Reform in energy laws could cut power costs, create jobs

LANSING – A bipartisan group of lawmakers, clean energy advocates and business leaders applauded the energy package that becomes effective today, noting the new laws expand clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency, which will create jobs and reduce electricity costs, and protect our air, land and Great Lakes.

“The energy laws will keep our state competitive and send a clear message to clean energy businesses across the country that Michigan is open for business,” said Sen. Dale Zorn (R-Ida). “The energy laws increase the renewable energy standard to 15 percent by 2021, which will help Michigan’s emerging renewable energy sector continue to grow.”

The laws increase the renewable energy standard from 10 percent to 15 percent by 2021 and set a 35 percent combined renewable energy and energy efficiency goal. They also expand Michigan’s highly successful energy efficiency programs by removing the two percent spending cap for energy waste reduction.

“The energy laws that take effect today will help rein in rising electricity costs, create jobs and promote cleaner air by expanding energy efficiency,” said Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D-Taylor). “The energy efficiency standards have saved ratepayers more than $5 billion since they were enacted in 2009, and we look forward to continued savings through these programs.”

Prices for clean, renewable energy, like wind and solar, are now cheaper than coal and even natural gas, according to the most recent Lazard Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis. The Michigan Public Service Commission also reported in February 2017 that renewable energy combined with energy efficiency is significantly cheaper than any other type of electricity generation.

“Growth in corporate demand for advanced energy, and continued declines in cost have combined to move ‘alternative’ energy firmly into the mainstream,” said Liesl Clark, president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council. “The passage of legislation that boosts the renewable energy standard and reduces energy waste will create advanced energy jobs right here in Michigan.”

“With this package, lawmakers have put our state on a path toward an ‘all of the above’ Michigan-first energy policy that will secure affordable, abundant and reliable energy,” said Larry Ward, executive director of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum. “Expanding clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency will not only make our state more competitive, attracting jobs and investment, but will help drive down electricity costs and protect ratepayers.”