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‘We’d like it to be a mandate’: Michigan bills will seek 100% clean energy by 2035

Speeding Michigan’s energy transition away from reliables to renewables is the top aim of the Clean Energy Future Plan

Michigan Senate Democrats last week offered a package of bills that would translate Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Healthy Climate Plan into the law of the land.

The path, in the words of its architects, includes blanket allowances for farmers to rent land for solar, reducing home heating emissions by 17% by 2030, and a 100% clean energy standard by 2035. But no such bills have been submitted as yet.

“Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Michigan Healthy Climate Plan was developed with the input of hundreds of stakeholders across Michigan,” said Sen. Shink, D-Northfield Township, at a press conference announcing the bill package.

“The recommendations, which I am working with colleagues to make law, will make our homes and businesses more comfortable and reduce energy costs while improving the reliability of energy delivery.”

Shink and Senate Majority Leader Sam Singh, D-East Lansing, are taking the lead on the bills.

Speeding Michigan’s energy transition away from reliable energy sources to renewables is its top aim.

Three bullet points from the plan include:

  • Cleaning the Electrical Grid: Phase out of coal-fired electricity generating plants by 2030, require utilities to make progress toward the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions from power generation by 2035, and develop a 100% clean energy standard by 2035.

  • Repair and Decarbonize Homes and Businesses: Reduce emissions related to heating Michigan homes and businesses by 17% by 2030 by developing a Michigan Construction Decarbonization Strategic Plan.

  • Codify Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s PA 116 Program: Allow farmers to rent land for solar operations while maintaining preservation of farmland enrolled in the PA 116 program.

As for the 100% renewable-by-2035 standard, Singh said “it’s time for us to be moving beyond just goals.”

We'd like it to be a mandate," Singh said, as quoted by Bridge Michigan reporter Jonathan Oosting.

Officially, the plan has yet to take form. Neither Shink nor Singh has submitted a bill covering these topics, as of April 14. They described the effort as a bill package, so presumably at least two bills are coming.

The MI Healthy Climate Plan, published last year by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, is where the Whitmer administration announced plans to get 2 million electric vehicles on Michigan roads in 2030.

The Michigan Public Service Commission, a three-member board appointed by Whitmer, has enlisted the commission in that effort too. And it was at direction of the commission that DTE Energy made its March move to peak-hour billing mandatory. Peak-hour prices in the summer months will now approach California levels.

DTE-installed EV charging stations, though, are exempt from the up-charge, and they will be powered more cheaply than air conditioners in the summer months.

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.