GLREA Annual Meeting will be held on Sat., December 3, 11:30 am – 3:30 pm at Arbor Brewing, 114 E. Washington, Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor Solar Users Network is cosponsoring the meeting which will include an update on state legislation, board elections, and presentation of GLREA awards. Keynote speakers will be Larry Ward, Executive Director of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum and Thomas Lyon, Dow Chair of Sustainable Science, Technology and Policy, Ross School of Business, UM. Come learn what GLREA has been doing and plans to do. See old friends and make new ones. You don’t have to be a GLREA member to attend. You should pre-register on line at www.glrea.org no later than November 25. $15 registration fee to cover lunch.
ASES 21st National Solar Home Tour attracted 133 attendees in Michigan on October 1. Thank you to the volunteer local tour coordinators who made the tours in 8 Michigan communities possible. Tours included a bike ride, a virtual solar tour, and site visits including three dozen in Ypsilanti. One of the highlights of the Chelsea Area Solar Tour was the Trumpy house in Grass Lake. The Trumpy family live 100% off grid and grow over 95% of their own food. The home features post and beam and straw bale construction and a 3 kW 2 axis tracker PV system.
Phoenix Haus is using a hundred year-old manufacturing building on Detroit’s near east side to design and build prefabricated building components for super-high efficiency homes using the Passive House approach. By pre-fabricating the components at their Detroit warehouse and then shipping the products to the construction site, Phoenix Haus plans to keep prices down and the technology more attractive. More details.
Gas Customer Choice Program in Michigan has 437,782 customers participating statewide. During its first year of operation, over 31,000 people have visited the MPSC and MAE CompareMIGas website which features the prices currently charged by all alternative gas suppliers active in Michigan, as well as basic terms and conditions.
DTE Voluntary Renewable Energy Pilot program (U-18076) has been approved by the MPSC. The new program will be limited to 150,000 MWh from company-owned solar and wind facilities. Program participants will remain on their current tariff and pay an additional subscription fee, fixed for the life of the program, of $0.072 per kWh for usage subscribed under the program. Participants would receive an energy and capacity credit calculated based on their usage and subscription level for the same period. The MPSC said its approval of this pilot program does not constitute its endorsement or approval of DTE’s method for computing the value of renewable energy.
Van Straten Bros., located in Baraga, is branching out to manufacture portable PV systems for Caterpillar. Van Straten developed the first prototype nearly 5 years ago and earlier this year Caterpillar Micro-grid Solutions tested a prototype. The system is housed within a 20-foot shipping container with side-opening doors housing all the components – solar, and/or wind power, batteries and a standby generator.
Michigan Energy Office now has four topical listservs for people interested in keeping up to date on its grants and technical assistance programs. The four listservs are industrial, commercial, agricultural and municipal. To sign up, individuals should visit this website.
Army National Guard at Fort Custer is looking at energy alternatives, recycling, and how it might respond to effects of climate change. Two projects are a wind funnel R&D project and 780 solar panels installed two years ago (see photo above). The Defense Dept. pilot project is planning for possible climate change effects at Fort Custer, Camp Grayling, and Selfridge Air National Guard Base. More details.
Super Grid or Going Local? – two very different visions of a renewable energy future. Do we use a super grid to move renewable power from one area to another? Can an Asia Super Grid that includes Japan, South Korea, China, and Russia provide inter-regional grid integration that can support optimization of renewable energy, which is dispersed geographically? Or does Going Local, i.e. maintaining a delicate balance of supply and demand using distributed generation, smart meters, and smart appliances, make more sense?
General Electric has signed an agreement with Max Bogl Wind AG to deliver and commission a wind turbine integrated with pumped storage hydro power. The Gaildorf project in Germany will consist of four GE 3.4 MW turbines and a 16 MW pumped storage hydro plant. The base and surrounding area of each wind turbine tower will be used as a water reservoir, effectively increasing tower height by 40 meters. At a total tip height of 246.5 meters, these units will become the tallest wind turbines in the world. A nearby valley, approximately 200 vertical meters below the wind turbines, will house a 16 MW pump/generator hydro plant. The full Gaildorf power plant is expected to be operational by end of 2018. More details.
Bill Nye, the science guy, is turning his attention to new solar technology that could cut the cost of panels by 60%. Rayton Solar has devised a system that cuts Float Zone Silicon with a particle accelerator. Their technique results in less waste and lower costs. More details.
Solar Roadways recently unveiled its first public installation at a downtown plaza in a northern Idaho resort town – 150 sq. ft. of hexagon-shaped solar panels that people can walk and bicycle on. The company is working on proving that the panels are strong enough and have enough traction to handle motor vehicles, including semitrailers. Solar Roadways has been testing the strength of its half-inch-thick glass by dropping 1-pound steel balls on it from 8 feet, a standard test for concrete. So far, the tests have been successful. The panels can currently be used for sidewalks, driveways and parking lots. Solar Roadways wants to set up a manufacturing facility for the glass panels as early as next year. More details.
Iceland is digging way deeper, five kilometers, into the boundary of tectonic plates to harvest energy generated by oozing magma. At that depth, water is expected to be in the form of “supercritical steam”. A well that is capable of harnessing such steam is estimated to be able to produce 50 MW, compared to the 5 MW from a typical geothermal well. More details.
EcoWorks’ 8th Annual Breakfast celebrating 35 years of sustainable solutions will be held on Nov. 4, 7:30 am-10 am at the Detroit Yacht Club. Native American activist and environmentalist Winona LaDuke will be the keynote speaker. More details.
PV Conference & Expo – Chicago will be held at the Hilton Chicago on November 9-10. Sponsored by the Solar Energy Industries Assoc. and Smart Electric Power Alliance, the conference will bring together 1,000 or more attendees from the solar industry, utilities, and interested organizations. http://events.solar/pvchicago Rates increase on Nov. 3.
“From the Lab to the Livingroom: How Public-Private Partnerships Can Advance Your Energy Innovation” will be held on Nov. 10, 3:30-5 p.m. at the MSU Kellogg Center, room Red Cedar A. There will be a panel discussion on federal, state, and private-sector opportunities that can help develop and commercialize clean energy innovation. RSVP by Nov. 7 to Jamie Scripps at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fourth Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala will be held by Michigan EIBC on Nov. 10, 5-9 pm at the MSU Kellogg Center. This event pays tribute to and recognizes those businesses, policymakers, and others who are the doing the most to build the clean energy industry in Michigan. The keynote speaker will be John Viera, Global Director, Sustainability & Vehicle Environmental Matters, Ford Motor. More details.
High Test EV Solar Direct presentation will be held on Nov. 17, 6:00-7:00 pm at Michigan Energy Options, 405 Grove St. in East Lansing. Craig Toepfer will discuss his PV & EV systems. After installing a 3.4 kW grid connected PV system and buying a Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), it became clear to Craig that the solar panels could fully charge the PHEV everyday – yielding 100 mpg. A second 3.4 kW stand alone, grid-free PV system has been installed on a new carport and devoted to EV charging. Come hear Craig’s EV & PV story. Networking from 5:00-6:00.
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