Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Harris: Dark days ahead under unreliable energy mandates, utility rate hikes
RELEASE|November 28, 2023
Contact: Mike Harris

State Rep. Mike Harris on Tuesday criticized new energy laws signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that will effectively ban natural gas and mandate more wind and solar — costly changes that will lead to utility companies raising electric rates while blackouts increase.

The new laws mandate 100% “clean” energy by 2040, which will close reliable natural gas plants and increase dependence on less reliable wind and solar power, all while eliminating a cap on utility companies’ rate hikes. The legislation, which Harris opposed this month in the House, also lets the governor-appointed Michigan Public Service Commission decide where massive green energy projects will go, taking away local communities’ discretion over the placement of wind and solar farms.

“Dark days are ahead for Michiganders under these backwards new laws that will prematurely ditch reliable natural gas power plants and require vastly more wind and solar,” said Harris, R-Waterford. “These heavy-handed laws will force people to hand more money to big utility companies while getting less reliable electricity and suffering more blackouts as a result. On top of all that, Michigan’s rural communities will be upended as the governor’s hand-picked bureaucrats veto local decisions and put wind and solar farms in any community they please. The utilities will rake in profits from this costly, unreliable scheme, but the families, schools, and small businesses of Michigan will pay the price — and many people will leave for brighter, more affordable states.”

The governor signed the bills in the city of Detroit. Harris commented on the location choice, noting how much the state takeover of wind and solar siting decisions will impact rural communities as opposed to large cities.

“These laws dismiss the voices of rural Michigan residents, and it’s ironic that the governor signed this legislation in a big city, away from the communities that the state will force to take wind and solar farms,” Harris said.

The “clean” energy mandates under the legislation effectively ban reliable natural gas plants, with an impractical exception only if a plant incorporates expensive, rare carbon capture technology. The final laws also repeal a cap limiting electric rate increases for offsetting the cost of renewable standard compliance.

An expert analysis projects that average monthly electric bills could nearly double under the legislation. California, which has less strict mandates, has seen rate increases dramatically outpace national increases, causing them to backtrack on their energy mandates after widespread blackouts and brownouts.

Senate Bills 271, 273, 277, 502, and 519, and House Bills 5120-5121 previously passed the Democrat-run House and Senate along party lines.

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