renewable energy

Energy
10:43 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Report shows positive trends for wind power in Michigan

Ubly Wind Farm in Huron County
Credit (courtesy Consumers Energy)

Michigan connected more wind farms to the power grid than almost every other state last year, according to a report released Thursday by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Michigan added 175 megawatts of wind power in 2013 – more than 46 other states.

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Politics & Government
4:29 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Science group says Michigan can affordably triple reliance on renewable energy by 2030

Credit Morguefile

Michigan can meet almost one-third of its electricity needs from in-state renewable energy sources by 2030 – at virtually no increase in cost to consumers.

That's according to a Union of Concerned Scientists report released on Wednesday. 

Sam Gomberg is an energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists and author of the report.

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Politics & Culture
5:18 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, January 9, 2014

Last month, Governor Rick Snyder called for less coal power and more renewable energy in Michigan. Utilities are in a good position, but questions remain over whether lawmakers will be able to act before the state's current energy standards expire. We found out more on today's show.

Then, of all the physics professors in the United States, only 14% are women. Why do some female scientists give up? And what can be done to help female students and minorities succeed?

And, we heard from the BBC on how China had become the world leader for wind power.

Also, a group of “free skiers” have found a new ski location in the abandon buildings of Detroit.

First on the show, it's Thursday, time for the first check-in of this New Year with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

Understandably, he has the auto industry on his mind as we prepare for next week's opening of the North American International Auto Show. He got an early look at the show, and he joined us today to discuss it.

Stateside
5:28 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

A closer look at the future of ethanol and our renewable energy future

A cornfield in northern Ohio.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

It’s been seven years since America hit the accelerator on corn-based ethanol fuels. Homegrown corn became the centerpiece of a push to find an alternative to foreign oil.

President Bush signed this expansion of the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2007, promising it would make us “stronger, cleaner and more secure.”

But, as is so often the case, something that offers great promise on one hand, takes its toll on the other hand. So the view of corn-based ethanol very much depends upon which side of the fence you’re standing on.

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Environment & Science
9:00 am
Tue January 7, 2014

You could choose your own power company under new legislation

The Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn, right, and its competitor, Zehnder's of Frankenmuth, compete for the same customers. One of the businesses is allowed to buy power from the market while the other must buy from a Michigan power company. There's a 10% cap on buying power from out-of-state providers.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan could deregulate the electricity market, allowing people to choose where they buy electricity.

In downtown Frankenmuth there are two very popular restaurants: the Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn and right across the street, Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth. Both are famous for their chicken dinners. And the owners are cousins -- both of them are Zehnders.

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Politics & Government
7:37 am
Fri December 20, 2013

In this morning's headlines: No clear energy plan, Duggan to have power, McBride trial

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Snyder wants less coal, but no clear energy plan

"Governor Rick Snyder says Michigan needs more renewable energy and less coal over the next decade. The governor yesterday outlined broad goals for energy policy between now and 2025. But the governor admits it’ll be difficult for lawmakers to pass comprehensive energy legislation during an election year," Jake Neher reports.

Duggan to have broad powers as Detroit Mayor

"Detroit mayor-elect Mike Duggan will have broad powers to run the city’s day-to-day business when  he takes office in January. Duggan and emergency manager Kevyn Orr have reached a power-sharing agreement that gives Duggan control over most city functions," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Murder trial for man who shot Renisha McBride

"A Dearborn Heights homeowner will go on trial for shooting and killing an unarmed teen on his front porch. A judge ruled Theodore Wafer can face a second-degree murder charge," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Politics & Government
9:02 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Lessenberry talks child well-being, renewable energy in Michigan and looks ahead to 2014 politics

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the state of child well-being in Michigan, and look ahead to Governor Rick Snyder's energy plan he'll announce Thursday. They also take a look at legislation likely to be taken up in early 2014.

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Politics & Culture
4:56 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Renewable resources, such as wind and solar, are likely to supply 10% of Michigan electricity by 2015, as state law mandates. On today’s program, we looked at a recent report that says we could be doing more, boosting the number to 30% by 2035.

