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Energy plan bills advance to full Michigan Senate

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Michigan bills to set a 100% clean energy standard by 2040 advanced out of the Senate Energy and Environment Committee Wednesday.

The package is part of legislative Democrats’ broader plan to support renewable energy.

Senator Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) says the bills would move Michigan toward an economy that's not reliant on fossil fuels.

“We will work towards decarbonizing our energy sector as well as the economy as a whole. But we do it in a way that is responsible,” Singh said.

The package is the result of weeks of negotiations and rewrites.

Critics of the bills say they would be too limiting on options when it comes to Michigan’s energy sources.

Business groups, including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Manufacturers Association, Grand Rapids Chamber, and Detroit Regional Chamber make up the Coalition for Clean, Affordable, and Reliable Energy.

The coalition said the bills would put Michigan “into an energy policy straitjacket.”

“Michigan’s ability to attract new investment and jobs depends on access to clean, affordable and reliable energy. To achieve long-term decarbonization goals, we need a goal-based approach instead of inflexible regulatory mandates,” Michigan Manufacturers Association Executive Vice President Mike Johnston said in a press release.

The bills would count carbon-neutral energy production, like nuclear, and natural gas power that uses carbon capture technology, as clean energy.

Meanwhile, other bills in the overall clean energy package are also making their way through the Legislature.

In the House, legislation to give the Michigan Public Service Commission more power when it comes to siting solar and wind projects has also advanced out of committee.

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