December is shaping up to be a busy month in the Michigan legislature as lawmakers will likely cast their first votes to overhaul the state’s energy policy.
In October 2014, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill that effectively banned electric-vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors Inc. from selling its products directly from storefronts here to customers. While Snyder said at the time the bill simply clarified existing law, 13 months later, the California-based company is still actively pushing lawmakers to reconsider the state’s position that Tesla supporters have criticized as an attack on free-market principals. West Virginia, Texas and Arizona also prohibit Tesla from directly selling to consumers. Earlier this year, even the Federal Trade Commission advised state lawmakers in an 11-page letter that Michigan’s policy is “protectionism”: “Michigan’s consumers would more fully benefit from a complete repeal of the prohibition on direct sales by all automakers.”
Despite being blocked from selling and servicing cars here (Tesla's closest retail stores are in Chicago and Cleveland), the company continues to invest in Michigan, particularly by providing business to parts suppliers. A few weeks ago, the company opened Tesla Tool and Die near Grand Rapids, a parts manufacturing facility it purchased from a previous supplier.
Utilities big and small across Michigan are catching on to the popularity and increasing demand from their customers for access to solar energy.
According to the Michigan Public Service Commission, the amount of new wind contracts in the state may have peaked by 2014 due in part to the state's renewable energy standard leveling off.
A new battery research lab in Michigan aims to provide infrastructure for companies to prototype new mobility and grid energy storage ideas while maintaining their intellectual property.
Researchers and policy experts in Michigan are criticizing an out-of-state organization's report released last month claiming the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard has cost thousands of jobs.
While behavior-based approaches to cutting energy use may sound invasive, a Michigan researcher points out they're really about making it easier for people to make decisions they already want to make.
In what critics are calling misleading “scare tactics” to push utility-backed legislation in Michigan, a nonprofit advocacy group has launched a new ad campaign with a ticking clock counting down coal plant closures.
As state policymakers carry the legislative momentum to end Michigan's renewable and efficiency standards, a new report by the Michigan Public Service Commission shows that mandated efficiency investments since 2010 have saved ratepayers billions of dollars.
A retired vice admiral in the U.S. Navy — who is now an adviser on a board that studies pressing issues to the country’s national security — says Michigan is a leading example of how energy independence will be crucial for adapting to the threats of climate change.