The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) released a pair of reports last week week showing it’s making great strides toward freeing itself from the shackles of fossil fuels.
The first report indicates that the state’s electric utilities are moving toward the goal of meeting a standard of 10 percent renewable energy use by 2015.
“The state’s utilities are taking steps to build wind farms, promote solar energy and net metering and purchase renewable energy credits,” said MPSC Chairman Orjikor Isiogu.
The report states electric providers’ estimates for 2009 show that 3.6 percent of the state’s electricity comes from renewable sources — a figure that is on track to meet the 10 percent goal by 2015.
According to the MPSC, Detroit Edison and Consumers Energy have contracted for a combined total of 684 megawatts of renewable energy. That figure breaks down to 598 megawatts of wind-generated energy, 45 megawatts of biomass energy, 4 megawatts of solar photovoltaic energy, and 1 megawatt of hydroelectric power.
The second report comes from a national policy guide, “Freeing the Grid,” that shows Michigan’s net metering programs have received an “A” grade.
Under the federal government’s Energy Policy Act of 2005, all public electric utilities are now required to make available upon request net metering to their customers. This means that each electric utility shall make available upon request net metering service to any electric consumer that the electric utility serves. The term “net metering service” means service to an electric consumer under which electric energy generated by that electric consumer from an eligible on-site generating facility and delivered to the local distribution facilities may be used to offset electric energy provided by the electric utility to the consumer during the applicable billing period.
Accordingly, when a homeowner or business that has some kind of electrical generating means — such as solar cells, a wind turbine or the like — that generates more electric power than the particular building is using, the utility must credit that account.
MPSC Commissioner Monica Martinez said a lot of the state’s residents have taken the step toward greater energy independence and she’s very happy with the state being recognized for net metering progress.
“Michigan has seen explosive growth in the number of electric customers that have installed renewable energy generation systems in their homes and businesses,” she said. “This comes as a direct result of PA (Public Act) 295 of 2008, which put in place a net metering program that has proven popular with customers.”
The report on net metering is an annual service of the Network for New Energy Choices in partnership with Vote Solar, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council and the North Carolina Solar Center.