energy

Courtesy MSU Today

Earlier this week, Valerie Brader, an attorney and former senior policy adviser to Gov. Rick Snyder, assumed her role as executive director of the new Michigan Agency for Energy. Brader will be the top energy adviser to Snyder and state department leaders. Snyder created the agency by executive order in March after setting it as a priority in January’s State of the State address.

In the coming year, nine of Michigan’s coal-fired power plants are scheduled to retire. That has environmentalists and renewable energy advocates cheering. And the state’s two major utilities, Consumer’s Energy and DTE, say they are ready to invest in a more sustainable energy future. But first, the companies say, Michigan has to return to a fully regulated electricity market.

Detroit Zoo

There’s a lot to see at the Detroit Zoo: polar bears, giraffes, and crocodiles. But there’s also a lot that you don’t see, like all the poop from those animals. So, what happens to the animal waste from those lions and tigers and bears? At the Detroit Zoo, it could soon be turned into electricity.

Flickr - Dr. Farnsworth

Yesterday, Governor Rick Snyder announced the creation of a new state entity: the Michigan Agency for Energy. The action comes less than a week after the governor called on the state to increase its reliance on  clean energy. Snyder has set a goal for the state to draw up to 40-percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025. He also wants to see the state become more energy efficient and reduce waste.

WKAR File Photo

Later this month, Governor Rick Snyder is expected to deliver a special message outlining Michigan’s energy production goals. The Michigan Public Service Commission says the state will experience an energy shortfall as soon as next year, largely due to the planned retirement of nine coal-fired power plants in Michigan in the coming years.

Flickr - Jeff Kubina

Barriers have developed that are standing in the way of advanced energy use in Michigan. That’s according to a report released recently by Michigan’s Institute for Energy Innovation. The institute says its report is the first serious effort to identify those barriers.

Kevin Lavery/WKAR

The construction of what will become the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or FRIB, continues at Michigan State University. The massive concrete floor of the underground chamber has been poured. Last week, the MSU Board of Trustees approved plans to connect a new power line from the T.B. Simon Power Plant on the south end of the main campus here in East Lansing to FRIB. It will require a substantial amount of power.

WKAR/Kevin Lavery

Few sights on the American landscape are as iconic as an old-fashioned farm windmill. From the era of Civil War through today, they harnessed the wind to pump water and run machinery. Today, farmers have other means of generating power.

Ann Arbor non-profit brings technology to world's poor

Jan 22, 2014
Scott Pohl/WKAR

More than a billion people around the world live without access to electricity. The lack of energy is a huge barrier to economic growth in developing countries.

Toronto's ice storm woes sound familiar

Jan 13, 2014
Flickr - photolific

On December 22nd, a powerful ice storm knocked out power to tens of thousands of customers, some for more than a week. Many people without electricity struggled get basic information and to get through to the municipally-owned power company to report outages. Some even took to social media to pick up the slack on their own. We’re not talking about the Lansing-area and Board of Water and Light. We’re talking about Toronto, which was hit by the same ice storm that wreaked havoc on us three weeks ago.

Flickr - Kiel Dyse

In most marketplaces, if customers are not happy with the product or service, they can look at competitors and choose another option. If Ford sells you a lemon, next time you go to buy a car, perhaps you’ll be looking at GM models, a Chrysler, or a foreign car. In the complex utility marketplace, however, things aren’t that simple.

Feds respond to Mackinac pipeline concerns

Jan 8, 2014
Flickr - James Marvin Phelps

About a month ago, U-S Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation asking about an Enbridge Company oil pipeline that runs through the Straits of Mackinac. They asked for information on safety tests done on the pipeline, and for emergency response information from Enbridge.

