renewable energy

Report: Clean energy jobs on the rise in Michigan

Sep 22, 2017

According to a recently published study, jobs in the clean energy industry are on the rise in West Michigan. The 2017 clean jobs report released earlier this month found that Michigan is home to 92,000 clean energy jobs, and 6500 of those are based in in Kent County. Clean Energy Industry officials gathered Thursday morning in Grand Rapids to highlight the report at non-profit A Renewable America

A biodigester that turns food scraps into green energy has reopened after shutting down two years ago over financial problems. The new owner, Generate Capital Inc., wants the revamped Fremont Regional Digester to start running at capacity later this fall. The digester is expected to turn 165,000 tons of organic waste a year into enough green energy to power at least 2,500 homes. 

The original $22 million plant that opened in 2012 produced energy to power about 1,500 homes annually. Generate Capital is working with Dynamic Systems Management to run the plant.

Courtesy of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

In an effort to promote renewable energy alternatives to business owners, the Grand Rapids City Commission passed a resolution at the City Commissioners meeting Tuesday evening, establishing the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program in the city. The city says they felt “the time was right” to approve the establishment of PACE programs after a number of business owners expressed interest. 

Founders Brewing Company and the City of Grand Rapids unveiled a new partnership on Monday that will convert the 80 to 100 thousand gallons of wastewater Founders pours down the drain each day into renewable energy. Grand Rapids Mayor Roslynn Bliss said the effort will bring the city closer to her goal of running on 100% renewable energy by 2025.

Electric power lines.
Pixabay | CC BY 2.0 / Pixabay.com

Michigan utilities have met a target of generating one-tenth of the state’s electricity using wind, solar, and other renewable resources.

There’s a new goal, but that could be challenged this year in the Legislature.

An energy package adopted last year sets a new 15 percent goal. And a report by the Michigan Public Service Commission says utilities are well positioned to meet the target.

But the renewable mandate has its critics. They include Republican state Representative Gary Glenn. He chairs the House Energy Committee.

The Legislature took care of a financial bailout of the Detroit Public Schools this week and took off for its summer recess.

There are still issues waiting to be resolved when the Legislature returns in September.

One of them is an overhaul of Michigan energy policy to help decide how to provide heat and electricity as utilities shut down coal plants.

There are big disagreements about how to promote the use of renewable energy, and about controls on alternative suppliers that compete with existing utilities.

GVSU solar garden
Courtesy photo, Consumers Energy / consumersenergy.com

With Consumers Energy’s first large-scale community solar garden up and running in western Michigan and a second on the way, the utility’s move to clean energy could also be seen as a test of what the market will bear. 

"It’s really an interesting time because we just closed seven coal plants that we operate last week, and now this project is in business."

That’s Brian Wheeler, a Consumers Energy spokesperson.

Michigan capitol building
Michigan Senate / www.senate.michigan.gov

Michigan is suspending a plan to comply with federal requirements for reducing carbon emissions from power plants after the U.S. Supreme Court put the rules on hold until legal challenges are resolved.

Gov. Rick Snyder's administration announced the decision Tuesday, a week after the high court's stay.

The Michigan Agency for Energy says pausing compliance with the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan will have no bearing on announced coal plant retirements, which includes 25 units between 2013 and 2020.

Mariano Avila / WGVU

Last night, for the first time in the history of Grand Rapids, a woman gave the state of the city address at the Harris Building on South Division. Mayor Rosalynn Bliss took the podium before 350 prominent members of Grand Rapids who welcomed her with a standing ovation.

“I have this framed photograph of a building that has a sign across the roof of it that reads ‘The people are the city.'”

Prioritizing sustainability, she said her goal is getting 100% of the city’s energy from renewables by 2025.

Governor Rick Snyder has thrown his support behind an energy plan that could be voted on soon by the state House.

The plan would make it harder for customers to move between the utilities and alternative suppliers of electricity.

The governor says that would help utilities plan new construction as 19 coal-fired plants are about to shut down.

Dave Murray is the governor’s press secretary.

“We want Michiganders to know that when they flick on the switch, they can power their businesses, power their homes, and keep our economy going."

Pages