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Governor Whitmer Signs Historic Clean Energy & Climate Action Package
November 28, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 28, 2023
Governor Whitmer Signs Historic Clean Energy & Climate Action Package
Legislation makes Michigan a national leader with 100% clean energy standard, strong labor provisions to build clean energy, streamlining construction of energy projects, and lowering utility costs
DETROIT, Mich. –Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed historic clean energy legislation making Michigan a national leader in the fight against climate change. The bills will lower household utility costs, create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, and protect Michigan’s precious air, water, and public health. The clean energy bills deliver on the proposals in the governor’s MI Healthy Climate Plan, which laid out a roadmap for Michigan’s clean energy future. The governor called for passage of clean energy and climate legislation in her What’s Next Address, a first-of-its-kind speech delivered in August laying out a policy vision for the fall after the Michigan Legislature’s unprecedented productivity through 2023.
“Michigan’s clean energy future is bright,” said Governor Whitmer. “Today’s bills will lower household utility costs by an average of $145 a year, create 160,000 good-paying jobs, and bring nearly $8 billion of federal tax dollars home to Michigan for clean energy projects. I am proud that these bills make Michigan the best state in the Midwest for climate action and the strongest state in the nation when it comes to labor standards for clean energy production. Together, we are fighting for our air, land, and water, improving public health and protecting our precious natural resources for future generations. We are building the future in Michigan.”
"Today, every Michigander should be proud of this monumental step forward that emphasizes our commitment to saving families money, protecting Michigan’s resources, and ensuring a cleaner tomorrow,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “These bills will accelerate our state’s leadership on clean energy, unleash Michigan innovators’ competitive spirit, grow our economy, lower costs, cut carbon emissions, and make a difference for communities and workers that haven’t had a seat at the table. Governor Whitmer and I will keep standing tall for climate action in Michigan.”
“The Clean Energy & Jobs Act puts Michigan on a path for some of the fastest buildout in the nation of renewable energy, like wind and solar – accelerating the cleanup of our air and protecting our Great Lakes and drinking water,” said Lisa Wozniak, executive director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “Michigan is now at the center of the nation’s transition to clean energy that will lower energy costs for families and small businesses, create good-paying, union jobs and tackle the climate crisis.”
Michigan’s clean energy future will be built by hardworking union men and women,” said Mike Barnwell, President of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights. “Governor Whitmer and leaders in the Michigan legislature are setting an example for the rest of the country on how to face climate change head on while creating tens of thousands of good-paying clean energy jobs that pay fair wages and offer great benefits. Our state put the world on wheels, assembled the arsenal of democracy, and built the American middle class. All that progress has been made possible by unions and now, with the strongest clean energy labor standards in the country, we will build the future of clean energy right here in Michigan. Let’s get it done.”
“Michigan EIBC is thrilled that Governor Whitmer signed this historic legislation into law,” said Dr. Laura Sherman, president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC). “This is a well-timed action to further Michigan’s economic leadership, building upon a clean energy sector with more jobs and new projects than any other state in the Midwest. By setting a strong renewable portfolio standard and nation-leading energy storage target, and by allowing more Michiganders to save money with energy efficiency, electrification, and rooftop solar, these bills pave the way for Michigan’s clean energy economy to grow and thrive.”
“We are very excited to see this legislation pass,” said Scott Viciana, Vice President of Sales and Business Development at Ventower Industries. “An increased Renewable Portfolio Standard is a firm signal that Michigan is ready and willing to lead on manufacturing and development in the renewable energy transition. Ventower and other Michigan businesses in the clean energy industry stand ready to produce the components needed for this transition and grow our workforce to build, develop, and deploy new projects across the state.”
“Today, Governor Whitmer signed into law a nation-leading climate package, including a 100 percent clean energy standard and critical measures to reform utility regulation and accelerate the growth of high-quality clean energy jobs in the state. With today’s action, Michigan not only cemented its leadership in securing a clean energy future, but also made historic investments in local economic development, lowering household energy costs, and protecting the health of communities across the state,” said Courtney Bourgoin, Midwest Senior Policy and Advocacy Manager at Evergreen Action. “Michiganders want a prosperous economy powered by clean energy, and legislative leaders and the governor delivered. This suite of packages will help secure billions of dollars from the Inflation Reduction Act to directly benefit Michigan’s businesses, families, and environment for generations to come.”
“This legislative package is not just about the environment and climate, there are major economic benefits for Michigan as well,” said Dr. Martin Kushler, Senior Fellow with the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. “Michigan is almost entirely dependent upon imports from other states and countries for all of the fossil fuels we consume. We import 100% of the coal, 92% of the natural gas, and 97% of the oil and petroleum products we use, which drains over $18 billion a year from the state economy. By increasing energy efficiency and Michigan-based renewable energy, this package of bills will reduce that financial drain and help keep those dollars here in Michigan.”
“Michigan has established itself today as a leader in the clean energy economy by finalizing one of the most ambitious clean electricity standards in the U.S.” said Alli Gold Roberts, senior director of state policy, Ceres. “Major businesses strongly supported bold legislation to clean the electric grid and make clear that the state is fully open for business. The legislation signed today marks a strong first step toward realizing that vision in Michigan. Ceres and the companies we work with look forward to supporting the implementation process and continued efforts to ensure the state meets its climate, economic, and environmental justice goals.”
