Plan pushes Michigan to use more renewable energy

Michigan must quicken its pace at developing renewable power sources such as wind while becoming more efficient with energy to meet requirements outlined Monday by the Obama administration for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired electric plants.
AP Wire
Jun 3, 2014


A plan drafted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would require Michigan to reduce carbon output by 31.5 percent from 2012 levels, when its utilities pumped 63 million metric tons into the atmosphere — 11th highest among the states. Coal-fired power plants are the leading source of greenhouse gases pushing the climate toward warming that scientists say could produce catastrophic damage.

Coal is the primary fuel for electricity in Michigan, as in neighboring states in the industrial Midwest. Michigan gets 49 percent of its power from coal, 26 percent from nuclear plants and 20 percent from natural gas.

Even so, state regulators and power companies acknowledge the need for change. Many coal-fired plants are being phased out, and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder announced a "no-regrets" energy policy last December that included less reliance on coal and greater use of natural gas and renewables.

"Unlike a lot of states that just come out of the chute in opposition to this, we support the goal" of the Obama plan, said Dan Wyant, director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. "That's good for the environment and long-term good for Michigan. Yet we need the flexibility and timeliness to make a smooth transition. We do not want to put Michigan ratepayers and businesses at a competitive disadvantage compared to other states."

He said the department was awaiting more detail about how the rule would work, including deadlines and how much credit Michigan would receive for greenhouse gas reductions already achieved. Until then, he said it was unclear how big a challenge the plan would pose or what it might cost ratepayers.

EPA estimates that about 6 percent of emission reductions could be achieved through greater efficiency at coal-fired plants. Other means include using less coal, greater reliance on renewables and reducing consumer demand.

Michigan law requires utilities to produce 10 percent of their power from renewable sources by the end of 2015. Voters rejected a ballot initiative two years ago pushed by environmental groups that called for a 25 percent requirement by 2025, which opponents said would boost electric bills.

Wind farms have proven unpopular in some locations, where nearby residents complain that turbines are noisy and cause health problems. Proposals to locate them offshore in the Great Lakes have stirred objections about marring views.

Those hurdles illustrate how difficult it may be to achieve the EPA goal, which is certain to be a political target as well. Terri Lynn Land, the likely Republican nominee in the battle for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Carl Levin, labeled the rule part of an Obama administration "war on Michigan."

But reaction from state officials and businesses — including Consumers Energy and DTE Energy, Michigan's two top electricity providers — was cautious.

Consumers announced plans this year to retire its seven oldest coal-burning plants by 2016. The utility also is constructing its second wind park. Spokesman Dan Bishop said Consumers will study the EPA rule but intends to cut carbon emissions 20 percent by 2025.

DTE has spent nearly $2 billion on emissions control equipment at its Monroe Power Plant in southeastern Michigan, the third-largest coal-fired generator in North America, and a similar amount on renewable projects, spokesman Alejandro Bodipo-Memba said.

"We know that coal will continue to be an important fuel for energy production," he said, adding that the company will continue reducing carbon pollution and retiring older coal plants while working with EPA and state officials on a plan suitable for Michigan.

Jason Geer, energy and environmental policy director for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, said there was "no question" the rule would cost jobs and boost energy costs but said much depends on how much flexibility EPA grants states for implementation.

Environmental groups roundly praised the plan.

"By investing in clean energy, we can keep more hard-earned dollars cycling through Michigan's economy instead of sending it to other states," said Jim Dulzo, energy policy adviser with the Michigan Land Use Institute.



Good for Michigan. We need more solar and wind energy both large and small. I would like to see cost effective unites that could run my air conditioner in the summer.

Tri-cities realist

Key phrase being "cost effective." Good luck with that, let me know when you find one.

Harry Kovaire

Got it! We harness unicorns to hamster wheels connected to generators.


