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Mon Jun 3, 2024, 12:21 PM Jun 3

Climate threat: Michigan to woo tech data centers with new laws


In threat to climate safety, Michigan to woo tech data centers with new laws

Opponents of bills argue ‘offramp’ to keep gas or coal plants running will be triggered if energy-heavy centers are built

Tom Perkins in Detroit
Mon 3 Jun 2024 07.00 EDT

Michigan Democrats are poised to pass legislation aimed at attracting big-tech data centers, but opponents say the bills would destroy nation-leading climate laws the same legislators approved in November because the centers consume massive amounts of electricity. The November climate bills included an “offramp” that would keep gas or coal plants running if renewable sources could not handle the energy grid’s load, and the stipulation would almost certainly be triggered, opponents say.

That would put an end to Michigan’s climate legislation that requires 100% renewable energy by 2040, and dramatically increase electric rates for residential customers, critics say. Meanwhile, the centers would potentially consume millions of gallons of water daily, an unprecedented draw from the Great Lakes, which hold 95% of the nation’s freshwater.

The “sheer volume of electricity required by these things is almost unfathomable”, said Christy McGillivray, legislative director for the Sierra Club of Michigan, which is lobbying against the bills. “These are very clearly a nightmare, because they use so much energy and water that without mandatory protections for ratepayers and guardrails that require renewable energy buildout, we are not going to be able to cut emissions like we want to,” McGillivray said.

The data-center bills would provide tax incentives to tech companies lobbying for them, including Google, Amazon and Microsoft. Democratic leadership recently pushed the bills through the house and senate, both controlled by Democrats, without environmental or consumer protections called for by progressive lawmakers. But environmental groups mobilized in May and peeled off enough support to stall the bills in reconciliation in the house.


(Dems are split on this.)
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Climate threat: Michigan to woo tech data centers with new laws (Original Post) cbabe Jun 3 OP
make these ppl generate their own damn power. mopinko Jun 3 #1
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