LANSING, Mich. (WZMQ) – Legislation surrounding renewable energy and carbon reduction is being worked on in The State Senate.
As hearings are held, republicans are voicing their concerns during the reliability of renewable energy, like wind, solar, and battery storage, in rural areas.
The Clean Energy Future Plan was introduced back in April by Senate Democrats led by Floor Majority Leader, Senator Sam Singh. The bill package includes legislation that would set a goal of 100% clean energy by 2040, modernize the public service commission that regulates state utilities, and expand energy waste reduction programs.
“We want to be able to take a look at all types of energy and make sure that it’s the least carbon impacting.” Senator Singh said. “That’s really the plan here, we think that there’s a way to do that in a way that’s reliable but that’s also cost effective for families across the state.”
As hearings continue, Senator Singh said it’s been a thoughtful process as one if the leaders working on the plan. However, Republicans on the other side of the legislature are concerned that the new energy sources won’t be as reliable as Democrats say.
The 108th House District Representative, Dave Prestin, said that with his constituents in The UP, safety and security is paramount, and that ensuring there’s a reliable base load with best available technology should be the priority.
“Anyone who’s been paying attention to Texas this summer and their woes with ERCOT and their constant battle to keep the lights on for their people down there.” Representative Prestin said. “Texas has a thriving renewable generation supply, but the fact of the matter is that with the temperature extremes and the amount of people that live down there, it’s not reliable enough to keep the lights on.”
Senator Singh says, if passed, up to $5 Billion of federal funding could become available, which democrats say would pay for the construction of necessary infrastructure to ensure reliability.
“We want to make sure that the laws are fair, we want to make sure that were looking at reliability,” Senator Singh said. “But, we also want to be able to pull down these federal dollars because it’ll help us make this transition.”
Representative Prestin says he’s not against phasing in more renewable energy, but that we need to move forward slowly and in a balanced way to allow the technology to flourish before it can move into a more sustainable pattern.
“When you’re playing around with something like energy, specifically electrical distribution, generation and transmission – people’s lives are at risk.” Representative Prestin said. “You have the elderly on oxygen concentrators, you have people far, far in the woods.”
He says looking at ways to reduce carbon emissions like carbon cap and trade, could reduce Michigan’s footprint, without the risk of unreliable energy sources, but Senator Singh says he believed this legislation is a good fit for the state.
“I think there is a great opportunity here for us to be able to focus on climate, on making sure that energy is reliable, making sure that were trying to bring down costs for consumers across the state, and having the opportunity to do this in a thoughtful way that pulls down federal dollars and resources.” Senator Singh said. “I think this is the right approach for Michigan.”
Senator Singh says The Clean Energy Future Plan will most likely see a few final substitutes before its put to a vote in The Senate, and handed over to The House for revisions.