A review of 2016 and looking forward to 2017

The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum had a stellar 2016 that culminated in Governor Snyder signing Public Acts 341 and 342 into law, a bipartisan-supported comprehensive energy package that is noteworthy for its efforts to increase homegrown, clean energy. Some of the successes in this package include:

1.  A combined 35% goal of renewable energy and energy efficiency deployment by 2025.

2. An increase in our successfully-met renewable portfolio standard (RPS) from 10% to 15% by 2021, an amendment introduced and advocated for by Senator Dale Zorn, whom eloquently stated, “Let’s show the state and the country that we are serious about green energy.”

3. Additional scope and funding for the Utility Consumer Participation Board to intervene in electric rate cases on behalf of ratepayers.

4.  Effectively maintaining the current solar net-metering program as is until 2020.

While there is still more work to be done on energy policy, these laws continue the positive strides to increase our use of renewable energy and energy efficiency that began with Public Act 295, which passed in 2008. As MCEF looks to our future educational efforts, we are focused on the ratepayer – allowing individuals a voice in the rates they pay and a bigger role in decisions regarding energy production and use.

Specifically in 2017 we look forward to working with policymakers, businesses, and allies to:

  • Ensure Michigan electric ratepayers are receiving commensurate reliability for the prices they pay.
  • Continue the successful solar net-metering program and remove barriers to localized power generation.
  • Champion the development of electric vehicle infrastructure and battery technology, utilizing our states vast expertise in the automotive and manufacturing sectors to do so.
  • Highlight the energy challenges facing Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and propose cost - effective, market-based solutions to ensure U.P. residents have consistent access to reliable and affordable electricity.

Focusing on the ratepayer, specifically including the ratepayer in decisions about Michigan’s energy future was a major theme at this year’s Catalyst Conference, in which we sought to “Chart Michigan’s Energy Future”. With the help of a panel of industry and ratepayer experts, I believe we made the pivotal first steps to do just that. Our third annual conference featured: Moderator Jim MacInnes, Chairman of the Utility Consumer Participation Board and Leadership Council member of MCEF; Marc Pauley, Commodities Manager at Granger Energy Services; Michael Moody, Assistant Attorney General and State Public Administrator; and Tyson Grinstead, Southeast Pubic Policy Director for Sunrun. The panel presentation can be viewed here

House Energy Policy Committee Chair Representative Gary Glenn was our keynote speaker. He did a wonderful job of highlighting the free market’s role in promoting clean and renewable energy as well as the importance of getting the government out of the way of progress. Glenn emphasized that he would work with his committee over the next two years to reduce electricity rates for Michigan consumers. Watch Representative Glenn’s speech here

I believe our Catalyst Conference will be just that – a catalyst for new ideas and a renewed interest in solving the energy challenges that face Michiganders each day. Our goal is and always has been about providing a forum for conservative energy solutions that embrace a cleaner, more affordable and more reliable Michigan energy future. I look forward to this journey and I hope you join us in the conversation in 2017 and beyond.