“These bills translate into better air, water, and health for everyone,” said Derrell Slaughter, Michigan Clean Energy Advocate at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “The pathbreaking standards for the Midwest industrial heartland will see the state move to 100% clean energy by 2040 and put more resources toward energy efficiency. Michigan has seized the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to combating climate change and ensure a sustainable, just, and prosperous future for our state.”
100% Clean Energy StandardSenate Bill 271 sponsored by Senator Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) establishes a 100% clean energy standard for Michigan. By 2040, Michigan will produce all its energy from clean sources. By 2030, Michigan will produce 50% of its energy from renewable sources and 60% from renewables by 2035. The new clean energy standard will protect Michigan’s air, land, and water for future generations. It will drive down costs for consumers while reducing the state’s reliance on foreign fuel and create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs along the way.
“This legislation is a monumental step towards creating healthier communities in Michigan and a sustainable future for our planet. By transitioning to clean energy, we can decrease our dependence on fossil fuels and mitigate the harmful effects of our climate crisis,” said State Senator Erika Geiss (D-Taylor). “There is no Planet B — and it is incumbent upon us to secure a clean energy future that ensures marginalized communities are not continually, disproportionately affected by environmental hazards.”
Improving Energy Efficiency
Senate Bill 273 sponsored by Senator Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) improves energy efficiency and waste reduction programs to drive down costs for families and small businesses. It will help Michiganders upgrade their homes to save money while ensuring access to reliable power.
“The bills signed by the Governor today set robust clean energy standards, and position Michigan to become a leader in responsibly fostering the critical shift away from fossil fuels, to a sustainable, clean energy future,” said State Senator Sam Singh (D-East Lansing), lead sponsor of SBs 273 and 519 in the bill package. “We are demonstrating through bold action our commitment to creating a sustainable future for our residents, communities, workers and economy as a whole.”
Fighting for Workers
Senate Bill 519 sponsored by Senator Sam Singh (D-East Lansing), establishes the Office of Worker and Community Economic Transition. The new office will work with workers and communities to make sure they can take full advantage of the good-paying, middle-class jobs we are creating and bringing home to MIchigan.
Streamlining Clean Energy Projects
House Bill 5120 sponsored by Representative Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck) and House Bill 5121 sponsored by Representative Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton) bolster the MPSC by authorizing them to streamline permitting of utility-scale clean energy the same way they can currently do so for other sources of energy. This will drive billions of dollars of federal and private investment in Michigan, creating good-paying local jobs and helping the state meet its clean energy goals.
“Today, we finally put Michigan’s clean energy future in motion. We’re on track to continue positioning Michigan to reach true energy independence – one that protects our planet, brings down energy costs for our residents, and creates great paying jobs for generations to come,” said House Majority Floor Leader Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck).
“We’re seizing the moment to make Michigan a national leader in clean energy production while creating jobs and lowering costs,” said state Rep. Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton). “The projects this legislation enables will create good-paying jobs, decrease energy bills and build healthier communities. This is a major step to make Michigan a more affordable and attractive place to raise a family.”
“As a former township trustee, I’ve worked hard to strengthen the voices of local governments,” said state Rep. Reggie Miller (D-Van Buren Township). “My amendment ensures that local governments and municipalities will maintain local control by requiring that developers work with municipalities first on projects. This is an important step as we work to bring good-paying jobs to our area and lower Michiganders’ power bills by reducing our reliance on fuel from overseas. These bills ensure local voices are heard and put Michiganders first."
Prioritizing Local Communities
Senate Bill 502 sponsored by Senator Sue Shink (D-Northfield Township) authorizes the MPSC to consider climate and equity in their regulatory decisions so we can prioritize the health and well-being of our communities as we expand energy production.
“This clean energy-focused legislation being signed by the Governor, including my bill SB 502, is going to make a profound difference in tackling the climate crisis,” said State Senator Sue Shink (D-Northfield Township). “In addition to requiring utilities to meet clean energy standards, we are integrating equity into the regulatory process and ensuring a just transition so that every Michigander benefits as we move to clean energy. Michigan is committed to a future that is sustainable, clean, and affordable.”
Senate Bill 277 sponsored by Senator Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City) protects farmers’ rights to host solar projects on their own land. In Michigan, you have the freedom to use your land how you see fit, including leasing part of to a clean energy developer so you can earn more money.
“When a heritage farmland owner has an environmentally friendly revenue option like solar to keep their land viable and in their families, government should not be getting in the way,” said State Senator Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City). “Environmental, economic and agricultural organizations across the political spectrum support my bill signed today because it’s the smart thing to do for Michigan’s environment and energy sector jobs, and the right thing to do for personal property rights and heritage farms.”
Michigan’s Clean Energy Leadership & Opportunity
Earlier this year, 5 Lakes Energy released a report on the clean energy package. The report found that in addition to saving Michigan households an average of $145 a year in energy costs, policies like the ones in the package and would help secure $7.8 billion more in federal investment from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and create nearly 160,000 jobs.
The 2023 Clean Jobs America Report stated that clean energy businesses in Michigan added more than 5,400 workers in 2022 and now employ 123,983 Michiganders. Michigan now leads the Midwest in number of clean energy workers.
Michiganders support clean energy. The 100 percent clean energy standard is popular. In a poll Evergreen released in April with Data for Progress, 65 percent of voters supported legislation to transition the state’s energy grid to 100 percent clean energy and 73 percent want the Legislature to do more to keep energy bills affordable.