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Posted on Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

Michigan needs to stop reliance on coal for energy

By Letters to the Editor

Ann Arbor is an environmental leader in Michigan. It is of the utmost importance that we maintain our status. Michigan needs a leader. The largest problem we face in the state is our delay in the transition to green energy. DTE Energy generates 80 percent of their energy from coal. This is a tragically high percentage. Coal is not only the leading polluter of mercury into our water; it also is becoming increasingly expensive.

Michigan’s coal is imported almost entirely from Wyoming. The cost to transport the coal to Michigan is becoming increasingly expensive as the cost of diesel rises.

The solution is green energy. By transitioning from coal to renewable sources like wind and solar energy, rates will go down, pollution to the great lakes will decrease, and green energy jobs will be created.

The Great Lakes are Michigan’s most valued natural resource. I spent every summer of my youth on Lake Huron. I have become disheartened in that, through the years, I have watched the health of my beloved lake diminish.

I urge everyone in the state to take immediate action in the fight against coal pollution. It is our duty as Michiganders to protect the world’s most abundant source of fresh water.

Ann Arbor, it is time to stand up for our lakes. Write to Gerald Anderson, CEO of DTE, and urge him to invest in clean infrastructure. Take action and make democracy work!

Hali Greene




Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 6:12 p.m.

Agreed. The Holland, Michigan, Board of Public Works just inked a second contract for wind power at less than 4.5 cents per kwh....a rate even less than from existing coal plants. Wind power is cheaper than coal power, it's cleaner and healthier than coal power, it's better for the environment than coal power, and unlike coal plants we actually make wind turbine components here....meanwhile we send 1.7 billion dollars out of the state's economy every year to buy coal from a thousand miles away. Wind is better for our economy, keeps more money here, and better for our health. Cheaper, too. Now all we need is to get our Monopoly utilities to do the sensible thing for Michigan, rather than stick with business as usual.


Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 10:33 p.m.

We also need wind...................

Clarence Milo

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.

I completely agree with the author. No one is calling for an immediate switch to all renewables right now, but a serious commitment to the future is necessary in order to transition this state towards a more sustainable energy sector. Contrary to the views of some coal-funded legislators, recoverable coal reserves do not stretch into the infinite future. This "cheap" resource has seen price hikes in recent years, rates for DTE customers rose 13.5% in 2011 alone. The externalities associated with coal are too great to ignore. Why don't we ask the hundreds of thousands of people suffering from asthma attacks how cheap coal is, or the thousands dying prematurely due to coal pollution. This archaic form of power generation costs our health care system over $100 billion dollars annually. Just because it's not on your electric bill, doesn't mean someone isn't paying for it.


Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

I agree with the author. The facts and data are out. Renewables and efficiencies are less expensive than any investment in coal and improve public health while promoting a cleaner environment. We can not keep using old facts and old forms of energy. We need to move Michigan forward.


Mon, Mar 25, 2013 : 11:03 a.m.

you're correct, we need more nuclear power!


Mon, Mar 25, 2013 : 8:04 p.m.

Yep, just ask Japan

Jay Thomas

Mon, Mar 25, 2013 : 4:12 a.m.

Anyone who thinks windmills and solar panels will replace coal and nuclear better be able to stomach paying many times more for their electricity.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 9:43 p.m.

Let's see, install sloar panles on the roof of the house for 80K in order to save $10 a month on electricity. It will pay for itself in four centuries.


Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 10:32 p.m.

DonBee - great analysis, the only problem is that the life of the panels is probbaly about the length of the payback period. I like the idea but I don't have the money to do it.................


Mon, Mar 25, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

1 KiloWatt (KW) of solar panels on your roof would cost about $5,000 installed and connected. The actual Panels are about $1,500 of that amount, the balance is other equipment and installation labor. The panels have an 80% chance of coming from China, only a 12% chance of coming from the US. 1KW of panels would produce roughly 1,000 KWH of electricity a year. The value of that electricity to you the home owner would be roughly $166 - so your payback would be about 34 years, without any subsidies or special payments. The DOE is working on SunShot to try and reduce the non-panel cost of installing solar by at least 50%. At $2500 a Kilowatt - your payback would fit in a 15 year mortgage.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 9:40 p.m.

