renewable energy standard

Environment & Science
1:00 pm
Sun June 1, 2014

Workgroup starts crafting Michigan’s new energy policy this week

Michigan's renewable energy standard passed in 2008, which requires utilities to get 10% of their power from renewable sources like solar, expires in 2015.
Credit Ford Motor Company / Flickr

State law forces power companies to get 10% of their power from renewable sources, like wind and solar, by next year. It’s a target they’re expected to meet.

The state issued a report last year that shows companies could get as much at 30% by 2035. But there’s no law that requires that, yet. It’s something a workgroup will consider as it works this summer to update Michigan’s energy policy.

State Senator Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek) will help lead the group.

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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.

Business
1:00 pm
Sun November 17, 2013

Traverse City developer gets closer to building 100% ‘Pure Michigan’ wind farm

Heritage Sustainable Energy's Garden Wind Farm in the Upper Peninsula was completed in September 2012.
Heritage Sustainable Energy heritagewindenergy.com

When Heritage Sustainable Energy built its first wind farm in 2008, almost all the money was funneled to companies in Europe.

Compare that to the Big Turtle wind farm the company is building now. More than half the materials, turbine parts, engineering, and labor will come from Michigan. That means half of the roughly $40 million project will go to Michigan companies.

Rick Wilson is the company’s vice president of operations. He says they want to build a wind farm that’s "pure Michigan."

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The Environment Report
10:07 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Michigan could get 30% of its energy from renewable sources

Michigan could be getting much more of its energy from renewable sources according to a report submitted to Governor Rick Snyder.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Public Service Commission has submitted a report on renewable energy to Governor Snyder. That report indicates renewable energy is getting cheaper and more varied, ranging from wind and solar to biomass and ground source heat pumps.

But the surprising point in the report was this statement:

“...it is theoretically technically feasible for Michigan to meet increased Renewable Portfolio Standards of as much as 30% from resources located in the state.”

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Environment & Science
3:40 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Have your say on Michigan renewable energy report by Wednesday

Wind turbines make up the bulk of Michigan's renewable energy sources.
warrenski Creative Commons

Wednesday is the deadline to comment on a report that's likely to shape renewable energy standards in Michigan. People can submit comments on the state’s website here.

The state-issued report says renewable energy production is getting cheaper and more efficient. In Michigan, the vast majority is from wind turbines.

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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

Listen to today's Environment Report above or read an expanded version of the story below.

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
9:00 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Gov. Snyder gives energy and environment address

You can listen to today's Environment Report above or read the story below.

Governor Rick Snyder gave what his office calls a "special message" on the environment yesterday: Ensuring our Future: Energy and the Environment. He touched on all sorts of topics: renewable energy, brownfields, land and water, timber and mining and many others.

But his main point: you can’t separate economics from energy or the environment.

“There’s not two separate worlds. There’s not a world of just environment, nor a world of energy or economics. It’s a symbiotic relationship and they tie together,” he said.

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Election 2012
3:01 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

Bill Clinton backs Michigan's Proposal 3

Former President Bill Clinton speaking at a clean energy summit in 2009.
Center for American Progress Action Fund flickr

Former President Bill Clinton has endorsed Michigan's Proposal 3, the amendment that would require 25 percent of the state’s electricity to come from wind, solar, biomass or hydropower by 2025.

The proposed amendment has drawn national attention as it would be the first to mandate a renewable portfolio standard in a state constitution.

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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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Politics & Government
2:53 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

President of the Union of Concerned Scientists stumps in Michigan for Prop 3

Kevin Knobloch, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists was in Grand Rapids and will be in Kalamazoo tonight to ask people to vote in favor of Proposition 3. In an essay Knobloch called it "the most important clean energy vote this year".

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Environment & Science
10:33 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Debate heats up over proposal to increase Michigan's renewable energy standard

Michigan already has a renewable energy  standard on the books. 10 % of the energy utility companies provide has to come from renewable sources by 2015. But the Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs Coalition wants to bump that number up to 25% by the year 2025. The group is gathering signatures for a ballot proposal to create an amendment to the state constitution.

Stephen Transeth is with the Clean Affordable Renewable Energy for Michigan Coalition. It's a group that is trying to defeat the so called 25-by-25 ballot proposal. He says he supports the current standard but does not think the new proposal is appropriate to put in the state constitution.

"When you put a proposal like this into the constitution, you are effectively limiting your options in the future, the way we generate and use electricity in the next five, 10, 20 years from now, is going
to look so much different than today."

But the organizers behind 25-by-25 say utilities are already ahead of schedule to meet the current standard and it’s been cheaper than expected.

Mark Pischea is with the Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs Coalition. He says Michigan companies are already sending wind turbine parts to places like Spain and China.

"Michigan has the opportunity to again be the hub to export products made in Michigan to the world, just like what we did 100 years ago with the automobile."

330,000 signatures are needed to put the proposal on the ballot in November.

-Emily Fox, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Environment & Science
3:47 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Michigan business group opposes new mandate for renewable energy

user vaxomatic flickr

Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce officials said today they opposed a ballot initiative aimed at creating a new renewable electric energy standard for the state, according to MLive. The state is currently working toward a standard that calls for generating 10 percent of the state's electricity from renewable sources by 2015.

The ballot initiative seeks to bump up that mandate to 25 percent by 2025. From MLive:

Chamber officials said any changes to Michigan’s renewable energy standard should wait until the current standard has been fully evaluated in three years.

“Michigan is already on an intelligent and affordable clean energy path because of the 2008 energy law, which passed the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support, said Chamber president and CEO Sandy K. Baruah in a statement.

The Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs campaign is still seeking to collect enough signatures to get the proposal on the November ballot.

Last week, during a segment for the Environment Report, James Clift, Policy Director for the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC), said Michigan currently gets around 3.5 percent of its energy from renewable resources.

The MEC supports the ballot initiative. Clift said a new standard would continue the progress made after the 2015 standard is met (adding about 1.5 to 2 percent of renewable energy each year).

"The Michigan Environmental Council commissioned a report last year looking at the nine oldest coal plants in Michigan, said Clift. "That report found that Michigan residents have health care costs and damages of about $1.5 billion a year – just from those nine oldest coal plants. So, transitioning away from coal to clean more renewable energy, we hope will put a significant dent in those health costs that we are currently occurring. "

Utility companies oppose increasing the renewable electric energy standard saying such a standard should not be set by amending the state constitution, which the ballot proposal calls for.

Michigan Radio's Zoe Clark spoke with Brad Williams of the Detroit Chamber of Commerce about the issue:

"We’re looking at this as a protection of the constitution," said Williams. "There are legislators who can serve their full fourteen years in Lansing without having a good grasp of energy policy. And, so, to ask voters to make this decision and embed it into the constitution really isn’t fair to voters."