FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 24, 2020
Michigan Public Service Commission Chair Dan Scripps today asked MPSC Staff and stakeholders in its MI Power Grid initiative to develop recommendations for updating utility integrated resource planning (IRP) requirements to reflect reduced greenhouse gas emissions targets set by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration to achieve economy-wide carbon neutrality no later than 2050.
On Wednesday, Governor Whitmer kicked off the MI Healthy Climate Plan aimed at protecting public health and the environment and helping to develop new clean energy jobs by putting Michigan on a path towards becoming carbon-neutral by 2050. The initiative further aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state to 28% below 1999 levels by 2025.
Scripps challenged participants in the MI Power Grid workgroup on integrated resource, distribution, and transmission planning to develop recommendations for changes to IRP planning parameters and filing requirements so that the MI Healthy Climate Plan’s emissions targets can be considered in utilities’ IRPs. Integrated resource plans are long-term plans by electric utilities outlining how they will provide reliable, cost-effective service to customers while addressing the risks and uncertainties inherent in the electric utility business.
MI Power Grid, launched in October 2019, is a multi-year effort to maximize the benefits of Michigan’s transition to clean, distributed sources of energy. The initiative has three areas of emphasis: customer engagement, integrating emerging technologies, and optimizing grid performance and investments.
Scripps noted that, while the energy sector remains the largest contributor to climate change in Michigan, emissions from power plants have decreased significantly in recent years due to the retirement of a number of coal plants and their replacement with cleaner energy resources.
“Driven by customer demand and declining prices, Michigan’s utilities have added thousands of megawatts of renewable resources like wind and solar, and are on track to exceed the statutory goal of obtaining 35% of generation by 2025 from the cleanest energy sources: renewable energy and energy waste reduction,” said Scripps, who will serve on Whitmer’s Council on Climate Solutions established as part of the MI Healthy Climate Plan. “Energy waste reduction has been a central part of the state’s energy strategy and will go a long way to achieving the Governor’s goal while also providing customer benefits such as lower bills and improved reliability.
“As we work to update utility planning parameters, it’s important that they take into account the aggressive goals set by Michigan’s utilities, and how those goals align with the bold targets set by Governor Whitmer,” Scripps said.
Scripps noted that that three utilities — Consumers Energy Co., Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corp. and Indiana Michigan Power Co. — will file their next IRPs in 2021, before these planning parameters and filing requirements are updated. He asked Staff to develop recommendations to be considered by the Commission in how the three utilities can best consider the emission reduction targets.
Recommendations on updating the IRP parameters and filing requirements to include Whitmer’s emission reduction targets are expected to be filed in mid-December.
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DISCLAIMER: This document was prepared to aid the public’s understanding of certain matters before the Commission and is not intended to modify, supplement, or be a substitute for the Commission’s orders. The Commission’s orders are the official action of the Commission.
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