GLREA annual meeting on Dec. 5 included presentation of awards to 7 individuals and companies. The Business Leadership Award went to Steelcase who has made an investment in renewable energy equivalent to 100% of the company’s global electricity use. The Exemplary Project Award went to Connor Field to recognize the Eaton Rapids Solar Project, a 535.5 kW project built on a landfill that will replace diesel peaking generators. Appreciation awards were given to Dave Konkle for his efforts to promote community solar and John Weaver and George Wood for their contributions to the 2015 Michigan Energy Fair.
The Jennifer M. Granholm Leadership Award went to Jim Dulzo for his many articles, editorials, and blog pieces that have appeared throughout the state that have clearly and accurately described energy issues and the need for clean energy. Dave Konkle presents the award to Jim Dulzo in the photo above. Dan Alway, a renewable energy pioneer and strong supporter of GLREA, passed away in late September. A Lifetime Achievement Award in Memoriam was given to Dan and accepted by his brother Robert. GLREA has set up a scholarship in Dan’s name and contributions can be made at www.glrea.org.
The annual meeting also included election of board members. New and returning board members are Jason Bing, Kris Hunter, Dave Konkle, Mary McGraw, Sarah Mullkoff, and Dan Worth. Other board members are Jim Carter, Cary Church, John Sarver, John Freeman, Todd O’Grady, Allan O’Shea, and Tyler Kanczuzewski. Officers for 2016 will be selected in January.
Don (The Solar) King’s storyline is that of “white” collar turned “green” collar. Along with being born and raised in Michigan and working for the automotive industry for over 22 years, he realized his true desire was to become self-sustained and reduce his carbon footprint. To accomplish this, he started working for a solar and wind design and installation company. After 5 years and over 100 completed projects, Don decided it was time to set out on his own and develop a company that focused on helping others become less dependent on their local utility providers. The result is Solar King, LLC located at 4522 Racewood Dr. in Commerce.
Why should you choose Solar King to complete your solar installation? With experience in designing and installing many projects, we value our customer satisfaction and strive to meet or exceed your expectations. We analyze your past and future energy needs, understand your goals and motivations and design a system/solution that’s right for you and your budget. Installed solar panels have a 25 year warranty and are expected to last and perform for 40+ years! www.solarking.com
Lansing Board of Water & Light plans to install the largest solar array in Michigan. The 70,000 solar panels would be installed in Delta Township near the GM assembly plant. The array will generate 35,000 MWHs annually, enough power for 3,500 homes. BWL would purchase the power from groSolar, a Vermont-based company, under a 25-year agreement. BWL is also doing two 300 kW community solar projects, one in East Lansing at Burcham Park and one near the utility’s Wise Road Water Treatment Plant. Any BWL customer can participate by leasing 300-watt panels for $399 each and receive bill credits for 25 years. Visit www.micommunitysolar.org for more information. More details.
Detroit Zoo will fully power its operations with renewable energy generated by wind farms. The purchase of renewable energy credits by the Detroit Zoological Society is supported by Novi-based ITC Holdings Corp. Other zoo initiatives include building a biodigester to turn animal manure into energy. More details.
University of Michigan’s Energy Institute has launched a new 2,700 sq.ft. Battery Fabrication and Characterization User Facility with $900,000 from the university’s engineering school, $5 million from MEDC and $2.1 million from Ford Motor. While the project is driven primarily by automotive research interests for now, its directors see that as just the beginning of a broader energy storage movement. More details.
DTE Energy’s proposal to raise rates for LED street lights has been rejected by the MPSC. The MPSC ordered DTE to engage in talks with the Southeast Michigan Municipal Street Lighting Consortium to arrive at a fair rate. DTE had sought to raise rates for LEDs by 15-20%. The administrative law judge found that DTE failed to demonstrate that its proposed rates were based on actual costs, did not give municipalities credit for the up-front investments in fixtures owned by DTE, and did not reduce projected maintenance expenses adequately to account for the longer life and durability of LEDs. More details.
