In the final hours of a December 2016 lame-duck session, Michigan’s legislature adopted two laws intended to ensure the reliability of the state’s electric grid. One law requires non-utility electricity providers to “to demonstrate that they have four years of firm capacity” to offer customers. The law also establishes a system to fund new power plants in light of the probable closure of several of the state’s coal-fired power plants, which are considering halting operations because of federal regulations and high operating costs.
To obtain Democratic Party support for the electricity reliability bill, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) brokered a second law, which increased the state’s renewable energy mandate.
The previous law required electricity providers to ensure 10 percent of the electricity they will deliver in 2021 comes from renewable-energy sources. The new law increases the proportion to 15 percent and expands the definition of what qualifies as renewable sources of power to include electricity generated by geothermal, wood biomass, and other sources.
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is a research fellow at The Heartland Institute.