In the near future, the Michigan legislature could redefine ‘renewable energy.’ Barry Rabe discusses the potential ramifications with Kate Abbey-Lambertz of the Huffington Post.
In “Michigan May Redefine Fuel From Burning Tires As Renewable Energy,” Abbey-Lambertz writes about House Bill 5205, which “[expands] the definition of renewable energy to include types of solid waste.” This expansion is tied to Michigan’s Clean, Renewable and Efficient Energy Act of 2008; under that act, “Michigan utility companies are required to derive 10 percent of their energy from sources like wind and solar power by 2015,” and House Bill 5205 is designed to aid these companies in reaching that goal.
Rabe notes that Michigan is projected to reach its 10 percent requirement by the end of 2015, but suggests House Bill 5205 is part of a national pushback against renewable energy laws. During his conversation with the Huffington Post, Rabe says that he sees “a nationwide trend of legal challenges, rather than deeper commitments, to measures that increase renewable energy use.” Rabe also asserts that “nationwide Republican gains in state legislatures could stop or roll back states’ progress on renewable energy.”
House Bill 5205 is likely to die, as the Michigan Senate has yet to schedule a vote on the bill before the end of this legislative session. Nonetheless, Rabe’s beliefs seem to suggest this battle is likely to continue in 2015.
Barry Rabe is the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Professor of Public Policy, Arthur Thurnau Professor at the Ford School, and director of the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP), and CLOSUP’s Energy and Environmental Policy Initiative. He holds additional appointments in the Department of Political Science, the Program in the Environment, and the School of Natural Resources and Environment at U-M and is a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.