Gov. Rick Snyder: Michigan Agency for Energy will Guide State Work Toward Affordable, Reliable Solutions

Press Release

Date: March 18, 2015
Location: Lansing, MI

Michiganders need to know they'll have access to affordable, reliable energy long into the future, and a new agency will focus on coordinating efforts and decisions as the state looks to replace retiring plants with newer, cleaner sources, Gov. Rick Snyder said.

Snyder today signed Executive Order 2015-10 restructuring some state bodies and creating the Michigan Agency for Energy. Upon its creation, he intends to name Valerie Brader, now a deputy legal counsel and senior policy advisor specializing in energy issues, to head the new agency.

"Michigan families and businesses need a future without fear of unaffordable energy price spikes or widespread outages that disrupt lives and work," Snyder said. "The new agency will oversee how our state responds to the energy challenges that we know are before us, and will work across state government to help Michigan reduce energy waste and adapt to changing needs and technology."

Snyder, in a Special Message on Energy delivered on March 13, said the state should approach the retirement of 10 coal-fired plants in the coming years as an opportunity. Solutions will be guided by the pillars of affordability, adaptability, reliability and protecting the environment. The state also needs to ensure that decisions affecting Michigan's energy future are made in Michigan, and not in Washington, D.C. The governor announced his intent to create the new agency during his State of the State address in January.

The Michigan Agency for Energy will serve as a a single agency dedicated to getting all of our departments and commissions the information and context they need to support our energy priorities.

The agency will be within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), and the energy agency's executive director will serve as the chief adviser to the governor and the directors of state departments regarding the development of energy policies and programs.

The executive order also calls for several transfers of responsibilities to and from LARA, the Michigan Public Service Commission, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Michigan Strategic Fund and the Michigan State Police.

For instance, the order transfers to the new agency the Retired Engineers Technical Assistance Program and Air Policy Director from the Department of Environmental Quality; and the Michigan Energy Office from the MEDC and the Michigan Strategic Fund. It also transfers LARA's Energy Advisory Committee authorities to the executive director of the new agency.

The MPSC will continue to operate autonomously from the agency.

Brader, 38, has worked with the administration since 2011. She previously served as chief energy policy officer at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and as an adviser to former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt on environmental and natural resource issues. She also worked in a private law practice, specializing in environmental and corporate law.

Brader is a Rhodes Scholar with degrees from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, two master's degrees from University of Oxford and a law degree from Georgetown Law Center.

"Valerie has tremendous expertise in energy issues, but I've also appreciated her legal skills," Snyder said. "She knows how to handle complex issues, playing a key role in resolving Detroit's bankruptcy issues, helping restore the city's financial foundation so it can continue to grow. I'm confident she'll do an outstanding job in this new position, guiding decisions that will help Michiganders long into the future."

The executive order is effective 60 days from today.