Politics & Government
11:54 am
Thu May 21, 2015

MI energy czar hopeful over renewables, efficiency

Valerie Brader
Credit 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.

Read more
11:58 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Energy analyst: MI electricity debate needs re-focusing

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.

Read more
11:56 am
Fri April 24, 2015

Detroit Zoo will turn poop into power with new biodigester

The Detroit Zoo has launched an online crowdfunding campaign to raise funding for a planned biodigester.
Credit 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.

Read more
11:21 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Trade group, environmentalist weigh in on Snyder energy plan

Credit 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.

Read more
12:21 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

MI utilities prepare for expected energy shortage

Credit 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.

Read more
11:29 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Report finds obstacles to advanced energy in Michigan

Credit 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.

Read more
Science & Technology
11:30 am
Fri December 19, 2014

FRIB leads to MSU power grid upgrades

MSU's T.B. Simon power plant will supply energy for the massive FRIB facility.
Credit 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.

Read more
3:17 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Michigan farms turn waste to wattage

Green Meadow Farms milks 3,200 dairy cows. Their waste could eventually generate up to 800 kilowatts of energy.
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.

Read more
Radio Made in Michigan
11:02 am
Wed January 22, 2014

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

John Barrie of the Appropriate Technology Collaborative holds a small solar light with a solar panel. It replaces burning kerosene or candles and can pay for itself in 15 weeks.
Credit 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.

Read more
Radio Made in Michigan
11:12 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Toronto's ice storm woes sound familiar

Toronto, like Lansing, was hit hard by the December ice storm.
Credit 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.

Read more
Radio Made in Michigan
1:04 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Utility expert: Switching electricity providers isn't easy

Credit 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.

Read more
Radio Made in Michigan
11:22 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Feds respond to Mackinac pipeline concerns

Credit 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.

Read more
Radio Made in Michigan
11:20 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Following BWL meeting, board president reiterates support for Lark

Lansing Board of Water and Light GM Peter Lark has faced criticism for the handling of the recent power outage, but he has the support of BWL Board Chairman Sandy Zerkle.
Credit 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.

Read more
Radio Made in Michigan
10:50 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Michigan conservatives join conversation on renewable energy


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.

Read more
Radio Made in Michigan
11:29 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Environmental official encouraged by Snyder energy blueprint

Credit 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.

Read more
Radio Made in Michigan
2:30 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

MI electric reformers blast deregulation opponents

The Lansing Board of Water and Light's new cogeneration plant went online earlier this year.
Credit 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.

Read more
Radio Made in Michigan
12:39 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Survey suggests downsides to more Michigan utility dereg

Ken Sikkema says Michigan officials should consider the experiences of other states before pursuing deregulation.
Credit 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.

Read more
Radio Made in Michigan
11:35 am
Mon May 13, 2013

Former oil executive now advocate for alternative energy

Currently, Michigan's goal is to get 10 percent of its energy resources from renewable energy by 2015.
Credit Flickr

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

Read more
Radio Made in Michigan
12:59 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

MSU students launch fossil free campaign

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. 

Radio Made in Michigan
1:46 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Water-energy nexus in the Great Lakes Basin

The Great Lakes Energy-Water Initiative utilizes the connection, or nexus, between energy and water.
Credit 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.

Read more
12:49 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

State seeks public input on Michigan's energy future

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.

Read more
6:13 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Winter Natural Gas Heating Bills Likely To Rise

Credit 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.

Read more
6:32 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

Enviro Group: MSU Study Shows Economic Benefits of More Renewable

imma morgueFile

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

Read more
Economic Evolution in the Great Lake State
12:00 am
Mon April 30, 2012

reWorking Michigan: Lansing's Energy Future May Be Up In The Air

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (at podium) announces the city's involvement in a pilot program to place wind turbines atop City Hall and the Lansing Center. The unit shown at lower right is produced by Windstream Technologies of North Vernon, IN.
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.  

Read more
4:27 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

MSU Touts Newly Adopted Energy Transition Plan

The T.B. Simon Power Plant at Michigan State University has been in operation since 1965.
WKAR File Photo

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

Read more
12:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

MI Regulator Downplays Link Between Fracking, Quakes

Courtesy Suncor Energy

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

Read more
11:47 am
Fri April 13, 2012

MSU Trustees Unanimously Approve Controverisal Energy Transition Plan

Students stand with signs with messages including "Clean Coal=Dirty Lie" and "Coal Free Is Really Spartan Green" at today's MSU Board of Trustees meeting.
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.




Read more
12:00 am
Fri April 13, 2012

MSU Trustees Face Decision on Campus Clean Energy Plan

The T.B. Simon Power Plant at Michigan State University was built in 1965. It burns both coal and natural gas. The university is now considering a long-term clean energy transition plan.
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.

Read more