State Representative Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) wants all of Michigan's energy to come from renewable sources by 2050. He proposed a bill that would codify this plan to the Legislature last week.
Rabhi says he has always been passionate about the environment. He says this bill has been in the works for a while now.
But Rabhi says it was the recent United Nations report on the accelerated timeline of climate change that made him introduce the bill last week.
“We need to act and we need to act now, and this is I think a step in the right direction to do that,” he says.
The state currently requires 10% of all energy to come from renewable sources. That will go up to 15% in 2021.
But Rabhi's bill would get the state to 100% with larger periodic changes. He wants 25% of energy to come from renewable sources by 2025, 50% by 2032, and 75% by 2040.
That’s all leading up to the ultimate goal of 100% of energy coming from renewable sources by 2050.
“The goal is not to have a mixed portfolio where some energy sources emit CO2 and some energy sources don't. The goal in my opinion is to have a fully renewable energy portfolio,” he says.
Rabhi expects some pushback from the state's energy companies.
But he thinks the 30-year timeline he's created to accomplish the goal will give companies plenty of time to adjust.
DTE spokesperson Peter Ternef says they'll leave it up to lawmakers to decide if this is necessary, but he says the company already plans to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.
Consumers Energy spokesperson Brian Wheeler said Consumers also has its own goals. It plans to reduce carbon emissions by 90% and eliminate the use of coal to generate electricity by 2040.
“We appreciate Representative Rabhi raising this important issue," he says.
Editor's note: Consumers Energy is one of Michigan Radio's many corporate sponsors.