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Renewable energy supporters gather, but anti-wind turbine folks ‘want you to go away now’

Michigan: The state now has enough turbines to power more than 325,000 homes, said U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing.

Momentum is building for Michigan to update its renewable energy policies as the state continues to add wind power capacity.

Michigan added more wind power capacity last year than most other states, and is currently building more wind power than every state but Texas, according to American Wind Energy Association’s third quarter 2013 market report.

The state now has enough turbines to power more than 325,000 homes, said U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing.

“Our onshore (wind) potential is more than 1.6 times our total electricity capacity. We could power our entire state’s electricity needs just with wind,” Stabenow told wind energy advocates, utilities and suppliers on Monday at the AWEA State Energy Forum at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing.

While the wind industry and environmental groups tout the benefits of wind power as a cleaner alternative to coal-fired power plants, wind turbines can be controversial among residents who don’t want the towering machines in their communities. More than 20 people protested outside of the forum on Monday morning, arguing that wind turbines are disruptive, destroy neighborhoods, and are not as cost-effective or reliable as proponents say.


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posted in: Blogging, Michigan, National, News

Renewable energy is the answer, not the enemy

Remember last year’s ballot initiative to amend our state constitution to require Michigan utilities to supply 25 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2025?

Sadly, opponents were successful in scaring Michigan consumers into believing that such a mandate would cost consumers 12 billion in higher energy costs. They also convinced voters that “hometown energy providers” would continue “their commitment to renewable energies” without a mandate.

But the opposite is true. The Legislature passed the Clean, Renewable and Efficient Energy Act in 2008. RES required Michigan’s utility companies to get 10 percent of their electricity from clean and renewable sources by 2015. It also put into place an Energy Optimization program requiring Michigan utilities to help their customers use energy more efficiently by 1 percent every year.

Since 2008, according to a recent Michigan legislative report, there has been a dramatic reduction in the cost of renewable energy, with the latest wind energy contracts coming in 50 percent cheaper than coal. Michigan’s Energy Efficiency program has provided the cheapest source of baseload power (over 6x cheaper than coal). For every $1 invested in energy efficiency, customers are saving $3.55 in energy costs.

Although 70 of 71 electric companies in Michigan are on track to meet the 10 percent by 2015, most of these same utilities have declared an unwillingness to do anything more unless required by law. This is notwithstanding the fact that renewable energy is cheaper and cleaner than current or proposed fossil fuel options. Without legislative action, Michigan’s progress toward clean energy will come to a halt.

Consider that Michigan currently gets over 50 percent of our electricity from coal, all of which is imported from other states. In turn, Michigan sends $1.2 billion a year — and the jobs that money creates — to other states to pay for it.

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posted in: Blogging, EmployerNews, Michigan, News

Environmentalists seek increased focus on renewable energy plans

A Michigan environmentalist group is calling for increased focus on renewable energy when Gov. Rick Snyder rolls out his plan for energy and the environment in a special message to the Legislature today.

 

The Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs coalition, which backed the failed Proposal 3 ballot initiative this month, said Tuesday it’s continuing the push to increase the renewable energy standard. Proposal 3 called for Michigan utilities to purchase 25 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2025.

Snyder presentation this morning at Kellogg Biological Station in Hickory Corners near Battle Creek is the next in a series of special messages he’s had. Other topics included education, health care, worker development and public safety.

Tourists flock to Michigan’s woods and waterways for recreation and sports. Supporters say the state’s environment, highlighted by a highly successful Pure Michigan advertising campaign, is the foundation for a thriving tourism industry and plays an important role in attracting job-creating industries and professionals.

The Michigan Public Service Commission reported this year the state’s major utilities are on track to meet the 10 percent by 2015 renewable energy standard. More than 30 other states — including Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota — have stronger renewable energy standards than Michigan, according to the group.

Mark Fisk, spokesman for Michigan Energy, Michigan jobs, said Snyder should keep up the pressure on utilities to continue increasing their use of energy from wind, solar and other renewable sources.

“We think the governor has a very important opportunity to lay out a road map (for renewable energy),” Fisk said at a news conference Tuesday.

Millions in advertising revenue was spent on both sides of Proposal 3. More than $10 million in mostly out-of-state money was raised in support of the measure, which proponents said would accelerate Michigan’s move away from environmentally damaging fossil fuels while attracting investment and creating jobs.
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posted in: EmployerNews, Michigan, News

Energy Proposal Could Bring 70K Jobs to MI

A new report says Michigan could gain more than 70,000 jobs if voters approve a Renewable Energy Proposal in November.

Michigan State University researchers say those jobs would come over the next dozen years from a policy that would require utilities to generate more renewable energy, a move they say would generate more than $10 billion in new investments.

“Youre looking at a little over $10.3 billion worth of investment to make it happen, and that’s investment in wind, solar, biomass, anarobic digestion, etc, etc, and the outcome of those investments as we run them through the economic modeling is roughly 74,000 job years,” said Charles McKeown, an economic specialist at MSU.

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posted in: EmployerNews, Michigan, News

‘Green’ Energy Advocates Targeting Michigan Again

LANSING — Petitions are being circulated for a proposal to saddle Michigan with an ever higher renewable energy mandate.

The Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs Initiative (MEMJI) also called “25 by 25’ wants to put the proposal on the Nov. 6 statewide ballot. Its goal is to collect 500,000 signatures. If enacted, the proposal would require that 25 percent of Michigan’s energy come from renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass by 2025.

Under Michigan’s current energy law passed in 2008, 10 percent of Michigan’s energy is supposed to come from renewable sources by 2015.

In terms of costs and efficiency, the existing requirement is already problematic.

