Solar Energy in the Midwest

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Ohio Renewable Energy Law Cuts Costs, Emissions

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Five years after Ohio’s renewable energy standard took effect – and a few months before it will be challenged again in the state legislature – an economist with the state’s utility regulator tried to assess how the law was working out.

Tim Benedict’s verdict: “We’re seeing more of the good than of the bad.”

More specifically, his study concludes that the addition of renewable sources of power is modestly pushing down the wholesale cost of power in the state, while also reducing the amount of carbon dioxide produced.

According to Benedict’s calculations, the renewable generators now producing power have reduced the cost of wholesale power by about 0.15 percent. When his study looked at the projected power from all renewable projects that the state has approved, including those not yet operational, the figure is closer to 0.5 percent. Read more here.

Comment: We love what we are reading but just checked our Michigan bill and the renewable surcharge is still there. – Val

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Do you want to pay $1,000/month to have water shipped to your home? Only 2% of the earth has fresh water, if we pollute this where will we buy the water from?

THE WMEAC BLOG

Photo -   In this Nov. 26, 2012 photo, Steve Lipsky demonstrates how his well water ignites when he puts a flame to the flowing well spigot outside his family's home in rural Parker County near Weatherford, Texas. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had evidence a gas company's drilling operation contaminated Lipsky's drinking water with explosive methane, and possibly cancer-causing chemicals, but withdrew its enforcement action, leaving the family with no useable water supply, according to a report obtained by The Associated Press. The EPA's decision to roll back its initial claim that hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” operations had contaminated the water is the latest case in which the federal agency initially linked drilling to water contamination and then softened its position, drawing criticism from Republicans and industry officials who insisted they proved the agency was inefficient and too quick to draw conclusions. (AP Photo/LM Otero)  In 2010 the Lipskys and one other family in an upscale neighborhood near Fort Worth, Tex., complained to officials when their water from the faucet started bubbling.  The family’s water contained so much methane in it that water from the garden hose outside could be lit on fire.

Concerned for methane and cancer-causing benzene contamination the EPA immediately cautioned the two households to stop using the water and ordered the nearby natural gas drilling company, Range Resources, to clean up the wells and provide clean water to the families.

Range Resources started drilling in the area only a mile away from the Lipskys home in 2009. The company then commissioned an independent scientist named Geoffrey Thyne to analyze the water and determine if the contamination could have been caused by the drilling for natural gas called hydraulic fracturing, or more commonly referred to as “fracking.”  Thyne analyzed water from…

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New State Study Demonstrates Net Metering Benefit for Ratepayers | asavage

New State Study Demonstrates Net Metering Benefit for Ratepayers 

By Andrew Savage
January 21, 2013

The body of evidence that demonstrates the benefits of solar net metering to retail electric customers continues to grow.

 

From California and Texas to New York and now Vermont, there is a growing stack of reports that make the financial case for greater deployment of distributed solar generation and net metering.

 

On the same day that a Vote Solar Initiative report was released, which found that in California solar net metering provides over $92 million in annual benefits to ratepayers, a newly published Vermont report echoed the same growing body of evidence that documents the benefits of solar net metering.

 

recent report on New York found that solar PV delivers between a 15-cent and 40-cent benefit to ratepayers and taxpayers.  Another report from Texas by the analysts at the The Brattle Group found that the total customer benefits of adding solar capacity in the Lone Star State was valued at more than $520 million.

The Vermont legislature charged the report author, the Vermont Department of Public Service, with determining if there is a cross-subsidization with… For full article go here

Clean Energy Coalition :: bridging needs. advancing change. :: Green Fleets

Clean Energy Coalition :: bridging needs. advancing change. :: Green Fleets.

Based on data drawn from an Argonne National Laboratory model, Green Fleets projects will displace at least 1.5 million gallons of petroleum per year, and more than 13 million gallons during the anticipated average 10-year equipment life cycle. The clean fuel vehicles that Green Fleets deploys won’t only displace imported petroleum; they’ll also reduce emissions of harmful compounds and greenhouse gases, such as:

  • 261,560 pounds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions annually – over 2.6 million pounds over the life cycle
  • 10,933,642 pounds of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions annually – over 109 million pounds over the life cycle
  • 156,859 pounds of particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions annually – over 1.5 million pounds over the life cycle
  • 102,611,815 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions annually – over 1.02 billion pounds over the life cycle
  • 2,360,232 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually – over 23.6 million pounds over the life cycle
  • Read full article here

PWIR: President Clinton Endorse Prop 3 | MLCV-Michigan League of Conservation Voters

PWIR: President Clinton Endorse Prop 3 | MLCV-Michigan League of Conservation Voters.Submitted by Michigan LCV on Mon, 10/29/2012 – 4:06pm

… Former President Clinton championed the cause because he knows that the jobs created by Prop 3 will help spur the kind of economic activity that defined his Presidency. On the opposite side of the debate, campaign finance reports show that Enbridge – yes, that Enbridge (the one whose faulty oil pipeline dumped more than 1 million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River) – has joined the opposition to Prop 3. After all, why have more renewable energy in Michigan when we can have record-breaking oil spills into our rivers, instead? To read more go here

A Watershed Moment: Multiple Benefits of Proposal 3 « THE WMEAC BLOG

A Watershed Moment: Multiple Benefits of Proposal 3 « THE WMEAC BLOG.

Today we hear from Nicholas Occhipinti, Policy and Community Activism Director at the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, who discusses Proposal 3, the Renewable Energy Standard that will require 25% of Michigan’s energy to come from renewable sources by the year 2025.

