Governor Rick Snyder says it’s time for state lawmakers to set new energy goals for Michigan. He says those goals should include burning less coal and increasing renewable energy production over the next decade. Read more→
Michigan environmental groups say they expect Governor Rick Snyder to call for more clean energy in a speech next month.
Those expectations are based on a series of new reports on energy production in Michigan – the last of which hit Snyder’s desk this week. The study shows utilities are on track to meet or exceed the state’s current clean energy standards. It also says Michigan could produce up to 30% of its energy using renewable sources by 2035.
“We’re seeing economic development in the state and we’re seeing health benefits, protection of natural resources – so, kind of wins across the board,” said Michigan Environmental Council Policy Director James Clift.
“I expect (Governor Snyder) to say, ‘Hey, let’s keep going.’”
Clift says the study also gives him hope that lawmakers will pass new standards sometime next year.
“Hopefully these reports will help build that consensus of a positive package for Michigan so that it’s something the Legislature can take up, even during an election year.”
Governor Snyder’s address on his energy policy priorities is expected around mid-December.
A new wind farm is on it’s way to Huron county, in the thumb region of the state.
Last week the Michigan Public Service Commission has approved a power purchase agreement between DTE Electric Company and the Big Turtle Wind Farm.
The agreement is for 20 megawatts of energy which is enough to power about 9,000 homes.
Judy Palnau is the spokeswoman for the Michigan Public Service Commission.
“This will be a wind farm that uses more than 50 percent Michigan sourced content so the materials, the components, the logistics, and the labor will all be Michigan sourced. So even the parts of the wind turbine for example will be more than 50 percent Michigan made. Which is good news for Michigan’s economy,” Palnau said.
Palnau said, the new wind farm will cover 2,800 acres and house 10 wind turbines.
She said construction will begin later this year in order to take advantage of a federal tax credit.
Several organizations in the Saginaw Bay region are looking at ways to help businesses afford solar energy, including creating bulk purchasing programs.
Natalie Schiefer with Saginaw Future explains how it would work.
“The whole purpose of it is to decrease the cost of the system for the customer. So in order to do that they’re using kind of a bulk purchasing program where if they get a group of businesses or organizations to purchase at the same time then they can get a reduced rate,” Schiefer said.
Several organizations recently completed a study looking at ways of promoting solar energy, including examining barriers to solar energy adoption.
The findings from the study are expected to be made public in September.
Several Michigan electric utilities are offering free, online home energy audits.
The online tool allows users to map their home’s energy use. It uses a series of questions, ranging from the home’s square footage to typical thermostat settings, to create a picture of how energy is being used.
Steve Lightbourn is with the Michigan Energy Optimization Program.
“It automatically estimates a home’s energy use, and then it projects heating and cooling and hot water and lighting costs. It also will calculate the home’s energy savings potential, so you know what things you can do to get the greatest payback,” Lightbourn said.
Customers who complete the home energy audit receive an energy-saving kit that includes compact fluorescent lightbulbs, faucet water savers and a new shower head.