Nuclear energy is evil because the movie The China Syndrome said so.

Superior Twp voter

Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 9:23 p.m.

I fully believe the author, "Hali Greene" of Detroit, is about 14 years old, has parents who are Democrats, and has been attending liberal schools too long.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 8:17 p.m.

If greenies want to use solar energy nothing prevents these fools from being separated from their money by them buying solar panels for their house. However, if they wish to separate me from my money for their fool's errand, then there are going to be some problems..


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 8:26 p.m.

Mike, You and yours can eat all the mercury you want. I'm different than you. I love my children.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 7:40 p.m.

My goodness, DTE paid posters must have the day off, of course it is Sunday. I guess DTE doesn't want to pay overtime for its disinformation campaign! Seems a bit cheap considering CEO Gerald Anderson was paid $6 million last year. His bonus is about 2/3 of what he spent to defeat Prop 3. Pretty good return on investment.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 5:10 p.m.

From the DTE web site: Coal & Related Services DTE Energy is among the nation's top three North American coal marketers and transporters. We specialize in efficient management of coal supply and transportation, moving more than 18 million tons of coal throughout the Great Lakes market, in addition to the 21 million tons used by DTE Electric.  About 89 billion pounds per year, including about 40 billion pound delivered to the lungs of Michigan residents. How about Gerald Anderson as xxxx of the year!


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

DTEs paid posters on this board have no answers. Facts: Anderson is paid huge bonuses and doesn't care about those breathing the filth from coal plants. DTE has a monopoly and doesn't care how much customers pay. DTE - on there own website - shows they make hundreds of millions supplying coal to filthy plants including those owned by DTE. Asthma and heart patients are dying from DTEs pollution. Public Service Commission is a shill for DTE and Consumers. (they are political appointments by the governor, and Granholm was as bad as Snyder). Renewables are the future and conservatives are just getting in the way. Base load power using gas eliminates coal and is cheaper. This is why NOT ONE coal plant has been a licensed recently and all new plants are renewable or gas. The travesty is that DTE thinks they can influence public opinion by paying posers to do their dirty work. Anderson, it isn't going to work. Not that you care.


Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 10:29 p.m.

You are just mad because most do not agree with you. You don't care what energy costs because you have an agenda and count on government subsidies to make it work. Youmake unfounded claims regarding deaths; people also die from smoking and other environmental hazards of living on this earth. We could be a very wealthy country again, with high employment and prosperity for all, but liberals keep getting in the way. The high cost of building a power plant due to all of the EPA regulations is why power plants are not getting built, but you wouldn't say that if you understood economics. The travesty is you think you and your liberal/environmental friends who control the media and the schools can jam this down our throats..............not that you care.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 3:48 p.m.

I'm very glad to hear that your coal comes for Wyoming. I now live in Tennessee and we are seriously impacted by mountaintop removal coal mining. Our mountains cannot be rebuilt after they are bombed to flat wasteland. If you are not familiar with this term please Google mountaintop removal images and you'll will understand why this is important to those of us who live here. Coal companies are ripping our mountains apart to get at coal rather than dig tunnels and bring it out on conveyers. We no more want our mountains destroyed than you want your Great Lakes ruined. The bottom line coal is bad for the Earth, land, water, and air and the animals and humans that live here. The sooner we replace it the better. The price of coal and other fossil fuels continue to rise while the price of wind and solar in decreasing. Solar has become cheaper than coal in many areas. Los Angeles now gets most of its electricity from clean sources and just yesterday committed to be coal free by 2025. We are placing value on alternatives to coal, but it is a slow process. We need to do anything we can to accelerate the transition to clean alternatives.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

If only enviromentalist angst can be transformed into energy.

Superior Twp voter

Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 9:20 p.m.

The angst helps them feel better about themselves and their world - "at least I am doing something."


