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2015 Senate Bill 438: Revise utility regulations, raise renewable mandate

Public Act 342 of 2016

Introduced by Sen. John Proos (R) on July 1, 2015
To revise many details of regulatory regime for electric utilities. Among other things, this and Senate Bill 437 would phase out a mandate that utilities get 10 percent of their power from “renewable” sources and another mandate that they must reduce the amount of energy they produce each year; place additional limitations on customers using an “alternative" generator under the state’s limited electricity customer choice law and additional requirements on those generators; require utilities to produce and get regulator approval of detailed “integrated resource plans;” place additional requirements and restrictions on building new power plants; accommodate “carbon sequestration” schemes associated with new power plants; and more.   Official Text and Analysis.
Referred to the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee on July 1, 2015
Reported in the Senate on May 31, 2016
With the recommendation that the substitute (S-4) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
Amendment offered in the Senate on November 10, 2016
To increase the so-called renewable power mandate imposed on regulated utility monopolies from 10 percent of the electricity generated to 15 percent. The practical effect of increasing the mandate will be the erection of several hundred more industrial wind turbines and towers in many rural communities.
The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on November 10, 2016
To re-write the state law regulating electric utility monopolies. The bill is premised on Obama EPA regulations forcing closure of existing coal-fired generating plants and ordering states to re-organize their electric power grid systems (which President-elect Trump has promised to repeal). It would essentially replace a market-driven process for new power plant capacity and site decisions with a centralized state process. On its face the bill retains current provisions that allow other power generators to compete with monopoly utilities for a 10 percent slice of the commercial market, but current choice customers contend that details would end competition. The bill would also increase a mandate that utilities get more power from so-called renewable sources, which could mean hundreds of additional industrial wind turbine towers in many rural communities.
Received in the House on November 29, 2016
Amendment offered by Rep. Holly Hughes (R) on December 15, 2016
To revise details of commercial customer electric choice provisions.
The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on December 15, 2016
Substitute offered by Rep. Rob VerHeulen (R) on December 15, 2016
To replace the previous version of the bill with one that revises details that incorporate a proposed House-Senate compromise.
The substitute passed by voice vote in the House on December 15, 2016
Amendment offered by Rep. Scott Dianda (D) on December 15, 2016
To revise details of commercial customer electric choice provisions.
The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on December 15, 2016
Amendment offered by Rep. Sam Singh (D) on December 15, 2016
To revise details of provisions that essentially pay and require utilities to find ways to reduce demand for their product.
The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on December 15, 2016
Amendment offered by Rep. Kevin Cotter (R) on December 15, 2016
To clarify that industrial electricity users are still free to build their own generation facilities.
The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on December 15, 2016
Amendment offered by Rep. Triston Cole (R) on December 15, 2016
To impose additional regulations on power generated from burning wood.
The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on December 15, 2016
Amendment offered by Rep. Eric Leutheuser (R) on December 15, 2016
To clarify that local zoning laws still apply to powerplants. Several dozen townships targeted by wind farm developers have halted the schemes by adopting restrictive zoning.
The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on December 15, 2016
To re-write the state law regulating electric utility monopolies. Along with Senate Bill 437, this bill replaces the current market-driven process for new power plant capacity and site decision with a more centralized process inspired by Obama-era regulations expected to be repealed in 2017. The bill also increases from 10 percent to 15 percent the amount of power that utilities must get from renewable sources, which could mean hundreds of additional industrial wind turbine towers in rural communities. The final version leaves in place a small amount of electricity provider competition available to some commercial customers.
Received in the Senate on December 15, 2016
Signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on December 21, 2016

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