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15% renewables, energy changes become law with Governor’s signature

15% renewables, energy changes become law with Governor’s signature

LANSING, MI — Days after stepping in and helping broker a deal on sweeping changes to the state’s energy policy, Gov. Rick Snyder put his pen to paper and signed the bills into law.

Gov. Rick Snyder 'fired up,' plans to sign energy legislation

Gov. Rick Snyder ‘fired up,’ plans to sign energy legislation

He helped broker the deal that ultimately passed the House and Senate.

Snyder in an interview with MLive Wednesday morning said the changes addressed reliability, affordability and sustainability for everybody in Michigan.

“This is a great package that sets a framework of decision-making to help with reliability, affordability and environmental sustainability for the next few decades,” Snyder said.

One thing he pointed to that would help with affordability was energy efficiency. The legislation builds on energy efficiency goals established in 2008 by incentivizing utilities beyond the 1 percent energy savings in current statute.

“One of the big things is all the energy efficiency things that this legislation has. Reducing energy waste is a great savings,” Snyder said.

The new law also mandates 15 percent renewable energy by 2021. The previous standard was 10 percent renewable energy by 2015.

In a video put out by the Governor’s office, Snyder talks further about the overall importance of the new laws.

The changes had been debated for more than two years through a workgroup and the legislative process. The biggest hang-up was over energy choice. Current 10 percent of the market is allowed to seek energy from alternative electric suppliers other than their incumbent utilities, which may be a cost savings. Utilities pushed to undo that and require 100 percent of customers to purchase power from their incumbent utilities.

In the end the new laws retained 10 percent choice but put stricter requirements on alternative electric suppliers, requiring them to either prove they had the resources to serve their load into the future or pay a capacity charge to incumbent utilities.

Energy overhaul sails through House, preserves energy choice

The bills are now Public Acts 341 and 342 of 2016.

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