Then, the losing streak of Medora, Indiana's high school basketball team compelled two Michigan filmmakers to move there, and to tell the story of this small industrial town and the people who live there.

And, federal Judge Stephen Rhodes gave Detroit the go-ahead to slash its public pension and healthcare benefits. What will this mean for Detroit retirees?

First on the show, it was one year ago this day that the State Legislature and Governor Rick Snyder passed a set of bills into law that made some very contentious history in our State.

On December 11th, 2012, Michigan became the nation's 24th right-to-work state.

The laws took effect in March, making it illegal to force workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

One year later, has right-to-work changed Michigan?

We were joined for this discussion by Michigan State University economist Charley Ballard, and, from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Wendy Block.

Stateside
4:38 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Can Michigan reach 30% renewable energy sources by 2035?

warrenski Creative Commons

Our state is working to get its energy needs met by wind and other renewable sources.

Right now, state law mandates that electric providers must obtain 10% of their electricity sales from renewable resources by 2015.

We're on track to do that.

But a recent report turned in to Governor Snyder says we could boost that to 30% by 2035. And when compared to neighboring states, Michigan's Renewable Portfolio Standard, the RPS, is not as robust as it could be.

John Quackenbush is the Chairman of the State Public Service Commission who led the renewable energy study at the Governor's request, and James Clift is the director of the Michigan Environmental Council. They joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

The Environment Report
11:55 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Renewable energy use continues to rise

The 2012 energy flow chart released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory details the sources of energy production, how Americans are using energy and how much waste exists.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

In the United States, we’re using more renewable energy than we were a few years ago.

A.J. Simon is the group leader for energy with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The lab just released a chart outlining the nation’s energy use for the year 2012.

“We are significantly expanding our use of wind energy, the technology for wind turbines has come a long way in the past decade or so, and both federal and state policy in terms of renewable portfolio standards as well as financial incentives have encouraged a lot of utilities to install a lot of wind power so we’re seeing huge growth in the generation of electricity from wind," he says.

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Environment & Science
2:07 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Check out the small green circle on Michigan in this energy map

Michigan's ranking in wind power isn't the best in the country, but it isn't the worst either.
warrenski Creative Commons

Check this chart out. Interact with it.

The green circles hovering over each of the fifty states represents each state's green energy consumption, based on recent data from the Energy Information Administration. 

The map was created by Mother Jones, and is a visual aid to understand how much each state used solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy. 

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The Environment Report
9:00 am
Tue March 12, 2013

How to turn beer, manure, rotten milk, and chocolate-covered cherries into electricity

Two of the three large, green digester tanks are visable from a nearby road.
Courtesy photo Novi Energy

When you find an anaerobic digester in Michigan, they’re usually set up on large scale dairy farms.

Michigan State University has a good YouTube video showing how the process works at the digester on their campus.

Bacteria turn all that cow manure into methane, which is burned in engines to create renewable electricity. But now there’s a new kind of digester in Fremont, Michigan that’s consuming much more than cow poop.

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The Environment Report
11:21 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Grand Rapids officials making progress on 2020 renewables goal

The solar panels on top of Grand Rapids' Water Services Administration building.
Photo by Haris Alibasic City of Grand Rapids

The mayor of Grand Rapids wants all of the electricity for the city's operations to come from renewable sources by the year 2020.

I recently met up with Grand Rapids Fire Captain Tony Hendges to check in on the city's progress.

He led the way down a dark stairwell to the basement of the Leonard Street Fire Station. There’s some exercise equipment on one side of the room. On the other side are a bunch of large white metal boxes and lots of new pipes coming out of them: a geothermal system.

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The Environment Report
12:02 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

State officials want your input on Michigan's energy future

The Holland coal plant
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

In Michigan, we get more than half of our electricity from coal.  All of that coal is imported from other states.

In a couple weeks, you’ll get a chance to weigh in on how we’ll use energy in the future.

When Governor Rick Snyder gave his Special Message on Energy and the Environment last fall, he said he wanted to hold forums around the state to talk about energy.

