Michigan is expected to enact legislation adopting state-level jurisdiction over large-scale renewable energy projects. Under the legislation, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) will have permitting authority over solar projects with a capacity of 50 megawatts or more, wind projects with a capacity of 100 megawatts or more and storage facilities with a capacity of 50 megawatts or more. The legislation attempts to harmonize the permitting process of renewable energy projects with the permitting and siting of other energy projects and infrastructure in Michigan such as major transmission lines and natural gas pipelines.
Under the legislation, independent power producers and energy developers proposing projects with capacities noted above would be required to work with municipalities whose permitting process parallels the state procedure. If the developer and municipality cannot reach an agreement or approval, the developer could seek approval from the MPSC. A developer can also submit an application to the MPSC if the municipality’s requirements are stricter than state requirements, or if a project is denied despite meeting permitting standards.
Another provision of the new legislation requires that developers pay $2,000 per megawatt of a project’s capacity to fund public safety and local infrastructure improvement projects.
The legislation represents a significant change to the permitting of wind and solar projects within Michigan, and we will be continuing to track developments under the law.