Michigan’s new renewable portfolio standard includes hydro

An energy package signed into law by Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm includes a renewables portfolio standard requiring 10 percent of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources such as conventional hydropower and hydrokinetics by 2015.

In signing the energy package Oct. 6, Granholm said it would create jobs, diversify Michigan’s economy, and save customers money on their electric bills by ensuring the bulk of Michigan’s future energy need is met by renewable energy resources and energy efficiency savings.

The governor noted the three-bill package includes regulatory reform that protects Michigan ratepayers and allows utility companies to build new electricity generation in Michigan. It also requires that utilities meet an additional 5.5 percent of the state’s annual electricity demands through energy efficiency by 2015.

The renewables portfolio standard bill (S.213) requires utilities to obtain renewable energy credits equal to 2 percent of their electricity supply in 2012, increasing each year until the number of credits equals 10 percent of their electricity supply in 2015 and thereafter. Credits must be generated by renewable energy systems either within the state or within the service territory of the state’s major utilities.

Kinetic energy of moving water, such as waves, tides, or currents, and water released through a dam can be used to meet the mandate. Upgrades to existing dams that increase energy efficiency are considered to be renewable energy systems. The bill’s definition of renewable energy systems excludes pumped-storage plants, and most hydroelectric projects that require new dams. However, hydroelectric facilities at new dams are eligible when the new dam is a repair or replacement of an existing dam.

The bill also requires utility Consumers Energy to build or purchase 200 MW of new renewable energy capacity by 2013, and 500 MW by 2015. It also requires Detroit Edison to add 300 MW of renewable capacity by 2013, and 600 MW by 2015.

Michigan joins more than two dozen other states that have adopted renewable energy portfolio standards. Voters in another Missouri will cast ballots in the November general election on an initiative that would create a renewables portfolio standard for their state. (HNN 9/11/08) Congress considered, but did not adopt, a measure that would have created a federal renewable electricity standard requiring utility companies to generate 15 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2020. (HNN 9/26/08)

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