Friday, December 26, 2008

Michigan Passes Plan to Conserve Energy Resources

During September of this year, Michigan reportedly passed its first comprehensive energy plan. Legislators from both House and Senate passed Senate Bill 213 and House Bill 55214, which set up many programs, like setting the Renewable Portfolio Standards at 10 percent for the state of Michigan by the year 2015. This package also includes other energy efficiency guidelines, and waits only for the governor's signature to take effect.

The Senate Bill creates new alternative energy resource goals, and the House outlined a new energy efficiency program worth 200 million US dollars. (All of the Republicans present voted no on both bills.) The Senate voted 26-10, and the House 78-29 on the bill that would guarantee DTE and Consumers Energy 90% of the future energy market. This bill would end the industry's subsidies of consumer's rates. This bill also passed the Senate, 25-11.

Senate Bill 213 is 102 pages which discuss resources for achieving the 10 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard via dealings with solar, biomass, wind, hydro, geothermal, and municipal solid waste and landfill gas. The utility company, Consumers Energy, is going to have to build or buy facilities that generate 200 megawatts via renewable energy resource by 2013, and 500 megawatts by 2015.

By contrast, DTE needs to obtain facilities that generate 300 megawatts by 2013, and 600 megawatts by 2015. Both companies will be able to obtain deadline extensions from the Michigan Public Service Commission because of possible feasibility limitations, equipment costs and availability, transmission and interconnection, electric system reliability, and labor shortages.

Residential bills in the state will be capped with $3 each month, $16.58 for commercial secondary ventures, and $187.50 for commercial primaries or industrial companies. If the utility companies are unable to meet their deadlines, they will be unable to regain what they would spend on renewable energy resources.

DTE released a statement recently stating that the company had signed a long-term contract with Heritage Sustainable Energy, LLC, which will provide wind resources for the utility company. The contract is going to allow the wind farm to build a 6,500-acre facility in Richland Twp., Michigan. This is tied in with DTE's GreenCurrents renewable energy program, initiated before the legislation was passed. GreenCurrents was developed with the idea of letting customers choose whether they wanted to access their electricity from clean energy resources.

The program allows business customers to select a 1,000-kilowatt hour green energy block for an extra $20 a month, or to match 100 percent of energy used with renewable resources for an extra cost of two cents per kilowatt-hour. Residential users can purchase a block of energy for only $2.50 a month extra, or they can match their energy used with renewable energy for about $10 to 15 extra.

Heritage, in turn, is beginning the construction of Stoney Corners Wind Farm. The facilities will at first have two separate 2.5 megawatt, Fuhrlander 2500 wind turbines, and eventually grow to supply 5 megawatts.

Gretchen Vuvalgee shares information with homeowners. Check out:

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