LANSING – The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum’s (MCEF) 3rd Annual Catalyst Conference, “Charting Michigan’s Energy Future”, held today at the Radisson Hotel in Lansing, engaged around 100 energy, business, and conservative leaders in conversations on the future of Michigan’s clean energy landscape, the importance of lowering electric rates for consumers, and encouraging the diversification of our energy portfolio.

“Michigan has made great strides in recent years to secure affordable, reliable, and environmentally sustainable energy for all Michiganders,” said Larry Ward, MCEF Executive Director. “With the recent passage of Public Acts 341 and 342, we continue our transition to clean, homegrown energy but there is more room for improvement. MCEF will work in 2017 to educate policymakers and the public on the benefits of localized power generation, the importance of ratepayer protection, and the technological advancements occurring each day that are powering our clean energy economy.”                                                                                

The conference featured a panel of experts in public policy, solar energy advocacy, consumer protection, and renewable energy production, including: state Senator Tom Casperson (R – 38th district); Tyson Grinstead, Southeast Director of Public Policy at Sunrun; Michael Moody, Assistant Attorney General and State Public Administrator; and Marc Pauley, Commodities Manager at Granger Energy Services.

State Representative Gary Glenn (R – 98th district), Chair of the Michigan House of Representatives Energy Policy Committee, delivered the keynote address.

“Michigan needs diverse energy sources and competition in the marketplace,” said Representative Glenn. “I promise that the House Energy Policy Committee will work the next two years to do everything we can to bring down the cost of electricity for Michigan ratepayers.”

Public Acts 341 and 342 increase the scope and funding for the Utility Consumer Participation Board to intervene in electric rate cases on behalf of ratepayers. Michigan currently has some of the highest electricity rates in the Midwest.

“Michigan businesses and families not only face high electric rates, but data shows that the prices we pay are not commensurate with the level of reliability provided by our state-regulated utilities,” said Jim MacInnes, Chairman of the Utility Consumer Participation Board and MCEF Leadership Council Member. “In fact, according to data from the Energy Information Administration, Michigan ranks the worst in the Midwest for average power outage time per customer. I look forward to working with the UCPB and MCEF over the next year to ensure that Michigan ratepayers have increasingly reliable and affordable energy.”

MCEF believes in an “all of the above” energy approach that emphasizes homegrown clean energy and energy efficiency to stimulate the economy, create jobs, and increases our national and grid security.

“As a nation, we want to be energy independent, and as consumers, we increasingly want to be self-reliant and control our own electricity use,” said Tyson Grinstead, Southeast Director of Public Policy at Sunrun. “Solar net-metering is one tool to accomplish both – providing homegrown, renewable energy that lessens our dependence on foreign oil – while also allowing ratepayers to produce their own power and control their monthly energy bills.”

A national post-election clean energy poll commissioned by the Conservative Energy Network found that 86% 0f all voters polled – including 75% of Trump voters – support taking “action to accelerate the development and use of clean energy.”

“With 34 Republican governorships, 25 Republican state trifectas, and overwhelming public support for clean energy development across the country, our conservative messaging is not only needed but desired,” said Mark Huizenga, MCEF Board President, Mayor of Walker, MI, and owner of Key Green Solutions. “We’ve made a lot of progress these past three years educating Michiganders on the economic and security benefits of clean energy and energy efficiency. We look forward to forging a path ahead over the next year that builds upon this progress and continues to position Michigan as a national energy leader.”

Ward concludes: “I hope this conference proves to be a catalyst for new ideas, grassroots action, and further improvements to our energy landscape in the upcoming year. MCEF looks forward to working with the Michigan House and Senate, Governor Snyder, Michigan Agency for Energy, and various other energy stakeholders to build on our past successes and ensure abundant, cheap, and clean energy for decades to come.”

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About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.  MCEF believes encouraging diverse and local energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’ economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.org/

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