward

Sen. Sam Singh, D-East Lansing, announced in April a coming bill package that would require Michigan energy companies to have a 100% renewable portfolio by 2035 — a little more than a decade from now.

“We’d like it to be a mandate,” Singh told reporters.

Sen. Erika Geiss, D-Taylor, submitted Senate Bill 271 April 19. The bill requires Michigan energy companies to “achieve a renewable energy portfolio” of 100% by 2035.

That’s up from just 12.5% in 2019 and 2020.

Read it for yourself: Senate Bill 271

Michigan Democrats have pursued such a mandate before, in House Bill 6524 of 2022, which used almost identical language.

Last year, Democrats were the minority party. In 2023 Lansing, they hold all the gavels.

To reach the 100% target, in 2035 and after, energy companies must use “approved” nuclear energy toward their renewable tally.

“A renewable energy plan starting in 2035 credits approved nuclear energy toward the clean energy requirement or renewable portfolio plan,” the bill reads.

Before 2035, however, nuclear doesn’t qualify as “renewable.”

“Renewable energy resource does not include petroleum, nuclear, natural gas, or coal,” the bill reads. “A renewable energy resource comes from the sun or from thermal inertia of the earth and minimizes the output of toxic material in the conversion of the energy...”

The bill makes the transition to renewables eligible for cost recovery by the utilities. This means utilities would be allowed to raise rates to recover the costs of compliance. If cost recovery efforts fall short, the utility can petition for an adjustment.

The bill preserves the status quo for the rate of return on equity for utilities.

“The recovery shall include, but is not limited to, the electric provider's authorized rate of return on equity for costs approved under this section, which shall remain fixed at the rate of return and debt to equity ratio that was in effect in the electric provider's base rates when the electric provider's renewable energy plan was approved,” the bill reads.

SB 271 was referred to the Senate Energy Committee.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.