Billionaire Tom Steyer gets Michigan renewable-energy deal
Energy - MAY 18, 2018

Billionaire Tom Steyer gets Michigan renewable-energy deal

by Andrea Zander

Michigan utility companies DTE Energy and Consumers Energy have struck a deal with billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer to produce cleaner energy in Michigan, targeting at least a 50 percent Clean Energy Goal by 2030 in exchange for Steyer dropping his pursuit of a voter-imposed law.

Half of the goal will come from solar, wind and hydroelectric generation, while the other half of the energy goal would be achieved through energy-efficiency efforts.

Steyer has been funding a signature-gathering campaign to put a 30 percent renewable mandate by 2030 on the November ballot.

DTE Energy chairman and CEO Gerry Anderson and Consumers Energy CEO Patti Poppe said in a joint statement that they appreciate that Steyer, whose NextGen America provided financial support to collect more than 350,000 voter signatures, and other sponsors “understand our commitment to carbon reduction and how Michigan’s energy plan puts the tools in place to achieve this goal in a thoughtful and affordable manner. Our two companies are overwhelmingly in favor of renewable energy and are focused on bringing additional energy efficiency opportunities to our customers.”

In the past year, both DTE Energy and Consumers have announced plans to reduce carbon emissions by more than 80 percent in the coming decades. Leveraging the already aggressive framework established in Michigan’s 2016 bipartisan energy law, the state’s two largest energy companies are advancing their plans to invest in Michigan. This is in conjunction with an agreement by Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan  to place aside a ballot proposal to increase the state’s renewable portfolio standard.

Steyer is the founder and former co-senior managing partner of Farallon Capital and the co-founder of OneCalifornia Bank, which became (through merger) Beneficial State Bank, an Oakland, Calif.–based community development bank. Farallon Capital manages $20 billion in capital for institutions and high-net-worth individuals. In 2012, he sold his stake in and retired from Farallon Capital. Switching his focus to politics and the environment, he launched NextGen America, a nonprofit organization that supports progressive positions on climate change, immigration, healthcare and education.

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