LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — A series of bills that would change the way energy is produced and regulated in Michigan was approved by the state Senate Thursday.
With time dwindling in the session, Democratic lawmakers are trying to get some of the governor’s priorities completed before they adjourn. The Senate energy bills, would among other things, require all electricity in the state be produced by 100% renewable sources by 2040.
The bills all passed along party line votes with all Democrats voting for and all Republicans voting against. They now move to the House.
Democrats say the bills would move Michigan ahead of other states by using renewable sources for energy production.
“These bills really get us to a 100% clean energy standard by 2040,” Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, told News 8. “It’s an ambitious goal. And then all of the complex details that take so long for us to really absorb as policymakers, those things all build so that we can achieve that goal. So this gets us cleaner energy. It gets us more reliable energy. It addresses, to the extent that we can as one state, climate change. And it really, really is going to be a more affordable way to do things.”
Republicans say the measures take away local control for some zoning and would make energy more expensive and less reliable in a state with high industrial demand.
“When you talk about reliability and affordability, the argument is that solar cost is going down, which it is. However, you have take in the capital cost such as the property, the development of all this equipment and other infrastructure to make it work,” state Sen. Mark Huizenga, R-Walker, said. “There’s a great story in the Wall Street Journal this week that says the cost of energy in the state of Wyoming is going up 26%. Their power company, Rocky Mountain Power, said, ‘Hey, we can show that this is going to have a decrease in cost with more renewable sources in the future but for now, we think that there are going to be several assessment that are going to be underway here.’ I don’t think that the Legislature nor the people of Michigan want that to happen right now.”
The state Legislature is expected to adjourn sometime before Nov. 9, so that a number of bills, primarily the legislation allowing the Democratic presidential primary to be moved to late February, can go into effect. That means that the House will have to act quickly to get the energy bills passed if they are ultimately going to reach the governor’s desk.
It is unclear if all Democrats in the House will support the plans. Without all 56 Democrats voting in favor, it seems unlikely the bills could pass through the chamber. A vote could come as early as this week.