Rhetoric for the 25 by 25 proposal could have come from old “green job” speeches made by former Gov. Jennifer Granholm. According to one of the websites for the proposal, the measure would “create thousands of jobs for Michigan workers and attract $10 billion in new investments to our state.”

A key question regarding costly renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, is whether anyone would use them if government didn’t mandate it.

Earlier this month, a spokesman for the proposal was quoted by an online publication saying the petition drive was ahead of schedule. Other aspects of the initiative might be ahead of schedule as well — such as funding.

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posted in: Blogging, EmployerNews, Michigan, News

Detroit Auto Show: Growth in Green Cars Could Create Green Jobs

The 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which will open to the public on January 15th, will have more than 40 new vehicles on display. According to the Huffington Post, auto sales are the highest they’ve been since 2008, and the show will have both concept cars and cars that will be sold this year.

This year, green cars are predicted to grab the spotlight – whether the models are energy efficient, hybrid, electric, or made with eco-friendly materials. The Huffington Post said that one of this year’s trends will be “fuel-efficient cars with more style and safety features”.

Inhabitat has been reporting live from the auto show with details on the latest and greatest in green cars. For example, Ford has kicked it off with a 2013 Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, which will get 100 miles to the gallon. Ford also announced that it will recycle 2 million plastic bottles for use in its Focus electric vehicle.

As indicated by this year’s green trend at the Detroit Auto Show, consumers have been warming to the idea of electric or hybrid fuel vehicles. A number of recent reports also suggest that sales of these clean vehicles will increase, which may indicate that green job opportunities in the auto industry will also grow.

The Green Car Market: Hybrid and Plug-In Electric Vehicles

A December 8, 2011 report from Pike Research estimated that by the year 2017, hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles will represent 5.1 percent of auto sales in the United States and 3.1 percent of sales worldwide. That represents an annual growth rate of nearly 20 percent from current levels for green vehicles, said the report.

Similarly, a separate December 13th report from the research firm estimates that the number of charging stations for electric vehicles will reach 1.5 million in the U.S. and 7.7 globally by 2017 to support the rising use of electric cars.

That’s only one aspect to an increased global focus on smart transportation infrastructure, the firm reported, an effort which will comprise of $13.1 billion in worldwide investment dollars over six years.

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posted in: EmployerNews, Michigan, News

Detroit Outgrows Silicon Valley in Tech as Ford Lifts Hiring

As a group of Ford Motor Co. (F) managers in blue jeans sat down to interview a suit-wearing candidate from a California technology company this month, they jokingly offered to cut off his tie to put him at ease.

Auto industry executives are trying to make Silicon Valley engineers feel at home in Detroit. With a burgeoning number of technology job openings to fill, they’re scouring Internet companies for workers, wining and dining applicants, and seeking promising students at schools such as Stanford University.

“We have a whole slew of job postings out there currently,” said Doug VanDagens, director of Ford’s connected service solutions, who has been trying to lure engineers to the automaker to design software. “We’re just on a growth binge.”

Expertise in cloud computing, mobile software applications and energy management are in demand in the Motor City as automakers replace car stereos with Internet radio and gasoline engines with motors powered by lithium-ion batteries. Technology job postings in the Detroit area doubled last year, making it the fastest-expanding region in the country, according to Dice Holdings Inc. (DHX), a job-listing website.

“There’s a war for talent out there, and it’s only going to get worse,” said Jim Bazner, vice president of human capital solutions at MSX International in Southfield, Michigan, which helps automakers find specialized employees. “There are hundreds of jobs, and all the automakers are hiring.”

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posted in: EmployerNews, Michigan, News

Workforce Fund will help train 105 Detroiters for green jobs

The Detroit Regional Workforce Fund, which is dedicated to training low-skilled metro Detroiters for the jobs of the future, announced today a partnership investment of more than $600,000 with Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, a nonprofit that works to address environmental contamination issues faced by low-income individuals.

As a direct result of the partnership investment, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice will begin training 105 unemployed and disadvantaged Detroit residents in the skills needed to perform hazardous waste remediation.

The partnership looks to connect low-skilled and low-income Detroiters with the training needed to earn family-sustaining wages in growing green industries — a key aspect of helping disadvantaged city residents overcome poverty while meeting needs of businesses in growing industries.

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posted in: Michigan, News

Mid-Michigan company in green job spotlight

For the second day in a row, a Mid-Michigan company is in the spotlight for its work in creating green jobs.

For the second day in a row, a Mid-Michigan company is in the spotlight for its work in creating green jobs.

Tuesday, one of the stops Vice President Joe Biden made was at Hemlock Semiconductor in Saginaw County.

HSC has received federal and state tax credits for creating jobs in the solar industry.Read Full Article

posted in: EmployerNews, Michigan, News

Top Five Cities for Scoring Green Jobs Named

As both the environment and the economy continue to struggle, green jobs prove to be an effective method of dealing with both, especially in certain cities. The Center for American Progress recently released the top five green job cities in the nation.

As both the environment and the economy continue to struggle, green jobs prove to be an effective method of dealing with both, especially in certain cities. The Center for American Progress recently released the top five green job cities in the nation.

San Francisco comes in at first place, having been recognized as the number one producer of clean tech jobs by the Clean Edge Report. On Feb. 3, 2010, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced the allocation of $19.2 million toward energy efficiency programs, funded through the San Francisco Watch Program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Mayor Newsom expressed his commitment to green jobs by stating “San Francisco’s energy-efficiency programs demonstrate how protecting the environment creates jobs and helps businesses and property owners save money.”Read Full Article

posted in: California, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon

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