Newly revised versions of the energy legislation have earned the support of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.
SB 437 has experienced three major changes. Initially the legislation required utility buildings or acquired power plants generating 1,000 megawatts or more to go through the certificate of necessity process, more streamlined than making them go through the full integrated resource plan process the legislation would now require. The revised version of the bill drops the threshold to any plant generating over 225 megawatts. Secondly, the legislation granted automatic standing to alternative electric suppliers in a contested case before the Public Service Commission involving a new power plant with at least 500 megawatts; that threshold has been dropped to 200 megawatts. Lastly, the previous version called for a 14 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2018. The updated version now sets the standard at 15 percent by 2021.
Additionally, Republican lawmakers have agreed to raise the requirement for expendable energy by utilities from renewable sources from 10 percent to 15 percent by 2021. The new version also maintains the 10 percent of the electric market choosing a provider other than the utilities while increasing reliability.
The Senate decided to hold off on a vote for the bill. It is scheduled to be picked up during lame-duck session after the election.