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Michigan Governor Signs Clean Energy Package

Michigan’s governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law on Tuesday a clean energy package that will have the state carbon-free by 2040.

The clean energy package, known as the Clean Energy and Jobs Act, is a compilation of bills designed to improve energy efficiency requirements in the state and simplify the permitting process for clean energy projects, including wind and solar.

The Clean Energy and Jobs Act has been described by some as requiring Michigan’s utilities to switch 100% of its sales to clean energy sources by 2040. But the Act specifically requires utilities to switch 60% of its electricity generation to renewables. Nuclear power, hydrogen fuel, and natural gas plus carbon capture can make up 40%--a fact that has some climate activists reeling with the notion of allowing fossil fuels in the mix in 2040 and beyond.

Whitmer has said that the package would see 160,000 clean jobs added. “We will make American energy with American workers earning family-sustaining wages,” Whitmer said on Tuesday.

Current EIA data estimates that 12% of Michigan’s power generation came from renewable energy last year, with wind power accounting for about two-thirds of that. Electricity net generation from natural gas-fired power plants increased to 34% last year, and the state ranks in the top five states for residential sector petroleum use. It is also first in residential sector consumption of propane.

Michigan also carries one-eighth of the nation’s nat gas storage capacity, home to 44 nat gas storage fields.

The bill is a watered-down version of the original legislation that called for the clean energy standard to be met by 2035 instead of 2040. The bill does include interim targets.

Republican critics of the bill argue that the new and unrealistic standard will jeopardize the reliability of the electric grid.

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By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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