renewable energy

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."

Michigan residents interested in adding solar power to their energy mix can soon do so right on their utility bills.

That’s the goal of a Consumers Energy residential solar pilot program which launches later this year.

As part of that program, the Jackson-based utility will construct a seven-to-14 acre solar array in West Michigan, on land owned by Grand Valley State University. 

National Guard solar field
U.S. Air Force via Wikimedia | Public Domain image / Wikimedia.org

 Michigan residents interested in solar power as an energy source can soon do so right on their utility bills.

That’s the goal of a Consumers Energy residential solar pilot program which begins marketing efforts in the fall.

Roger Morgenstern is a senior public information director at the company. He says the community solar program looks to leverage the desire for clean energy with the demands of an effective business model.