Dianda renewable energy bill enters House committee

ISHPEMING — When the Michigan House returns to session on Tuesday, it’ll take up the gas tax hike that the state Senate recently approved.

It’ll also start to consider a package of three new bills that would increase Michigan’s energy independence from other states.

State Representative Scott Dianda of Calumet wrote one of the bills. His measure, House Bill 5968, would relax regulations on customer energy generation while ensuring safety and reliability of power distribution.

The bill would also would fairly compensate anyone who buys and sells self-generated energy on utility company grids.

“This bill would maintain the requirements that half the renewable energy generation would be produced through competitively procedured power purchases through independent power producers,” Rep. Dianda said. “I think that’s one of the most incredible things that we need to do.”

Dianda says he believes energy production through wood biomass is the key to the U.P.’s future, since it’s both plentiful in the area and renewable. His bill, and the other two bills in the energy package, will start out in the House Energy & Technology Committee.

“We are in full support of making sure that these move very quickly because the U.P. is in a crisis mode for energy,” he said. “We need to have this situation taken care of. We need to make sure that it’s done very efficiently.”

A recent study found that continued growth of renewable energy in Michigan would add more than $6 billion to the state’s economy by 2020, creating more than 40,000 new jobs.