renewable energy

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The Petoskey City Council unanimously approved a city-wide energy plan on Monday. It sets a goal of 100% renewable energy city-wide by 2035.

The plan is to replace fossil fuels with solar, wind and hydro-power to supply electricity for all Petoskey residents and businesses. 

Petoskey Mayor John Murphy says the city's investments in coal plants will terminate by 2030.

"We're moving away from coal, moving away from fracking and going into total renewable energy," he said. "It's going to be good for generations to come." 

Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

A controversial plan for a wind farm in the Upper Peninsula has been cancelled. Renewable Energy Systems was behind the project which aimed to put 49 wind turbines across 28,000 acres in L’Anse Township.

In a statement, RES said the project was no longer financially or logistically viable.

Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, a renewable energy company wants to build a wind farm in a forested part of the Upper Peninsula, but there’s resistance. Plus, the last coal plant providing electricity in the U.P. shuts down.


From the top of a mountain, a snowy landscape with trees reveals a view of Lake Superior in the distance.
Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

Most wind energy projects in Michigan are on farmland in the southern part of the state. They are often controversial even there, but one company wants to put a wind farm in an Upper Peninsula forest. Many community members don’t feel that’s the right place either.

Today on Stateside, the legislature revisits Michigan’s high auto insurance rates, but will a decrease in rates only come with less guaranteed medical care? Plus, a study looks at how an all-renewable energy grid would have fared in January’s polar vortex.

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

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Researchers at Michigan Technological University will pump water down mine shafts in the Upper Peninsula, spinning hydroelectric turbines along the way.

Roman Sidortsov, professor of Energy Policy at Michigan Tech, says that could generate renewable energy. Sidortsov says the UP relies on importing electricity that comes from fossil fuels, but this research could provide a homegrown alternative for the region.

"You can basically start developing your own energy," Sidortsov says. "[These] kinds of installations do generate quite a bit of economic activity."

Max Johnston

Traverse City will rely entirely on renewable energy by the year 2040, according to Traverse City Light & Power. TCL&P’s board of directors approved the energy plan at their meeting Tuesday night.

Executive Director Tim Arends says all the city’s non-renewable energy contracts will expire by 2040.

“We’re feeling pretty assured that by then, based on comments from Consumers Energy and DTE that the coal plants we’ve invested in will be shuttered,” Arends said. “The thought is to replace those contracts with renewable energy.”

State lawmakers have a plan to encourage Michiganders to produce their own clean, renewable energy. A bipartisan group introduced a package of bills Tuesday.

Some of the bills focus on removing barriers to net metering. Net metering lets people who produce their own renewable energy – like solar – get hooked up to the public-utility power grid. They can use the power they make at any time, plus they can essentially sell the energy they don’t use to the utility.

Tracy Samilton also spoke with Morning Edition host Doug Tribou about the issues surrounding the transition to natural gas

The President of the United States says coal is coming back, but in reality coal is going away.

The fight is over what will replace it.

Even utilities are dumping coal. In Michigan, DTE Energy wants to shut down three coal-burning power plants and replace them with a billion dollar natural gas plant.

But environmentalists think there's a better way.  

Consumers Energy wants to stop buying renewable energy from outside sources.

Under the federal Public Utilities Regulator Policy Act (PURPA), state regulators can encourage more renewable energy by requiring utilities to purchase electricity generated by solar, wind, biomass, or other renewable sources at the same rate it would cost the utility to make it.

That helps Michigan to be less dependent on fossil fuels, and supports development of renewable energy sources.

A new survey finds a majority of Americans (54%) lean toward regulations as the best way to increase our use of renewable energy versus relying on economic markets alone.

Cary Funk is the associate director of research at the Pew Research Center. She says a majority of Americans say that increasing the use of renewable energy sources should be a top priority for the country’s energy policies.

“But there’s a closer divide on whether or not government regulations are necessary or whether the private marketplace can ensure that businesses and consumers increase more reliance on renewables even without regulations,” she says.

The U.S. EPA estimates that companies in Michigan waste up to a third of the energy they buy because of inefficient buildings and equipment.

But most of the companies just keep paying those high energy bills, month after month, because they can't make a business case for a big energy efficiency project. The payback for the upgrades takes too long – often ten or more years.

Andy Levin is the CEO of Lean and Green Michigan.

President-elect Donald Trump has called global warming "a very expensive hoax," despite agreement among the vast majority of climate scientists that climate change is happening now and is mainly human-caused. Trump has also put climate change skeptic Myron Ebell in charge of his EPA transition team.