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Michigan utilities say Inflation Reduction Act will lower cost of transition to renewable energy

Consumers Energy
A solar array maintained by Consumers Energy. The utility plans to utilize solar farms to produce 8,000 MW of electricity by the year 2040.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) may as well have been named the Emissions Reduction Act - and Michigan utility officials praised its clean energy benefits during recent calls with investors.

The IRA includes $369 billion in Energy Security and Climate Change programs over the next ten years, with an aim of reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by the year 2030.

Consumers Energy President Garrick Rochow told investors during last week's call that "we see a lot of benefits in this new legislation."

Rochow said the IRA's extension of tax credits for both wind and solar provides economic certainty and lowers costs for the company.

"These tax advantages reduce the cost of new solar roughly 15%," he said.

Rochow said the lower costs will benefit customers, and also allow Consumers Energy to directly own more of the 8,000 MW of solar energy it plans to have in place by 2040, rather than having to sign contracts for the solar power with independent companies.

DTE President and CEO Jerry Norcia told the company's investors that the Act will have a "positive benefit to affordability." He said it "lowered the cost of all our investments in renewables, as well as long-term, it improved the outlook for carbon capture and storage."

Norcia added that the utility will reveal more details about the IRA's impact on the utility's next long-term energy plan, which will be filed with Michigan energy regulators later this week.

Consumers Energy and DTE Energy are among Michigan Radio's corporate sponsors.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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