LOL! So appropo!! Clever allegory of the current Republican party and their incessant denial of science, progress, and solutions, continuously, on hamster wheels, producing nothing but unicorn pharts.

Barry Soetoro

You left out small wangs.


Whoa! Hell-o! "Define "small"".....


At this point of technology small systems that store for use later are practical but not cheap such as home security or decorative lights during the summer however there is often not sufficient charging hours in the winter. We cannot do away with the grid, the grid cannot be switched on and off like a switch meaning in addition to really expensive solar and wind gear you will still have the fossil fueled grid's a feel good initiative at best that will likely raise everyone's rates to maintain a power system that might supplement the grid sometimes and in-between those times maintenance which is costly and mandatory will eat up any savings or payback leaving rate payers to make up the difference plus a bit for profit, R&D and such.


The Michigan Wine Renewable Energy industry is alive and well, and is a success story in terms of the harnessing of wind energy, the growth of an industry that means future energy independence, and an industry that equals employment opportunities.

"Wind power in Michigan has become a big business.

The state is about to join the elite “Gigawatt Club,” being one of only a handful of states to generate more than a billion watts of electricity from wind power. More than 40 companies in the wind industry now employ more than 3,000 Michiganders. Hundreds of wind turbines dot several major Michigan wind farms, where millions of dollars have been spent on new power lines to carry that electricity to power-hungry cities.

It’s all a heck of a long way from 1995, when the municipal utility Traverse City Light & Power installed the first commercial-scale wind generator in Michigan on a lonely field along M-72, generating a measly 600 kilowatts.

" has conquered the old bugaboo of wind energy — the fact that the wind doesn’t always blow — through advanced grid management, sophisticated electronic controls on wind turbines, and the fact that today’s more efficient turbines can make more power out of less wind than ever before. Winds over large areas speed up and slow down in slow, predictable patterns, making wind energy management possible at the utility scale.

Not everyone is thrilled about wind power, of course. Some people think the huge turbines are ugly. Some insist they harm bird and bat populations, despite industry assurances that their studies show they don’t. And some insist they cause health problems, despite repeated assurances by the wind industry that no scientific evidence exists for what anti-turbine forces call “wind turbine syndrome.” Speakers at the event dismissed claims of health problems as the “nocebo effect,” a combination of “no” and “placebo,” saying that scientific studies show that health complaints arise only after anti-turbine forces descend on a project area."

Tri-cities realist

Not to pick nits, but I think a renewable wine industry could be more valuable than the renewable wind industry. I think you may be on to something!

Barry Soetoro

Textbook parapraxis!


Now this is the kind of nit I like you to pick. I caught that little Freudian Slip last night but was too "tired" to correct it - and besides, I kind of like it. Since I've declared I never drink and post, I can't very well blame the Layer Cake.

Any thoughts on the actual premise of my comment??

Tri-cities realist

I'm ok with wind (and solar and any other alternative) energy when it makes financial sense. And I don't think we should be subsidizing wind or big oil either. As for the wind farm near ludington, I think it being coupled to the pumped storage plant (hydroelectric reservoir) is one of the few ways that large scale wind makes sense, and can lessen the demand for more coal or natural gas fired power plants. But I will say it was a bit eerie the first time I drove past them in the dark, those red lights all flashing in unison from afar. Personally I don't mind the looks of the turbines either, but I might feel differently if I had to see them every day. I know, perhaps a bit hypocritical on my part, but at least I can admit it. I think we've all had a NIMBY moment in our lives.


I don't think we should be after Michigan for tighter emissions, it would make sense to go after the middle east like Japan, their smog is so heavy people walk outside with mask,s on and their car,s have no emission control,s and don't understand how someone can live like that, who is the blame for green house gases and global warming ?


This simplifies the argument on clean engergy for those who can use logic..


If you want to destroy the beauty of our country do what they did along I65 in Indiana.


Yes, I would much rather see a 650 foot smoke stack blowing crap in the air and a huge line of coal cars coming from Montana every other day! That would be much better!