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The Environment Report
10:14 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Congress extends production tax credit for wind

There's a lot of debate about how close wind turbines should be built to homes.
Callum Black Flickr

With all the buzz around the fiscal cliff in Congress, something happened that you might’ve missed.

There’s a federal tax credit. It’s called the wind energy Production Tax Credit, and it was about to expire at the end of last year.

At the final hour, Congress extended that tax credit, and President Obama signed the bill.

It now covers wind projects that start construction in 2013.

Peter Kelley, a spokesman for the American Wind Energy Association, says the credit gives tax relief for the first ten years of a wind farm.

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Politics & Government
7:16 am
Thu November 29, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Snyder pushes renewable energy and drilling for natural gas

Governor Rick Snyder gave a special address on energy and the environment Wednesday. Highlights of his address include a push for more renewable energy and more drilling for natural gas. As the Lansing State Journal reports,

"The Republican governor gave natural gas a central role in an energy policy that seeks greater efficiency and improvements to infrastructure such as pipelines and the electric transmission grid. It proposes establishing a “strategic natural gas reserve” designed to make the resource more affordable and defends the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to extract gas from deep underground."

GOP pushing for right-to-work in lame duck

Republicans are still working to make Michigan a right-to-work state. This comes after voters rejected a ballot proposal to enshrine collective bargaining in the state constitution. As the Detroit News reports,

"Today could be the last chance to introduce a bill making union membership optional as a condition of employment in the private and public sectors to get it passed by Dec. 13. That's the day legislative leaders hope to head home for the holidays."

Sorry Michigan, no one won the Powerball jackpot in the state

"The Michigan Lottery says two Powerball tickets worth $1 million each were sold in the state. Officials say the tickets were sold at a liquor store in Kentwood and a CVS pharmacy in Dearborn. The Michigan tickets matched five numbers drawn last night, but not the Powerball number. Powerball officials said early Thursday that tickets sold in Arizona and Missouri matched all six numbers to win the $579.9 million jackpot," the AP repots.

Environment & Science
4:48 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Stateside: The renewable energy question

DTE expects to build around 50 wind turines in Sanilac and Huron counties. The company is reviewing bids from turbine makers now.
Tim Wang Flickr

Continuing our examination of the six proposals on Michigan's ballot, we turn to Proposal 3: The renewable energy question.

 Michigan Radio's Rebecca Williams, host of "The Environment Report," spoke with Cyndy about how the proposal would affect the state if passed.

Listen to the segment above.

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Politics & Government
9:14 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Commentary: The renewable energy amendment

I suspect some people are having a harder time deciding how to vote on the renewable energy amendment -- Proposal 3 -- than on any of the other five proposals on this year’s ballot.

The others are pretty straightforward. Either you think the emergency manager law is necessary, or you don’t.  Either you think collective bargaining should be a constitutional right, or you don’t.

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Environment & Science
1:09 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Proposal 3: 25 x '25 would amend Michigan's Constitution to increase use of renewables

cwwycoff1 flickr

This is a story I produced for NPR's Morning Edition.  Editors were interested in Proposal 3 in Michigan because, if it passes, it would be the first time a state constitution would be amended for a Renewable Portfolio Standard. We'll be looking at this proposal in more detail in future reports.

There are business effects to some of the more than 170 statewide ballot measures to be decided in next month's elections. In California, voters will determine if labels should be required on genetically-modified food. People in Arkansas will vote whether to increase taxes for highways and bridges. And one measure in Michigan is capturing attention - whether the state constitution should be amended to change how utilities get their electricity.

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Election 2012
11:56 am
Wed October 10, 2012

5 things to know about Proposal 3: 25 by '25

Wind power could feature prominently in Michigan energy production if voters amend the state constitution to include a new renewable energy standard.
cwwycoff1 flickr

Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) promote the use of renewable energy by requiring that a minimum percentage or amount of energy sold in a state come from sources like wind, solar, biomass, or hydropower. 

There are currently 29 states with some sort of RPS in place. Michigan is one of them. 

Michigan’s current standard, passed by the legislature in 2008, calls for 10 percent of retail electricity sales to be derived from renewable sources by 2015.

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