MIDLAND DAILY NEWS: Rep. Glenn one of four lawmakers introducing clean energy bills

LANSING — Rep. Gary Glenn was one of four Michigan representatives to introduce a package of bills to remove barriers to renewable energy production for homeowners, businesses, farms, congregations and others.

Along with Glenn, Reps. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, and Scott Dianda, D-Calumet, introduced the Energy Freedom legislation which would create policies for net metering, fair value pricing and investment in community energy co-operatives by removing red tape to generating energy.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to invest in renewable energy, even if they can’t install a system at their own home or business. The community energy bill would enable a wide range of people to share the up-front costs and long-term benefits of producing renewable energy, keeping more of our energy dollars here in Michigan. It’s pro-jobs, pro-environment and pro-freedom,” Glenn said in a press release.

The legislation blends pro-consumer reforms with a market-based approach, ensuring that energy producers receive a fair and competitive price.

“As Michigan’s highly-successful renewable energy standard expires this year, the Energy Freedom legislation is a bipartisan, bipeninsular effort to continue shaping our state’s energy future for the better,” Irwin said. “We should be encouraging people to produce clean energy right here in Michigan, not encumbering them with bureaucratic rules.”

Michigan currently limits the number and size of net metering projects so customers only generate what they use. As renewable energy production grows, the net metering program is expected to reach its limit and shut out new customers within a few years unless the cap is lifted.

Another bill in the package sets up a framework to allow members to buy shares of a renewable energy system and receive a monthly bill credit for their shares’ output. While other states have enacted similar policies focusing on solar, this bill provides broad opportunities to invest in any renewable energy source.

“In addition, two of the bills create a framework for pricing the power generated by consumers and put back on the grid using a market-based approach to ensure both the customer and the utility are fairly compensated and addressing concerns that the cost of integrating distributed generation would otherwise be subsidized by other customers,” Dianda said.

New technology has made renewable sources competitively priced and sometimes even cheaper than coal and natural gas. This tipping point represents an opportunity for Michigan’s economy and its environment.

“As a small business owner, I’ve seen first hand how clean energy creates jobs in Michigan,” said Dave Friedrichs, manager of Homeland Solar.

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