Energy

Four electric vehicle fast-charging stations are now operating along major highway corridors in the Lower Peninsula as part of the state’s and major utilities’ efforts to build supportive infrastructure allowing for EV growth.

A Southwest Michigan poultry farm recently completed a $650,000 solar energy project to offset the facility’s power usage throughout the year.

GRAND RAPIDS — Since the late 1800s, downtown Grand Rapids has been equipped with a network of pipes that heat buildings with steam generated from a series of boilers across from Van Andel Arena.

DTE Energy’s natural gas subsidiary has pledged to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through a series of actions involving suppliers, customers and its own infrastructure, aligning with long-term goals for the utility’s electricity operations.

Michigan lost another 1,000 clean energy jobs last month, bringing the state’s total losses to 31,000 in the sector since the coronavirus pandemic spread in mid-March, according to an analysis of federal labor statistics.

Michigan’s two largest utilities have operated coal plants uneconomically in recent years, costing customers tens of millions of dollars when cheaper and cleaner resources are available, according to a recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Utilities regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission will extend shutoff protections and flexible payment options for vulnerable customers through June 12, state officials announced today.

Shareholders of Michigan’s two major investor-owned utilities have recently rejected calls for more transparency on the companies’ contributions to tax-exempt nonprofit advocacy groups.

HOLLAND — Jolt Energy Storage Technologies LLC has received $250,000 to further advance its utility-scale energy storage solutions.

Michigan lost nearly one-quarter of its clean energy workforce because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the 30,151 job losses since the outbreak began ranks the state third nationally, according to a new report.

COPEMISH — On the afternoon of May 4, three days before an executive order by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer allowed construction to resume statewide, Allan O’Shea was “ready to go to the party.”

Michigan needs a swift build-out of renewable energy and, in the longer term, more transmission projects to account for the energy shortfall that will grow as more coal and nuclear plants are retired.

A trade group for advanced energy companies has released a series of policy recommendations for state officials to resolve short-term job losses and allow the industry to be a “pillar of the economic recovery to come.”

Michigan solar energy installers have been gearing up over the past week to return to work today following an executive order by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that opens construction, real estate and some manufacturing sectors.

The coronavirus has wiped out recent statewide clean energy job gains as Michigan companies take a patchwork approach to continuing work during the pandemic.

Steve Bertman Professor of Environment and Sustainability, Western Michigan University spoke with MiBiz recently about the climate crisis and threats to the brewing supply chain, and why it’s appropriate to discuss climate alongside COVID-19.

A wave of independently owned solar projects planned in Michigan is driven largely by contracts with Consumers Energy, which has long-term plans to significantly boost its solar portfolio.

Nearly 5,500 Michigan workers in clean energy filed jobless claims last month while thousands more are expected as the coronavirus-related economic downturn continues to spread.

Nearly two years after announcing its initial plan, the Trump administration issued a final rule on March 31 that rolls back Obama-era automobile fuel economy standards and requires modest fuel efficiency increases in forthcoming internal combustion models.

Four Michigan small cities rank among the top 10 of their peers nationally for energy efficiency based on the number of buildings saving electricity, costs and greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced this week.

GRAND RAPIDS — Kent County officials announced last week that its recycling processing facility would close to protect workers from potential exposure to and spreading of the coronavirus. 

Wind and solar energy companies wait in limbo and electric vehicle advocates expect a hit much like the rest of the automotive sector as the coronavirus causes uncertainty across the clean energy industry.

Michigan’s two major investor-owned utilities are taking divergent paths when it comes to building new energy projects as the state escalates actions to contain the coronavirus.

Jackson-based Consumers Energy says it will suspend shutoffs for non-pay for seniors and low-income customers starting today until April 5, citing “unprecedented circumstances” surrounding the spread of coronavirus.

Developers are finalizing the decommissioning of the former B.C. Cobb coal plant in Muskegon as the 115-acre site assumes new ownership and a sole focus as a port terminal facility.

Michigan’s two major investor-owned utilities remain opposed to a series of bills that supporters say are needed to grow the state’s nascent solar industry.

State officials announced more than $8.7 million in grants this week for Michigan school districts to purchase buses powered by clean diesel and propane, but environmental groups say the money would have been better spent on electric models.

The Michigan Public Service Commission has approved plans to expand energy efficiency programs for low-income customers of the state’s two major utilities.

Over the past two weeks, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and major automakers have continued the state’s mobility shift to emphasize electric and autonomous vehicles.

Consumers Energy has upped the ante on its own long-term clean energy plan, announcing in late February it expects to hit net-zero carbon emissions for its electricity portfolio by 2040 as part of its climate change efforts.

MUSKEGON — A West Michigan solar energy developer that has focused on equity and job training in low-income communities will partner with the city of Muskegon Heights to install solar panels on five city-owned properties.

GRAND HAVEN — The J.B. Sims power plant in Grand Haven burned its last supply of coal this month, but local officials are still debating plans for the city’s long-term energy portfolio.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wants to infuse $5 million into a state green bank and spend another $5 million on a revolving fund for clean energy projects at state facilities.

After plans for a wind energy project north of Grand Rapids fell apart late last year, a separate developer is looking to use hundreds of acres of rural land in Montcalm County for solar.

Ric Evans has yet to find the electric stove he wants to install in his rural Northern Michigan home, but everything else inside is powered by electricity, including the water heater and an air source heat pump.

Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell is leading an effort that would leverage $35 billion in federal funds over six years to stimulate up to $1 trillion in private spending to address climate change.

The beginnings of a large-scale solar power build-out, bolstering electric vehicle infrastructure and preparing a power grid of the future are among Michigan’s top energy-related trends expected in 2020.

Michigan ranks among the top Midwestern states for clean energy jobs, but environmental advocates say further policy changes are needed to push the state from “good” to “great.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed bills into law Thursday night ensuring small-scale residential and commercial solar projects won’t increase owners’ property taxes.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer supports a package of bills recently approved by the state Legislature that clarifies tax exemptions for small-scale solar energy projects.

Clean energy advocates praised a Thursday announcement by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer highlighting the need to modernize the state’s power grid as it shifts from coal-fired power. 

The polar vortex early this year strained Michigan’s energy supply as the state experiences an “unprecedented shift” in the way it produces power and relies more heavily on natural gas and renewables, according to state regulators.

A settlement agreement approved in September between Consumers Energy and multiple solar energy developers triggers a large-scale buildout across the Lower Peninsula, but also marks a shift in the way the utility will contract for solar power in the future.

HOLLAND — A financing program in Holland that helps residents pay for energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades remains one of the only such programs in Michigan, and could be a model for more to come. 

Consumers Energy announced plans Thursday to purchase a majority of the output from a large-scale solar project in Calhoun County, among the first deals under the utility’s shift to renewable energy.

GRAND RAPIDS — City officials are reviving plans for a solar project at a former Grand Rapids landfill as the city sorts through broader questions about potential generation at seven other city-owned properties.

HOLLAND — A lakeshore company has received $200,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy to advance the development of utility-scale energy storage.

Michigan has had its share of blackouts and brownouts over the years. Could “greenouts” be on the horizon?