Anne Fowler-Edin's Comments

November 12, 2012

Election Notes: Some Renewable Energy Tidbits You May Have Overlooked

Yes a lot of folks, here in Michigan, didn't like the "amending the constitution idea" for renewable or other initiatives. Though historically this is how voter initiatives work here in Michigan and the State Constitution has been frequently amended by voters. This year the conservative super pacs created a successful campaign about keeping our "hands off the Constitution". Evidently it is okay for amendments against same-sex marriage but not for "progressive ideals". The other major stumbling block was the inclusion of biomass in the proposal. Biomass always causes a lot of controversy since there are a lot of incineration technologies out there that have now cloaked themselves as biomass and can be terrible polluters. A lot of environmentalists were worried these would be the types of projects that would be pushed even though most of them don't provide enough energy to make a lot of sense for trying to reach the 25 x 25 objective. This vote however, did not reflect the fact that voters think the "the state's existing energy policy is working". It's not. The fact that in order to meet those standards utilities can get their renewables from other states like Ohio, has created a lack of demand for renewable projects within the State where there is no existing SREC program to encourage growth. A lot of companies in the renewable industry have or having been exploring the idea of leaving the state to look for greener pastures elsewhere. The defeat of 25X25 will likely speed this process up.

November 08, 2012

Making Ground Source Geothermal a Win-Win Resource for Utilities and Customers

Geothermal Innovations, an Indianapolis based geo tech firm makes a heat exchanger that optimizes the use of a 6 inch bore hole. A 400 ft bore hole (here is SE Michigan) can produce about 6 tons of heating & cooling - enough for 2 average size homes. This brings the field costs down by about 30% - the pipe is more expensive than u-bend but there are significant savings in drilling. The City of Wyandotte, MI, has been using this heat exchanger for geo installations financed through the City's municipally owned utility. They charge homeowners that participate in the program a monthly geo fee based on the tonnage of their HVAC equipment - about $35 per ton.

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