Rep. Outman voices concerns with plan that will significantly raise Michiganders’ electricity bills
Rep. Outman today expressed his disappointment with the Green New Deal that Democrats in majority today approved in the House.
The representative said the carbon neutrality plan is irresponsible, rushed, and will be costly for Michigan families and businesses. It also circumvents local control by giving the Michigan Public Service Commission – a three-member board appointed by the governor – the authority to permit large solar and wind construction.
“Michigan families are already paying too much for electricity that isn’t reliable,” Outman said. “Rural communities like ours have experienced energy outages in recent years that only stand to get worse under these bills. The people of Michigan don’t want this plan, that’s why Democrats are stepping in to force it on them regardless of what local communities have already decided.”
Senate Bill 271 changes the state’s existing renewable energy standard as laid out in a bipartisan plan adopted in 2016. Currently, the energy standard is set at 15%, but the partisan plan approved today would periodically increase the standard, ultimately spiking to 60% by 2033.
Additionally, the bill requires providers to meet a new clean energy standard of 80% by 2035 and 100% by 2040.
Outman, who serves on the House Energy Committee, said the timeline is unrealistic and will be costly to achieve, leading to increased energy costs for Michigan families and job providers. One study estimates a 96% increase in consumer rates and a 142% increase in commercial rates under the Democrats’ proposed timeline.
“Michigan energy providers have already made great strides in recent years when it comes to innovative renewable energy solutions, and they don’t need a state mandate to continue that innovation,” Outman said. “Renewable energy solutions aren’t a bad thing – but this plan fast tracks the process in a way that’s just not attainable or affordable. We can expect to see backpedaling in the future if this plan is signed into law – just like in California.”
Michigan’s two largest utilities, DTE and Consumers Energy, have already set goals to achieve net zero carbon emissions without government mandates. Consumers Energy set its goal to 2040, and DTE to 2050. Consumers Energy plans to shut down all coal-fired plants by 2025, while DTE plans to close its last coal plant in 2032.
During a press conference opposing the plan in September, Outman also said solar and wind are not reliable energy sources in Michigan. He and other Republican representatives said a better plan would be to replace existing natural gas plants with nuclear power plants, which would be far less expensive than the current proposal whiles still accomplishing the zero-carbon goal with greater reliability.
Experts estimate that an entirely carbon-free grid powered by wind and solar will see blackouts of up to 61 hours in the winter when sunlight and winds are low.
“Even California is backpedaling after it’s overly ambitious carbon neutrality targets resulted in rolling blackouts,” Outman said. “They’re scrambling to reverse course to allow natural gas and nuclear plants to remain operational. A policy that’s too radical for California definitely isn’t right for Michigan.”
State Rep. Pat Outman (R-Six Lakes), who serves on the House Energy Committee, issued the following statement celebrating the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approval of the Line 5 Tunnel permitting process: “Michiganders encountered significant energy setbacks over the past week, with rising electricity rates and the looming threat that Gov. Whitmer’s green energy mandates […]
“Rate increases like this are just the beginning of what’s ahead for Michiganders under Democrats’ Green New Deal. Just one day after the governor signed the plan into law, we’re already seeing detrimental impacts.”