Consumers have new options to support renewable energy sources

Residential customers will have more options to support renewable energy in Michigan.

LANSING, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- Customers will have more options to support renewable energy in Michigan.

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) Friday authorized Consumers Energy to move forward with two voluntary green pricing (VGP) programs, but withheld approval of a similar proposal from DTE Electric Co. to give the utility time to provide more information about program costs.

The Commission approved Consumers’ Solar Gardens program for residential electric customers (Case No. U-18351). In the same case, the MPSC conditionally approved the Large Customer-Renewable Energy Program (LC-REP) Option A and Option B but asked the utility to clarify language in the program tariff such as eligibility requirements.

DTE will be allowed to continue operating its MIGreenPower pilot program until questions are resolved with the full-scale program (Case No. U-18352).

Green pricing programs allow a residential, commercial or industrial customer to voluntarily specify that a certain amount of electricity they buy from a utility is to be generated using renewable energy sources.

The green pricing program is part of the state’s new energy laws.

“With the new green pricing programs approved by the MPSC, customers in Michigan have additional options to purchase electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar,” said Sally Talberg, chairman of the MPSC. “The Commission is committed to working with all stakeholders to make sure that resources are available to meet the needs of the growing interest in renewable energy by customers of all sizes. We believe there is significant interest in the potential for utilities to partner with local communities and renewable energy developers to meet this customer demand.”

Consumers’ Solar Gardens program receives its green power from four megawatts (MWs) of community solar at Grand Valley State and Western Michigan universities. The program is open to all of Consumers’ residential and commercial full-service customers. The Large Customer-Renewable Energy Program has an allocation of 155,000 MW hours for customer usage.

Consumers will be allowed to continue its current Green Generation program, which has approximately 20,000 subscribers, but was ordered to close the program to new customers within 60 days as it launches Solar Gardens.

For information about green pricing programs offered by regulated utilities, click here.

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