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E-M:/ Michigan Renewables Energy Program
same day that the Abraham/Bush/Cheney (ABC -- Anything But Conservation)
energy policy was released, comments were due to the Michigan Public
Service Commission regarding their proposed Michigan Renewables Energy
MREP report outlines numerous regulatory and market barriers that limit
renewable wind and solar resources from being used to generate
electricity in Michigan. To address these barriers the MPSC
proposes to setup a new website and educate consumers about the benefits
of renewables. In other words, they WILL NOT issue
the rulings necessary to create a fair market and regulatory structure
that values solar and wind resources as being equivalent to the status
quo, i.e. coal and nuclear.
the MPSC and the Engler Administration do? One incredibly small
thing they could do would be to develop a net metering rule that would
require utilities to allow small residential and commercial solar and
wind generators to safely interconnect to the grid and provide any excess
renewably generated electrons to their friends and neighbors.
is available that interconnects safely with the electric utility (the
interconnection devices are underwriter's laboratory approved) and senses
when the grid is "energized." If the utility has gone
down, then the inverter disconnects from the utility and only supplies
power to your home. This allows the utility linemen to safely fix
any problem with the distribution system. This technology is
infinitely safer than the hundreds of thousands of small gasoline
generators scattered throughout the country dangerously backfeeding the
electric utility when the power goes out.
inverter technology also can send electricity back to the utility (i.e.
spin your meter backwards) when you're producing more electricity than
you need and when the grid is not down. When you're consuming more
than you're producing, you buy from the utility (i.e. your meter spins in
the favorable direction for the utility again).
19 of the 23 states that have restructured their electric utility
industries have adopted net metering rules. Michigan has not.
previous rulemakings the MPSC has indicated that they would study net
metering and develop a position. Over 17 years ago the MPSC granted
Michigan customers served by Wisconsin utilities the right to net
meter. Over 17 years ago our neighbor, Wisconsin, adopted net
metering. Michigan utility customers are still waiting and waiting
and waiting and.........
1999 the MPSC ordered their staff to perform and publish an evaluation of
net metering. Today nothing has been published and the Sierra Club
has requested a copy of the staff evaluation and we're still waiting and
waiting and waiting and.........
still waiting for Michigan to catch up and our utilities are in no hurry
to get there. See what the Sierra Club and all of the other
organizations that commented had to say about the proposed MPSC
renewables program at
way, if you don't read their comments Detroit Edison is adamantly opposed
to net metering and Consumers likes the status quo (i.e. they make no
comment, so don't implement net metering MPSC). If you're served by
AEP, they did not bother to respond to the MREP proposal.
commission also asked for the following:
"In addition, the Commission welcomes comments regarding how the
performance of the Michigan Renewables Energy Program should be
Ii is intuitively obvious that if the commission was truly interested in
promoting renewables then they could measure the increase in renewable
electricity generation due to their program and declare success.
Since they're obviously not interested in renewables, then they can count
how many awards they receive for their new renewables website and declare
success while actually accomplishing nothing.
Mackinac Chapter Sierra Club