The Senate has proposed legislation that would make Michigan “Carbon Neutral” by 2035, by using all renewable energy (Senate Bills 271-276). The bills eliminate any biomass (methane gas capture, wood, etc.) from the definition of renewable energy – focusing on wind and solar.
The costs involved in moving to all electric energy is unwise and not practical. These bills would lead to increased energy costs and a decrease in energy reliability. Heating costs alone would skyrocket as electric heat is 65% more expensive than natural gas.
In addition, the bills give broad rule-making authority to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). This means that bureaucrats in these departments could decide to eliminate the use of gas appliances (furnaces, stoves) in new construction, both residential and commercial. They could also require any licensed entity, like construction, to only use renewable energy (in other words, electric, not gas), which would significantly increase costs. These kinds of “rules”, which have the effect of law, would not have to be voted on by the Legislature.
NFIB has advocated that any rules delegated to the departments by the Legislature should be very narrow in scope. NFIB is actively engaged in fighting these bills, which would have a significant impact on costs and energy reliability for small businesses.