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Updates on Michigan Clean Energy Siting Law

As this site has previously covered, on November 28, 2023, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bill 5120 (PA 233 of 2023) which provides siting authority to the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) for utility-scale wind, solar, and energy storage facilities. However, the passage of the Bill raised more questions than it answered. To allow for rules and guidelines to be developed, the Bill was not scheduled to take effect until November 29, 2024.

In the months since passage of PA 233, the MPSC has been holding periodic public meetings to discuss various issues which may arise in the implementation of the Bill. Dalton & Tomich has attended several of these meetings to monitor potential new developments. Further, on February 8, 2024, the MPSC issued an Order in Case No. U-21547 directing the Staff to, among other things, consider issues relating to application filing instructions or guidelines, the potential use of consultants and assessment of application fees, pre-application consultations, to consider guidance for use in the development of compatible renewable energy ordinances, as well as any additional issues that may arise during the engagement process.  The Order directs Staff to file proposed rules and regulations by June 21, 2024, followed by a period for comments until July 17, 2024, and reply comments until August 9, 2024. As of the time of this article, the draft rules had not yet been published.

The effective date of PA 233 is quickly approaching, and many questions still remain unanswered. For example, to what extent local concerns will be considered by the MPSC in siting decisions, how decisions will be enforced, and other issues are on the minds of many stakeholders. The publishing of the draft rules will be an important first step in gaining clarity for landowners, developers, and local authorities. Dalton & Tomich will have another update once the draft rules are made available.

The attorneys at Dalton & Tomich, PLC represent landowners and developers in clean energy developments. If you have questions about PA 233 or are planning a clean energy project in Michigan, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to speak with you.

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