Sen. Nofs praises energy plan passage

Nofs200x300LANSING, Mich. – State Sen. Mike Nofs, chair of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee, on Thursday praised the Michigan Senate for passage of the Michigan Comprehensive Energy Plan.

The two-bill package has been in the works for more than two years and updates key provisions of the state’s current energy laws.

“We have crafted a policy that balances a broad and often widely disparate range of interests and addresses the key elements that will serve our state well for many years to come,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “This package establishes a strong foundation for Michigan’s next-generation energy policy.”

Nofs sponsored Senate Bill 437 and noted that the key components of the bill include a new resource adequacy provision that helps ensure electric reliability and an enhanced Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) process. Under the IRP process, future utility investments would be evaluated based on a stricter set of criteria and competitive proposals to ensure greater reliability, adaptability and affordability.

“This legislation is not about what’s best for a few companies, organizations, or individuals — it’s about what’s best for the entire state of Michigan,” Nofs said.

Reducing energy waste would continue to be of paramount importance under the new bills. In addition to eliminating the current renewable and energy efficiency mandates, SB 438, sponsored by Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, includes important upgrades for distributed generation, net-metering, and on-bill financing, as well as a new, 30 percent combined renewable energy and energy waste reduction goal. The package also provides enhanced incentives for utilities that invest in energy waste reduction.

Key reforms in the plan require utility companies to competitively bid for new generation projects; require providers to follow strict rules to ensure they have enough energy to meet demand; incentivize energy waste reduction programs; empower customers utilizing electric choice; increase the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard to 15 percent by 2021; and create a statewide goal of 35 percent of resources derived from renewables or energy waste reduction

The bills now head to the House for consideration.