Senator Nofs’ energy package leaves much to be desired

Added July 22nd, 2015 by Shannon Nobles | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Shannon Nobles

The two-bill energy package (Senate Bill 437 and Senate Bill 438) recently proposed by Senate Energy and Technology Committee Chair, Senator Mike Nofs, is bad policy because it not only reverses Michigan’s clean energy goals, which research shows are having a positive impact on the state, but changes the definition of clean energy to include burning tires.

The League’s concern with this package of bills is that, while we’d like to be optimistic that renewables and energy efficiency are included in the Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) –  essentially an energy planning tool which includes a statewide planning process filed by utilities and overseen by the Public Service Commission — without a mandate there is no guarantee. It is important that a higher mandate is set for renewable energy, as well as a structure of accountability to meet the standard being put in place.

Not only does this package repeal Michigan’s renewable energy standard, which will increase pollution, kill jobs and increase costs for families and businesses, it will also destroy Michigan’s highly successful energy efficiency programs. The destruction of these programs will lead to increased utility bills and more pollution, while simultaneously sending clean energy jobs to other states. Low-income families have a hard enough time making ends meet, so the cost savings from energy efficiency programs is crucial.

As noted by the League previously, increasing the renewable portfolio standard is vital to the health of our communities and positive economic effects in the state. Supporters of the Senate energy package are optimistic that the IRP portion of the bills will include renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, but it is not a guarantee. We need to be moving forward to maximize the state’s clean energy benefits with our policies, not taking dangerous steps backward.

Senator Nofs is holding hearings on this legislation throughout the summer and many groups are testifying in opposition. The League stands in opposition to these bills, because increasing the renewable energy standard and energy efficiency programs are the only way to see a decrease in harmful carbon pollutants that are negatively affecting our communities, and will ultimately achieve cost savings throughout the economy.

 — Shannon Nobles

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