It's the enviromental-cases that demanded this smoke stack BE 650' tall!! Most of the "crap" being blown in the air is of moisture content. This is why the "smoke" trail evaporates immediately after leaving the stack. You look at a line of coal cars with vile disgust and I see a line of jobs & prosperity...depends on how you look at things. We have to listen to you run your mouth and witness all the crap blowing out of it. I guess, I can relate to your pain.


Michigan’s renewable energy is only alive because of tax payer subsidies and it is NOT well. Take away Govt. subsidies and this industry would collapse like a deck of cards that it is. Legitimate businesses make it on their own and do not need to be propped up and falsified about like wind & solar energy. Fraudulent results of renewable energy continue to poor in through liberal media outlets and useful water carrying idiots repeating the lies over and over again(just like climate change) until eventually, the uninformed voter agrees simply, because they don’t want to hear it anymore. “Elite Gigawatt Club?” What the hell? Can you see how asinine this is becoming people?

Oil, Coal, Natural Gas, and Nuclear energy throttles any other source of energy, period. Like 100 to 1 per dollar invested. How the hell can anyone think a landscape wrecking wind mill barley spinning in the farm fields of Ludington can somehow pass the efficiencies of oil or natural gas? It can’t, it won’t, and we are wasting time humoring liberal morons that think otherwise.

Can you imagine if we had liberal cavemen? We’d still be debating with them that a round wheel is better than a square, no matter what the hell study was chiseled in the local paper demonstrating the obvious. So, why do we still debate renewable energy? Wind & solar energy is an utter failure for a national strategy and has been for the past 40 years. It is NOT profitable, it’s not efficient, it’s not practical, it’s not useful, it’s not working, it has never worked, so why are we continuing to discuss this? Are we this universally ignorant as a people?

Let the adults handle our energy program by first throwing out every Democrat or Republican jackass from office that believes in windmills over pipelines, solar panels over coal mining, or regulation over freedom. Our economy is tanking and our freedoms are evaporating because hardworking people have allowed the invasive species of liberalism to consume our politics, academia, law enforcement, health care, our courts, and our communities. Liberalism is spewing their garbage over all of us and making everyone feel guilty for the lives our ancestors lived, lives we are living, and the plans for our kid’s future.

Yet, like a bunch of dummies, our politicians at all levels of Govt. continue to appease the renewable energy crowd because we still financially can. Eventually, this economy will collapse because the debt we are incurring as a Nation from programs just like renewable energy that has shown NO R.O.I. will continue to kill jobs(soon your own job) and bankrupt this Country one city at a time….it is already happening. Now, pile on all the other liberal inspired programs like entitlements, Obama Care, out of control taxation, etc...and tragically, this will bring forth the much needed preverbal colossal crack over everyone’s skull(or livelihood) that we need to get this Nation recalibrated. God help us.

Harry Kovaire

There is a lot of money to be stolen in the Green Energy racket, and the citizens will pay for it - just look at Spain.


You're kidding, right? Federal subsidies of various kinds have been the cornerstone of the oil and gas industries since the turn of the 20th century.

"Gas and coal are cheap. They are cheap because the U.S. government subsidizes their production.1 The result is that the marketplace does not recognize the true cost of fossil fuels. Without the subsidies, Americans—for the first time in nearly a hundred years—would experience the cost of unsubsidized fossil fuels.2 In a newly competitive marketplace, renewable sources of energy would be in a better position to compete. Without gas and coal subsidies, clean energy producers, who have not been able to compete with the low price of fossil fuels, might be more willing to invest in “clean, renewable, and more energy efficient technologies.”