Joe Linstroth/WKAR

The citizen board that oversees the embattled Lansing Board of Water and Light convened last night.  The body heard from both the public as well as numerous BWL employees and leadership about the utility’s response to last month’s overwhelming ice storm that knocked out electric power to tens of thousands in the Lansing area.

https://www.facebook.com/michiganconservativeenergyforum

A new conservative group is hoping to open up the conversation about renewable energy.  The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is working to increase the state’s investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

Flickr - eddy.matt

Governor Rick Snyder wants a “no regrets energy future" for Michigan by 2025.  That was how he summarized his administration’s long-awaited energy “blueprint” which was released yesterday.

MI electric reformers blast deregulation opponents

Nov 1, 2013
Flickr - lugnut215

Last week, Public Sector Consultants, a Lansing-based media advocacy organization, released a study suggesting that electric customers in several states that offer greater customer choice pay more for it. Some key backers of electric choice have blasted the study, calling the findings unsubstantiated.

Public Sector Consultants


Earlier this week we spoke with Michigan Public Service Commission Chair John Quakenbush about draft reports published to guide Michigan’s energy future. One of many of the issues addressed in the report was electric choice and the deregulation of utilities.

Flickr

What should America’s energy future be, and how do we hammer out an environmentally conscious national energy security plan for the future?   

MSU students launch fossil free campaign

Apr 4, 2013

Environmentalists trying to get Michigan State University to curtail coal-generated power are announcing a new tactic today. The MSU Sierra Student Coalition is launching the MSU Fossil Free campaign. The effort is an attempt to get the university to divest millions of endowment dollars the coalition says are invested in the fossil fuel industry. Callie Bruley, an MSU student and a coordinator of MSU Beyond Coal, and Brad Van Guilder, who represents the Michigan Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal effort, discuss the MSU Fossil Free campaign. 

Water-energy nexus in the Great Lakes Basin

Apr 2, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

The dependent relationship between energy and water is important, but in a water-rich state like Michigan, it’s easy to overlook. Skip Pruss discusses the water-energy nexus  and its potential impact on the future of the Great Lakes. Pruss is a Principal at 5 Lakes Energy and former Deputy Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

What should Michigan’s long-range priorities be regarding energy?  Governor Rick Snyder and other state officials want to know.

This Thursday afternoon in Lansing is the public’s first chance to make its voice heard at a forum being held at the State Library. Next December, the Governor plans to issue a comprehensive set of recommendations based in part on the forums.  

Today on Current State, three guests with different perspectives discuss the energy issue.

401k / flickr creative commons

Michigan utility regulators say residential heating bills for natural gas users are expected to be slightly higher this winter due to likely increased consumption.

imma / morgueFile

An environmental group says Michigan's economy would get a boost if it relied more on renewable energy sources.

Kevin Lavery / WKAR

Last week, Mayor Virg Bernero announced that a series of small wind turbines would be installed on the roofs of City Hall and the Lansing Center in June.  Generating electrical power from wind energy is part of Michigan’s overall renewable energy strategy.  But there’s some debate as to whether the urban core is the best laboratory in which to try it out.  

WKAR File Photo

Michigan State University is explaining its new energy transition plan to a potentially global audience. 

Courtesy / Suncor Energy

In a new study, the U.S. Geological Survey shows an increasing correlation between Midwest energy drilling and earthquakes.

Photo: Scott Pohl / WKAR

Michigan State University Trustees have approved a controversial Energy Transition Plan.

           

MSU President Lou Anna Simon says the goal is for 100% of the university’s energy to come from renewable sources.

           

Several dozen students at today’s trustees meeting argued that the plan doesn’t move fast enough. After the unanimous vote, they launched a chant while the board continued its meeting.

 

STUDENTS CHANTING

 

Courtesy Michigan State University

The Michigan State University Board of Trustees faces a pivotal decision today.  The board will decide whether to approve a strategic clean energy plan that would eventually transition the campus to 100 percent renewable energy.  The plan calls for MSU to produce 15 percent of its energy from renewables in just three years. 

The plan has been staunchly opposed by student environmental groups at MSU, who claim it’s not strong enough to effect any real change.  They’re also critical of the fact that the vision does not include scrapping the university’s coal-fired power plant.