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Jan 04, 2024 Energy

Michigan Enacts 100% Clean Energy Mandate Through the Clean Energy and Jobs Act

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has approved the Clean Energy and Jobs Act, comprising a set of bills that mandate utilities to achieve 100% clean energy sales by 2040. This move positions Michigan as the 12th state to adopt a comprehensive 100% clean energy commitment.

Governor Whitmer anticipates the clean energy package to generate over 160,000 jobs in Michigan, building on the state's 5% increase in clean energy and transportation jobs observed last year.

Key components of the legislation, particularly Senate Bill 271, outline the emissions-free mandate, directing utilities to generate a minimum of 60% of electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind. The remaining 40% can be sourced from nuclear power, hydrogen fuel, and natural gas with carbon capture.

While the emphasis on renewables aligns with the goals of environmental advocates, concerns have been raised about the inclusion of natural gas with carbon capture. Critics argue that this approach, despite its potential, may introduce inefficiencies and high costs. Juan Jhong-Chung, co-executive director of the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, pointed out that carbon capture technology doesn't address air pollution associated with burning natural gas, challenging the definition of what qualifies as clean energy.

The Clean Energy and Jobs Act incorporates several milestone mandates, including:

  • Requiring utilities to source 15% of their electricity from renewables by 2029, increasing to 50% by 2030 and 60% by 2035.
  • Establishing an energy storage standard of 2.5GW by 2030.
  • Raising caps on distributed energy sources like rooftop solar.
  • Augmenting electric utility energy efficiency savings requirements and goals, with clarification that energy efficiency programs do not discourage building electrification.

Johanna Neumann, a senior director with Environment America, highlighted the significance of Michigan's commitment, stating, "Once Michigan’s bill becomes law, a dozen states will have made 100% clean or renewable electricity commitments. Environment America and our state organizations will continue to campaign for 100% renewable energy commitments from state governments across the country in years to come."

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