In 2011, the United States spent $24 billion in tax preferences for and direct funding of energy programs.4 Of that, about $18 billion was spent on renewable energy and $6 billion on traditional fossil fuels.5 This distribution is a major shift in U.S. policy from the last century and even the early twenty-first century. From 1916 until the 1970s, the U.S. promoted domestic oil and gas production at the expense of renewable energy sources.6 The policy “sought to reduce oil import dependence and enhance national security” by lessening the U.S.’s reliance on foreign oil.7 In so doing, the U.S. government hid the true cost of oil and gas."

Love your tower of power comments, d - but for the love of God let's provide some links, ok? I get this is your opinion and all, but a few facts to back it up would help you immeasurably....IF your goal is to persuade, not just vent.


Let's not even go toward the BILLIONS of dollars that subsidize your precious fossil fuel industry!
Let's just think about the thousands of military lives that have been wasted in the middle east "building democracies"! Yeah, right, going after the oil is the correct definition! Would we be anywhere near the middle east if we did not need the oil?
Unfortunately, you are dead wrong, or the rest of the World is wrong! The US is way behind the rest of the world in development of alternative sources of energy.
To continue to depend totally on the burning of fossils fuels is the way of insanity!
Many alternative sources are already less than conventional sources in cost. There is an article on this very web site about how the BLP is going to raise its rates because the FUEL it burns to make the electricity is getting more expensive.
You don't like seeing wind turbines in the middle of a huge corn field? I don't like oil refineries dumping ammonia and mercury into our drinking water down near Chcago. I don't like coal fired power plants and their 650 foot stacks, blowing CO2, mercury and many other pollutants into the air I am trying to breath! I would much rather look at a spinning turbine or a field of solar cells than more 650 foot smoke stacks blowing crap into our air!
Our economy is tanking and our freedoms are evaporating? Hmmm, last time I looked car sales were at record highs in 6 years, the stock market is at record highs, corporate profits are at record highs!
Your rants are hilarious!


Fossil fuels built this Country and the world's economy. Only a staggering moron would suggest it is insane to continue its use. Typical of the hate America first crowd of spoiled little punks like yourself. Just think about the thousands of military lives that have been lost, providing you the right to badmouth your country.

Of course the Middle East is, in part, about oil, but it's for the free flow of oil between all nations and America is the first on the scene insuring the world's oil supply remains open and reliable for the world to depend on. It is a shame to witness your pure ignorance in the lack of understanding of America's contrbution and importance for democracy and securtiy around the globe.

My incandescent light bulb has far less mercury in it than your curly light bulb, does it not? The last time I checked the air quality in West Michigan, it is far better now than it was 50 years ago. Therefore, the pollutants you claim to be breathing, is from the pot you've have been mostlikely smoking, most of your life.

Our economy is tanking, but you refuse to see the total picture. Your talking points are only helpful to the uniformed voter, like yourself, but not for the rest of us.

My rants are far from hilarious to you. They are a threat to the nonsense you spread around this site. Ironically, it is your attempt to belittle me and many others that is truly, hilarious.


So, because you post a Uniperversity of Michigan study then, it has to be true? Your dates, dollars, and impressive rendition of time lines are used in blaming your country for hiding the true cost of gas and oil. Fabulous. Therefore, we need to knee jerk towards renever energies to support your hypothesis? You may not be aware of this Lanilink, but there is no such thing as facts....only interpretation and reality. (Give that some thought, please)

What the hell has been the reality of our economy for the last 6 years? What has happened to our GDP in the last several years? Manufacturing anyone? What has happened to the price of gasoline and natural gas because of the Democrats blocking of new pipeline infrastructure, new refineries (an oxymoron), drilling off shore and on shore, effective and safe hydraulic fracturing practices, and the EPA choking of the coal mining industry?

Killing of success so failure can be elevated is, by definition liberalism and this is what you are attempting to ram down our throats with your daily barrage of Google research, facts, and anomalies. You’re screaming to change an energy strategy and industry that has been proven successful over the past 100 plus years, but stand there mute in changing the biggest failure of a President our Country has ever seen.


