LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Michigan will officially be required to use only carbon free energy by 2040 after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a series of energy bills on Tuesday. 

“Michigan’s clean energy future is bright,” said Governor Whitmer. “Today’s bills will lower household utility costs by an average of $145 a year, create 160,000 good-paying jobs, and bring nearly $8 billion of federal tax dollars home to Michigan for clean energy projects. I am proud that these bills make Michigan the best state in the Midwest for climate action and the strongest state in the nation when it comes to labor standards for clean energy production. Together, we are fighting for our air, land, and water, improving public health and protecting our precious natural resources for future generations. We are building the future in Michigan.” 

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One of the central bills in the package, Senate Bill 271 sponsored by Senator Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) establishes a 100% clean energy standard for Michigan. By 2040, Michigan will produce all its energy from clean sources. As a stepping stone, the legislation mandates that by 2030, Michigan will produce 50% of its energy from renewable sources and 60% from renewables by 2035. 

 “This legislation is a monumental step towards creating healthier communities in Michigan and a sustainable future for our planet. By transitioning to clean energy, we can decrease our dependence on fossil fuels and mitigate the harmful effects of our climate crisis,” said State Senator Erika Geiss (D-Taylor). “There is no Planet B — and it is incumbent upon us to secure a clean energy future that ensures marginalized communities are not continually, disproportionately affected by environmental hazards.” 

Representative Mike Harris (R-Waterford) shared his concerns that the shift would actually result in heightened costs and less reliability under the new bills. 

“Dark days are ahead for Michiganders under these backwards new laws that will prematurely ditch reliable natural gas power plants and require vastly more wind and solar,” said Rep. Mike Harris. “These heavy-handed laws will force people to hand more money to big utility companies while getting less reliable electricity and suffering more blackouts as a result.” 

Minority Floor Leader and Representative Bryan Posthumus (R-Cannon Township) predicts that the cost of removing other energy sources can’t be paid based on the current power grid. 

“We simply cannot guarantee a reliable energy grid to the people of Michigan with only wind and solar at our disposal,” Rep. Posthumus said. “It mathematically cannot happen. We can waste money on as many agencies and regulators as they want to stand up, but Isaac Newton wasn’t joking around when made those three laws. If we don’t embrace natural gas and nuclear energy alongside wind and solar, we cannot in full confidence tell Michigan families their grid is stable and reliable.” 

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Another core bill in the package reallocated decision making power to the Michigan Public Service Commision (MPSC) for greenlighting new energy projects in the state. 

“This clean energy-focused legislation being signed by the Governor, including my bill SB 502, is going to make a profound difference in tackling the climate crisis,” said State Senator Sue Shink (D-Northfield Township). “In addition to requiring utilities to meet clean energy standards, we are integrating equity into the regulatory process and ensuring a just transition so that every Michigander benefits as we move to clean energy. Michigan is committed to a future that is sustainable, clean, and affordable.” 

Many locals, 87% of respondents according to a poll from the Michigan Townships Association (MTA) , were opposed to the loss of a voice in future projects. 

“Our opposition – and that of many similar voices – is not directed at renewable energy,” 2023 MTA President Pauline Bennett said in a statement, “But we wholly oppose this legislation, which is written for developers, and with total disregard for local authority, local units of governments, and residents across the state.”

The state officially is set to outpace California’s timeline for a carbon neutral energy goal by 2045.