City of Holland has become a community committed to a clean energy future and is in hot pursuit of the $5 million nationwide Georgetown Energy Prize, Holland has held a series of Energy Blitzes. The first Energy Blitz was kicked off this past June with over 100 volunteers and the entire Holland City Council going door-to-door promoting energy efficiency – free LED bulbs, 50 Smart Thermostats, 100 shade trees, pick-up and recycling of old fridges/freezers, and an energy review of homes. Holland is now ranked as fourth among more than 50 cities competing
DTE Energy has announced plans to break ground this spring on two projects in Lapeer totaling 45 MW. One of the projects will be 30 MW and the other will be 15 MW. DTE has a contract with Inovateus Solar MI LLC to develop up to 50 MW and is looking at sites to generate the remaining 5 MW. More details.
Congress passed a spending package on Dec. 18 that includes multi-year extensions of solar and wind tax credits, plus one-year extensions for a range of other renewable energy technologies. The 30% Investment Tax Credit for solar will be extended for another 3 years. It will then ramp down incrementally through 2021, and remain at 10% permanently for commercial installations beginning in 2022. The 2.3-cent Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind will also be extended through next year. Projects that begin construction in 2017 will see a 20% reduction in the incentive. The PTC will then drop 20% each year through 2020. Also included were geothermal, landfill gas, marine energy and incremental hydro, which will each get a one-year PTC extension. Those technologies will also qualify for a 30% ITC, if developers choose. According to GTM Research, the ITC extension will help spur nearly 100 GW of solar by 2020, resulting in $130 billion in total investment. The legislation also lifts a 40-year ban on exports of crude oil produced in the U.S. More details.
Fred.Olsen Renewables, a Norwegian wind farm developer with experience in the North Sea, will build the $120 million pilot wind farm planned for Lake Erie. The non-profit Lake Erie Energy Development Co. (LEEDCo) has been planning the six-turbine pilot project that will be located 8 to 10 miles northwest of Cleveland and generate about 20 MW. More details.
Deepwater Wind has completed the first offshore construction season for its 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm, with all 5 steel jacket foundations fully installed at the site offshore from Rhode Island. Erection of the 5 offshore wind turbines is set for summer 2016 and the project is scheduled to be generating power in late 2016. More details.
Qurrent, a Dutch renewable energy company, has plans to turn a previous wind farm into a sustainable theme park. In collaboration with Jora Entertainment, the two are creating a 8,000 square meter theme park that will be run completely by wind. Some of the featured rides will include Beaufort Buster, a waterslide with a spiral slide wrapping around a wind turbine. Another idea is the Blade Runner: a ride on a turbine blade. Of course, there will be a drop tower and roller coaster. More details.
Energy Efficiency Standards issued for rooftop air conditioners and heat pumps represent the largest energy savings of any rule ever issued by the Department of Energy. The new standards are expected to save 1.7 trillion kWh’s over 30 years of sales, or almost as much energy as created by all the coal burned in the US to generate electricity in a year. The rooftop air conditioner standards will take effect in two phases, increasing minimum efficiency 10% as of January 1, 2018, and 25-30% as of January 1, 2023. www.appliance-standards.org
Energy Department has announced $125 million in funding for 41 cutting-edge energy technologies as part of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program. As one of the selected projects, a team led by the University of Virginia will receive $3.6 million to fund the design of a 50 MW wind turbine featuring ultralight blades that can be fabricated in 5-7 segments and assembled at the point of use. The hurricane-resistant design can enable low-cost, offshore wind energy. Accio Energy of Ann Arbor will receive $4.5 million to develop and demonstrate a new, innovative offshore wind system. More details.
Community Solar Parks will be the topic of the January 8 Mid-MEAC Land Use Lunch. John Kinch, Michigan Energy Options, will speak on community solar projects planned for Lansing and East Lansing from 12n-1pm at the Michigan Environmental Council, 602 W. Ionia St. in Lansing. A light lunch will be available and a $5 donation is suggested.
West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will present a luncheon highlighting global and local responses to climate change and energy issues on January 11, at Grand Valley State University’s Seidman Forum from 12 to 2 pm. Learn more and RSVP here.
City of East Lansing’s Commission on the Environment and Meridian Township’s Environmental Commission will host a Community Solar Forum on Jan. 11 from 6-7:30 pm at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center, 819 Abbot Rd. Community members are invited to attend to learn more about the community solar project proposed for East Lansing’s Burcham Park. www.micommunitysolar.org