Capital Catch-Up: May 9, 2022
DTE’s War Against Rooftop Solar Renewed At PSC; Lawmakers Respond
In DTE’s most recent rate case, the company proposed halving the amount of money rooftop solar customers would receive when they sell their excess energy back to the grid from roughly 8 cents per kilowatt hour (KWh) to 4 cents per kWH. On average, DTE customers pay 17.86 cents per kWH, meaning solar producers are already credited less than the fair market value for the energy they produce.
Michigan LCV worked with the Conservative Energy Forum and a bipartisan group of lawmakers to urge the Public Service Commission to reject DTE’s proposals. In the House, lawmakers introduced House Resolutions 284 and 285, and in the Senate, Senator Irwin penned his own letter to the Public Service Commission.
Over the past several years, Michigan LCV has worked with a coalition of energy industry experts, environmental advocates, and independent rooftop solar owners to eliminate Michigan’s arbitrary 1% cap on rooftop solar. The 1% cap hamstrings our state’s ability to invest in clean, affordable energy, grow meaningful careers in the solar industry, and fight climate change.
Unfortunately, bills to eliminate the cap, including this session’s House Bill 4236, have been stalled in the Legislature for years amidst strong opposition from DTE and Consumers Energy. In their arguments against lifting the cap, the companies have claimed that while they support their current customers with rooftop solar, eliminating the cap would cause “cost-shifts” and raise rates for other customers. In multiple public hearings and written statements, Public Service Commissioners and staff have repeatedly asserted these claims to be false.
Michigan Public Service Commission Operations Director, Mike Byrne, said at a September Senate Energy Hearing “From the standpoint of the Commission… there is not a cost shift.”
Rooftop solar owners and clean energy businesses rely on fair, stable solar tariffs to make the investments pencil out; massively decreasing Michigan’s solar credit (which is already too low) will make rooftop solar inaccessible for thousands of Michiganders — taking a critical climate, clean air, and local economic development opportunity off the table.
You can learn more about our fight to expand rooftop solar and clean energy by visiting our website.
Quick Hits: Senate GOP would Gut State Budget – Eyes $2B in Tax Cuts
This week, both the House and the Senate passed their separate budget proposals along party lines. As is typical during the appropriations process with divided government, both chambers of the legislature altered the Governor’s executive recommendations significantly. However, the Republican-controlled Senate’s budget notably left over $2B on the negotiating table — purportedly to make room (and to establish leverage) for damaging, large-scale tax cuts. Click here to learn more about the House, Senate, and Governor’s budget recommendations.
MLCV in Action: MLCV and the City of Grand Rapids Present on Green Infrastructure
Last Wednesday, Michigan LCV’s Government Affairs Director, Nick Occhipinti, was invited by the House Subappropriations Committee on Transportation to testify on the importance of green infrastructure as it relates to flood mitigation. Nick presented alongside Rep. Rachel Hood, Amy O’Leary from Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, and Carrie Rivette from the City of Grand Rapids, who has been a statewide leader in the deployment of green infrastructure along roadways and waterbodies.
Green infrastructure is an important tool for local governments to use to increase community resilience to climate change. Green infrastructure, as opposed to gray infrastructure, uses natural features (primarily plant life and soil grading) to absorb rainfall, filter stormwater, and decrease urban heat caused by heat-reflecting concrete landscapes.
Michigan LCV Government Affairs is Hiring!
Do you, or someone you know, believe everyone should have safe drinking water and clean air to breathe? Are you interested in politics and environmental policy? Do you believe in defending our democracy and elections?
If so, we have an opportunity for you to create change and protect Michigan’s land, air, water, public health and democracy by joining the Michigan League of Conservation Voters’ Government Affairs team!
Our team is looking for highly motivated, self-starters who are passionate about protecting our environment for the following positions:
MLCV Government Affairs Manager: Develop policy positions for the organization, execute legislative and executive office advocacy; build and manage relationships with partners, stakeholders, and decision-makers!
Government Affairs Fellow (part-time): This long-term, part-time fellow will support the State Government Affairs team in its advancement of land, air, water, and voting rights issues in Lansing and districts around the state. The ideal candidate will be a rising leader who will develop the experience to work in government affairs and issue advocacy.
To learn more about these positions, and to view other open positions with the Michigan LCV team, click here.