Some think that in the next 50 years there will not be many coal plants and the big push towards solar and wind power, but has been proven many times, we are not running out of coal, ok, they are closing the outdated plants, but i say build new ones, the new state of art and expected to fill the new emissions control guidelines, no, they decide to funnel all of the money in to solar, not thinking how people will be looking for new jobs, do know how people are employed at just one plant for 3 shifts and the people that maintain these plants, usually are contracted company s take care of that part and construction people do constant up grades ? ask a politician if he knows those answers ?


Yeah, we have been doing it that way for a hundred years, why should we change now? I think we should all go back to burning wood for heat, why depend on that new fangled coal or natural gas? Just think of the spectacular sunsets we would have, with all that soot in the air.
Anyone that criticizes what the EPA has done to clean the environment in this country, has a very short memory! White Lake, Grand Haven Tannery, CSO from Grand Rapids, vehicle emmissions, old Ottawa County Road Commission site, Lake Erie(!), and the list can go on!
Is that what you want to go back to?
An energy strategy and industry that has proven successful over the past 100 years? Which has caused numerous wars, cost thousands of lives, trashed landscapes everywhere to include the Kalamazoo River.
OMG, open your eyes and see the rest of the world not just this isolated little corner of West Michigan!
I really can't wait to see how history rates President Obama compared to Bush, or Nixon, or VooDoo Reagan!


"Just some moisture coming out of the stack!" OMG, now who is smoking pot?
Staggering moron, spoiled little punk? I feel proud to be called names by people like dyankee!
He can sit is his gluttonous glory in this country that he thinks is going down the tubes because of all the liberals running around.
Personally, I think he has Wind Turbine Syndrome!
By the way, the reason the stack is so tall on power plants is to spread the crap over a bigger are. Dilution is the solution!
Those military lives were not lost in vain protecting me, but your gluttony is not why they died. This country needs to come into the 21st century and quite thinking we are still in the 19th where all they did was burn stuff to stay warm! Why would you want to throw away money when there are much better alternatives?
If more people used the alternatives, we wouldn't need as many power plants. If fewer people drove behemoths they don't need we wouldn't need all the oil.
Its that simple. But that's not the "American Way"!
Look to the future, don't wallow in the past!


In order to reduce air pollution, because I know of no one that does not want clean air or water, factory smoke stacks and automobiles are equipped with a catalytic converter device that reduces emissions of three harmful compounds:

1. carbon monoxide
2. nitrogen oxides
3. hydrocarbons

These are converted into LESS HARMFUL compounds before entering the atmosphere. This is accomplished using a catalyst, which gives the device its name.

The catalyst used in a catalytic converter is a combination of platinum (Pt), palladium (Pd), and rhodium (Rh). These metals coat a ceramic honeycomb (or ceramic beads) contained within a metal casing that is attached to the exhaust pipe. The catalytic converter’s honeycomb structure provides the maximum surface area on which reactions can take place while using the least amount of catalyst.

Each catalytic converter contains platinum (Pt), palladium (Pd), and rhodium (Rh).

A reduction and oxidation reaction occurs inside the device. Did you hear? A REDUCTION. Carbon monoxide (CO) in converted to carbon dioxide (CO2). Nitrogen oxides (NOx) are broken down into nitrogen gas (N2) and oxygen gas (O2). And hydrocarbons (HC) are converted into carbon dioxide (CO2) and WATER (H2O) Well lookie there….WATER and another name for water GH55, is? ‘cmon, it starts with M and ends with ture.

By way of correction, the reason the stacks are so tall on power plants is because smokestacks are built for the purpose of enclosing a column of hot gases, thereby, producing a draft.(similar to a majority of your posts) Due to their high temperature the gaseous products of combustion have a lower density than the surrounding air. Hence the weight of the hot gases in the smokestack is less than the weight of an equally high column of air, producing pressure (i.e., weight per unit) differences that drive the hot gases up the smokestack.