 

Not only will the ballot initiative help the environment through the increased use of renewable energy, but it will have other benefits as well. Currently a majority, approximately 60%, of our electricity is derived from coal. 100% of Michigan’s coal is imported from other states, relying on the use of oil for transportation, with negative economic and environmental effects. Utility companies have recognized oil as the leading cause for increased electricity prices for consumers, and with the fluctuation of oil prices, there is no guarantee for the cost of energy. The Proposal 3 initiative states that utility companies cannot increase energy rates by more than 1% per year, and has an outlook for an approximate 50 cent increase in cost, once the proposal is passed. In addition to a savings in energy bills, the proposal has a Triple Botton Line Benefit which will create 94,000 jobs.

 

The switch from using a majority of coal, to utilizing more renewable energy sources, will give Michigan more health benefits in addition to economic positives. Coal has been linked to illnesses such as heart disease and asthma, leading to an increase in health care costs. The Michigan Nurses Association has named Proposal 3, “the most important health proposal in decades.”

 

Moving toward renewable energy sources will also be reliable, as there are a variety of sources: solar power, wind power, hydropower, and biomass. There is also a grid that identifies where energy is being produced greatest across the state. This allows us to utilize the most productive areas for the most energy. With only a small increase of 25%, there is no doubt that renewable sources are and will continue to be reliable to meet the demand. “It’s the best chance for environmental progress in the last few years and probably the next few years going forward,” said Occhipinti.

 

WMEAC is reaching out to Michigan citizens during the election to vote Yes on Proposal 3: Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs. We need volunteers at specific locations on Election Day as WMEAC representatives and supporters of Proposal 3. Other volunteers will take part in a mass telecommunications effort to encourage Proposal 3 supporters to get to the polls and vote Yes! Several shifts are available the day before the election and Election Day itself.

Does solar work in Michigan? Customer video testimonial

 

Don’t believe us – watch our customers share their experiences with solar here in Michigan. We now have an indisputable source of real-time and historic metrics that the skeptics can’t deny anymore. Listen to our solar homeowners talk about zero utility bills and getting checks back from solar power generation.

What’s the deal with EPA carbon rules for existing power plants? | Grist

David Roberts

 

What’s the deal with EPA carbon rules for existing power plants?

Photo by Karen Eliot.

In my post on the new EPA carbon pollution rule, I drew attention to an important distinction: The rule issued today governs new power plants only; carbon pollution from existing power plants has not yet been regulated.

This matters a great deal. Today’s rule effectively means there will be no more coal plants built in the U.S., but that was more or less a fait accompli due to market forces. What to do about existing plants is in many ways a more fraught and important question. It could have much larger effects on near-term pollution from the power sector.

On a conference call with reporters this morning, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said, “We have no plans to regulate existing sources.” That caused me a few moments of panic (and, um, a few outbursts on Twitter). If there are really not going to be any existing-source regulations, that would make this whole process a massive, massive fail. For full story go here.

Yes, coal is dying, but no, EPA is not the main culprit | Grist

Yes, coal is dying, but no, EPA is not the main culprit | Grist.

Yes, coal is dying, but no, EPA is not the main culprit

Imagine my alarm when I read this headline in The Christian Science Monitor: “Study: EPA regulations squelch US coal industry.” This is a very popular attack from conservatives, including Mitt Romney, but I’ve never seen a reputable study that supports it. Could I have been wrong all along?

The story, from “guest blogger” Charles Kennedy, refers to a report [PDF] from the research consultancy Brattle Group. So I went and read the report. And it doesn’t say what Kennedy says it says. At all. In fact, it says something close to the opposite.

I know lots of websites (including Grist!) allow “guest bloggers” to repost stuff. But I think of The Christian Science Monitor as something of an institution. It’s disappointing to find misleading dreck on its site. Do I have to squint at the small print before I can trust an article on CSM now? Is there no editing? You kids get off my lawn! For full story click here.

Michigan Breweries Going Solar « CBS Detroit

Michigan Breweries Going Solar « CBS Detroit.

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

mattroushReporting Matt Roush

YPSILANTI — Barley, hops and yeast are powered by the sun.

Increasingly, so are the breweries that turn those ingredients into beer.

Southeast Michigan brewery owners Matt and Rene Greff are breaking new ground for Michigan breweries as solar installations at their two breweries come on line this summer.

Arbor Brewing Co. became Michigan’s first solar brewery when it flipped the switch on a new system comprised of a 2.4-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array, 300 solar thermal collector tubes and a high-efficiency tankless water heater system to supplement the heat from the collector tubes when necessary.

These big ticket investments were combined with smaller improvements like switching to CFL and LED lighting and installing low-flow sprayers and occupancy sensors.

The project grew out of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority’s Energy Conservation Grant Program, which provided free energy audits and 50 percent project rebates up to $20,000 to downtown businesses that implemented audit recommendations to become more energy efficient.

ABC owner Matt Greff worked with Ann Arbor DDA Energy Programs Director David Konkle as well as a consulting team from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment, led by Jarett Diamond.

Together they were able to identify a number of financial resources and incentives to help offset the installation cost of the system including the $20,000 grant from the DDA, a $10,000 interest-free loan from the city, a 30 percent tax credit from the federal government, and various incentives from DTE Energy.

The couple’s Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti is also nearing completion on its own $250,000 Green Brewery Project which includes solar-thermal, photovoltaic, and geo-thermal technologies along with other improvements like new windows and awnings and energy-efficient chiller equipment.

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