Heavy-handed policy also strips local control of wind, solar projects
State Rep. Sarah Lightner continues to oppose a partisan plan to radically alter Michigan’s energy policy, voicing concerns that the new mandates will burden Michigan families with electricity that is more expensive and less reliable.
Lightner, R-Springport, said the plan calls for utilities to have 100% clean energy by 2040, with several other mandates that will also increase costs. The mandates are similar to those issued in California which resulted in rate hikes and frequent blackouts.
“These proposals are tone-deaf, doing nothing to tackle the real issues,” Lightner said. “High electric bills are crushing families, our power grid is teetering on the brink, and wind and solar mandates are going to make things even worse.”
A forthcoming study projects that monthly electric bills could go up by more than $100 on average under the legislation, and California, which adopted similar mandates in 2018, has seen rate increases dramatically outpace national increases. California has also started to backtrack on its energy mandates after blackouts and brownouts.
Other measures Lightner voted against would strip control away from local communities concerning the construction of large-scale solar and wind energy projects. Under House Bill 5120-5121, the Michigan Public Service Commission could force the projects on local communities with little regard for residents’ concerns, long-established zoning ordinances or affordability, and people would have no ability to hold the unelected commission members accountable.
“Local communities should be able to make decisions about how their land is zoned,” Lightner said. “These bills disregard local control, imposing wind and solar projects on communities without their consent.”
Each of the bills was ultimately approved by the House and Senate along party lines. They will soon be presented to the governor for her expected signature.
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