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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Michigan's debate over energy policy continues

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 1:35 PM

click to enlarge DTE power plant in Monroe - WIKIMEDIA
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  • DTE power plant in Monroe

On the heels of Gov. Rick Snyder's roll-out of a proposal to address energy policy in the state, Utility Dive, an outlet that focuses on the utilities industry, wonders aloud if Michigan can inch away from coal and embrace renewables and efficiencies. From Utility Dive:

Snyder's plan to increase renewables and draw down coal usage is not as ambitious as the 20% renewable portfolio standard by 2022 proposed by Michigan Democrats, but still represents a significant step for a GOP governor in an industrial state. And given that the Democrats are a minority in both legislative houses, any serious opposition to the plan would have to be at least somewhat bipartisan.

Snyder's plan banks hard on reducing demand, saying the state needs to eliminate energy waste to meet an additional 15% of its energy needs by 2025. The governor said the plan encourages a discussion with the state Legislature about programs that help people replace older, wasteful items like furnaces, and allow utilities to help with methods like on-bill financing for new devices.

For one group advocating for more competition in the market besides DTE and Consumers Energy, Michigan's current arrangement benefits only the utilities and their shareholders. Wayne Kuipers executive director of that group, Energy Choice now, told Utility Drive, "This monopoly has resulted in Michiganders paying $10.5 billion over market rates since 2009." 

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