Editor's note: The following summary represents state and utility stances after the Supreme Court stayed the Clean Power Plan in February 2016.
In the aftermath of the Supreme Court stay of the U.S. EPA Clean Power Plan on Feb. 9, the Michigan Agency for Energy said the state will suspend work on developing a state compliance plan.
Michigan had just kicked off public stakeholder engagement process a week before the Supreme Court decision.
The agency in December announced initial Clean Power Plan modeling results showing the state could meet initial carbon reduction goals through the mid-2020s just by carrying out existing policies.
Michigan officials are now worried they may have wasted $200,000 on modeling on the rule that may be irrelevant in a year or more if the stay lifted, said Al Freeman, a staffer for the state's Public Service Commission. Freeman said his agency also has been bumping heads with the state's attorney general, who is more opposed to the Clean Power Plan than the governor. And the state faces conflicts with Wisconsin about how to manage coal plant closures in its Upper Peninsula, he added (ClimateWire, April 27).
Modeling from the Electric Power Research Institute, however, suggests those coal plant closures could position Michigan to meet its Clean Power Plan goals with ease (ClimateWire, Sept. 8).
The final version of the rule leaves Michigan's target nearly unchanged compared with the draft -- requiring the state to hold its emissions to 1,169 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hours, compared with 1,161 pounds CO2/MWh under the proposed rule.
Michigan was among 27 states that filed a lawsuit challenging the rule. Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) also was among 15 state attorneys general who requested an emergency stay on the Clean Power Plan shortly after the final rule was released.
But on Sept. 1, 2015, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) announced his state would develop its own plan to comply with the EPA rule, saying in a statement this means the plan will reflect "Michigan's priorities of adaptability, affordability, reliability and protection of the environment" and "seize the opportunity to make Michigan's energy decisions in Lansing, not leave them in the hands of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C."
Before the final rule's release, Snyder said even without the Clean Power Plan, his state is on track to substantially change its generation portfolio in ways that will reduce carbon emissions.
Adding to that, the state's existing 10 percent renewable energy standard and a 1-percent-per-year energy efficiency mandate mean Michigan is on track to meet Clean Power Plan targets.
Michigan utilities praised Snyder's decision to develop a compliance plan.
"We believe it's in the best interest of all Michigan residents that the state should chart its own course, taking prudent steps today that could reduce costs tomorrow," DTE Energy Co. said in a statement.
"With carbon controls for utilities on the way, Michigan public power would much rather work with our Michigan regulators to establish the best approach, because Michigan [Department of Environmental Quality] understands the value of public power and has always worked with us to find reasonable, flexible, best-cost approaches to clean air improvements," the Michigan Municipal Electric Association said in a statement.
Snyder presented the state's Republican-controlled Legislature in March 2015 with a plan for low-carbon power investment and "energy waste" reduction that by 2025 would result in at least 30 percent of its power coming from sources that are cleaner than the coal-fired generation the state has traditionally relied on. Michigan has one of the oldest coal-fired power fleets in the country.
Last updated on September 8, 2016 at 5:06 PM