Michigan is set to become a national leader in clean energy and climate action, as the state House passed a landmark bill on November 3 that would require all utilities to get 100% of their electricity from carbon-free sources by 2040. The bill, which now heads to the governor’s desk, also includes provisions for energy efficiency, energy storage, distributed generation, and low-income assistance.
The bill, dubbed the Clean Energy Future Act, is part of a package of legislation that was introduced in February by a bipartisan group of lawmakers. The package aims to align Michigan’s energy policy with the goals of the Paris Agreement and the Biden administration’s clean energy agenda. The package also reflects the overwhelming public support for clean energy in Michigan, where more than 80% of voters favor increasing the use of renewable energy sources.
The Clean Energy Future Act would establish a 50% renewable energy standard by 2030, which would increase the current target of 15% by 2021. It would also set an energy storage standard of 2.5 GW by 2030, which would be the largest in the nation. The bill would also boost distributed generation such as rooftop solar, by raising the cap on net metering and allowing for community solar projects. Additionally, the bill would increase electric utility energy efficiency savings requirements and goals, and allow for health and safety measures and building electrification programs for low-income residents.
The bill has received strong support from the solar and storage industry, environmental groups, and consumer advocates, who praised it as a historic step forward for Michigan’s clean energy economy. “This is a historic moment for Michigan. The Clean Energy Future bills will put Michigan on the path to 100% clean energy, create thousands of good-paying jobs, lower energy bills, and protect our health and environment from the impacts of climate change,” said Becky Stanfield, senior director of Western states at Vote Solar.
The bill also has the backing of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has pledged to sign it into law. Whitmer has been a vocal advocate for clean energy and climate action, and has set a goal of making Michigan carbon-neutral by 2050. “Michigan is poised to become a national leader in clean energy and climate action. These bills will help the state transition to a carbon-free electricity system that is reliable, affordable, and equitable for all Michiganders,” said Samantha Williams, Midwest director of the Climate & Clean Energy Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
If the governor signs the Clean Energy Future Act, Michigan will join 11 other states with commitments to 100% clean or renewable energy, including California, Hawaii, New York, and Virginia. The bill will also position Michigan as a key player in the global effort to combat climate change, as the world prepares for the COP26 summit in Glasgow later this month. “These bills are a win-win for Michigan’s economy and environment. They will spur innovation and investment in clean energy technologies, create good-paying jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We commend the House for passing these bills and look forward to working with the Senate and the governor to make them a reality,” said Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
– Michigan’s 100% clean energy bill heads to governor’s desk, Solar Power World, November 6, 2023
– Michigan House Passes Clean Energy Future Bills, Putting the State on the Path to 100% Clean Energy, NRDC, November 3, 2023
– Michigan House passes climate change reform, mandating clean energy by 2040, Bridge Michigan, November 3, 2023
– Revised clean energy package passes Michigan House, WEMU, November 3, 2023