The Michigan Renewable Portfolio Standard is making progress

Electricity made from renewable resources is on track to reach goals.

In 2008, Michigan legislators passed Public Act 295 “Clean, Renewable and Efficient Energy Act” which established a mandate of the use of renewable resources to produce 10 percent of the electricity in the state by 2015. As the years quickly advance toward 2015, some incremental steps have been made in reaching the 10 percent goal. These steps have helped to evaluate the performance and expectations of the program.

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) oversees the compliance of Michigan utilities to this act. The MPSC has recently published a Report on the Implementation of the P.A. 295 Renewable Energy Standard and the Cost-Effectiveness of the Energy Standards.

This report lists the renewable energy percentage of utilities in 2009 as 3.6 percent, which shows a need to nearly triple its production in the following six years to reach 10 percent. Each utility was required to submit a plan to reach the 10 percent goal, which has indicated intentions to comply with the mandate by utilizing the following technologies and amounts for new capacity:

  • Wind

93 percent

  • Anaerobic digester/ biomass

3 percent

  • Landfill gas

3 percent

  • Solar

Less than 1 percent

The concentration in wind technology development is no secret to many people who have passed by the wind turbines in Huron, Gratiot, and Missaukee counties, as well as development progress in Tuscola, Osceola, Mason, Wexford and Delta counties. These areas represent some of the highest quality wind areas in the state, are in proximity to electrical demand or transmission infrastructure and have available open space.

Additionally, the report included an evaluation of the impact of adding renewables on the retail price of electricity. The unrelated reductions in electricity demand and natural gas costs have helped to control the costs of producing electricity and, additionally, there is no indication that the renewable energy standard has caused an effect on electricity prices. In fact, the cost for renewable energy using all of the renewable technologies is less than the cost of electricity generated by a new conventional coal-fired facility. Furthermore, recent renewable energy contracts show that the pricing continues to trend lower.

Overall, the system appears to be working as the legislation intended by providing electricity from renewable sources while not burdening the Michigan rate payers with excessive costs. This experience in renewable energy builds confidence in the promise for reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

Related Articles

Related Resources