The difference in pressure is equal to the height of the smokestack multiplied by the difference in densities of hot gas and air, and this is how the draft is calculated. Tall smokestacks will produce a greater draft, thus removing the products of combustion from the furnace at a faster rate, just like your gas fireplace, wood burner, or pellet stove. Any questions?

“If more people used the alternatives, we wouldn't need as many power plants.” “If fewer people drove behemoths they don't need we wouldn't need all the oil.”

Typical liberal hypocrisy. Did you drive your car to work today GH55 or ride your bike? Do you live in a house or a tent? Do you have solar panels on your roof or a gas line running to your house? Do you have a windmill in your yard generating your electricity or letting Consumers energy do the heavy lifting for you? Do you have a Reel mower or a Toro? Do you dry your clothes on a clothes line or use a dryer? Do you own a dishwasher that is sucking Lake Michigan dry or wash by hand?

Do you water your lawn to make your home look better and make a "gluttony" of profit on its appreciation? What are you wearing shoes for? The soles are made from oil, same thing with your sunglasses, take em’ off. Shall I continue?


Ride my bike as often as possible! The car I do drive gets 40mpg!
I do have a reel push mower for the minimal lawn I do have in the back of my house.
80% of my yard is beach grass that requires no watering!
Consumers Power tells me every month I am well under other homes of similar size in the use of electricity. I think its about 3500 sq ft and I pay less than $1600 per year for all energy. Can you say the same?
I try to minimize where ever I can! I don't drive behemoths, I camp in a tent not another behemoth, I don't base my recreational opportunities on gas powered vehicles.
The height of the stack is used to spread the effluent over a larger area. Your greater draft deal is not relevant to this issue.
Tell me that brown stain in the air from the power plant effluent is moisture! Uh, huh, yeah right!
Earlier you were telling us you wanted the EPA to butt out of industry, now you are telling us its great so we have clean air and water. Which is it?
I am proud to be a liberal!
I look to innovation and the future! I am not stuck on the past and fear of change!


So, if I or the rest of us can’t say the same about how we live our lives compared to you then, “we” are the problem? There is not a single common sense thinking individual I know that would criticize you for the way you’re living your life. It is your choice. You’re experiencing freedom and the pursuit of your happiness.

The point of contention is that you’re criticizing everyone else that doesn’t live like you. In fact, you and most liberals take it a step further and try to disrupt, complicate, block, or destroy any policy, company, organization, and/or individual that does not align to your way of thinking. Why can’t you enjoy your choices and respect the choice of others? I expect more from individuals or groups that wrap their arms around diversity. Practice what you preach, shall we Mr. tolerant?

I want the EPA and our Government to butt out of industry, byway, of over reaching their authority. It does not mean they should be abolished. We are a country of laws used to hold the abusers accountable, but when the authority becomes bigger than the sheeple then, it needs to be cut back, sharply.

If during the next Tigers game you watch, you notice 15 umpires on the field would you think this is excessive? Should I rip into you when you suggest there should only be 4? Should I accuse you of trying to destroy the game of baseball or portray you has an individual that promotes excessiveness, lawlessness, a person stuck in the past or fear of change?

My draft comment was in response to your misinterpretation, as to why stacks are so tall. Remember, “dilution is the solution” comment? My explanation is very relevant, but it hurts your rhetoric and smear campaign of power plants, my apologies.

I look to the future, as well. hydraulic fracturing is very innovating, clean coal technologies are on the cutting edge of future energy production. Oil and nuclear energy is increasing technology and efficiencies in spite of liberal’s attempts to sabotage, defund, and over regulate it into oblivion.

Why don’t you let the market decide which way future energy should grow instead taking part in an effort to lie, cheat, smear, and over regulate any version of energy that you disagree with and despise?

As an example of supply & demand and the pursuit of one’s happiness, analyze the sales of the Chevy Volt vs. Ford F-150 and get back to us.



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