LANSING – Sweeping energy mandates passed Thursday, Dec. 15 in the Michigan House and Senate will increase the renewable energy requirement and likely lead to more turbines in rural areas.
Senate Bill 437 in increases from 10 percent to 15 percent the amount of power that utilities must get from renewable sources, which the bill states could mean hundreds of additional industrial wind turbine towers in many rural communities.
Members of the Huron County Board of Commissioners have expressed a majority believe Huron County already hosts its fair share of commercial wind turbines.
The bill passed 33 to 4 in the Senate, and an identical bill passed 79-28 in the House. Sen. Michael Green (R-Mayville) voted in favor of the bill’s passage, and Rep. Edward Canfield (R-Sebewaing) voted no.
The bill also rewrites the state law regulating electric utility monopolies, replacing 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power plant capacity and site decision with a more centralized process inspired by Obama-era regulations expected to be repealed in 2017.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 final version appears to leave in place a small amount of electricity provider competition available to some commercial customers.
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