On September 18, 2008, the Michigan legislature sent the state’s first Renewable Portfolio Standard to the Governor’s desk for signature. The package mandates "10 percent of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2015, regulatory reform that protects Michigan ratepayers and allows utility companies to build new electricity generation in Michigan, and a requirement that utilities meet an additional 5.5 percent of Michigan’s annual electricity demands through energy efficiency by 2015." AWEA estimates that Michigan is one of the top twenty states in terms of wind energy potential.
The RPS package, however, has its skeptics. The Detroit News published an editorial that criticized the RPS for imposing a high financial burden on customers – for example, all customers must immediately begin paying a monthly surcharge to allow the utility to recover the incremental cost of complying with the utility’s renewable energy plan, although utilities aren’t required to take any concrete steps until 2012.
Michigan joins Ohio, which passed its RPS last spring, as the latest Midwestern state (and the 28th state nationwide) to pass an RPS.