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

If only conservatives realized that they have already a lost the coal battle to reason. Coal is dying and life will be better despite those that want to keep us in the grey fog of the past.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

DTE is far too busy spending our energy dollars on TV / radio commercials, smart meters and light bulb subsidies to actually work on the core of their business. The folks to blame for this is the Public Service Commission. As long as they remain comfortably attached to the teats of the energy providers, don't look for any meaningful change except for rate increases. The math is simple. Low cost coal + reduced consumption + negative investment in infracture + rate increases at will = high profit.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

The solution is nuclear energy.


Mon, Mar 25, 2013 : 9:08 p.m.

I have no problem with that.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 4:54 p.m.

Your back yard would be a perfect place.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

The US needs to start utilizing the fossil fuel that is available here at home. It would provide jobs and reduce our dependent on foreign countries, many who don't even like us. Green energy is just way too expensive--just look at the two companies Pres. Obama provided funding for--both went bankrupt.


Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 10:54 p.m.

Hearing familiar barking: "Battery Maker A123 Hiring 400 Workers In Michigan" (June 8, 2012). That went well.


Mon, Mar 25, 2013 : 8:02 p.m.

And were bought by the Chinese who are now expanding and GROWING them !


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 11:57 a.m.

The answer is to put in place the pollution control measures that those coal plants should have. No buying credits, no exemptions. Or burn natural gas.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 8:44 a.m.

It's very much a panacea to think we can live without coal as a power source within the next 25 years. But in those next 25 years technological leaps and bounds could/can/should be made to not only use other alternative energy sources but to significantly clean coal powered plants. Alternative energy sources should be vigorously pursued: solar, wind, wave, geothermal and nuclear should all be considered. Consider gasoline, even though we are now selling the most fuel efficient fleet of new cars ever the price of gas is still around $4/gal. This is because demand hasn't gone down. We're driving more miles then ever before with more cars on the road then ever. Also supply of gas, in the United States, hasn't increased because global demand is up AND no new refinery (of significant capacity) has come online in more than 35 years in the United States. One of the reasons no one has built a new refinery is because of government regulation forcing them to be cleaner. Oil companies have no incentive to build a new refinery in the USA because of the high global demand and they're currently making record profits by keeping supply limited and ever increasing demand. Basic Economics 101. The government needs to force/strongly encourage existing coal plants (and oil refineries) to be cleaner using multiple layers of air-scrubing equipment before exhaust is emitted into the environment. Alternative energy sources need a boost from investors, whether it be the government or private investors money is needed to get projects moving forward. In some cases competing environmental causes are getting in the way of progress. One would reason that birds would quickly figure out that wind turbines are deadly and adapt a new migratory flight path. Also neighborhood associations (HOA's) should be more open minded regarding regulations of solar panels within their neighborhoods. All in all clean energy production needs to be a comprehensive approach until the best way is determined.


Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 12:32 a.m.

Demand has gone down along with the value of the dollar. Since oil is purchased with dollars and our government is devaluing them by printing more and more you have to pay the Saudi shieks more for each barrel. You want to pay with devalued currency then you pay more........simple economics.

Kai Petainen

Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 5:26 a.m.

"Ann Arbor is an environmental leader in Michigan" In parts of Ann Arbor, there are sections that have 1,4 Dioxane -- a carcinogen, in the groundwater. Yet the public, city hall, the MDEQ, and others say hardly anything about it, or do anything about it. Certain wells show increases in dioxane, other wells that had no-detect now show detection, etc... etc... How then, is Ann Arbor an environmental leader when they have THAT sitting below their very feet, and yet the press, the officials and the public remains quiet? Environmental leader? Perhaps in marketing....


Mon, Mar 25, 2013 : 11:06 a.m.

its scary how few people know about the pall plume...


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 5:24 a.m.

This is one of the more ignorant letters. I'd be super embarrassed if I had written this. There is no solution offered. DON'T USE COAL. I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU SHOULD USE...JUST NOT COAL. Seriously? How about nuclear?

Superior Twp voter

Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 9:17 p.m.

Note the young writer of this piece never mentions the protests recently against proposal "Fermi Three." Yea, nuclear, bad too.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 3:58 a.m.

"The largest problem we face in the state is our delay in the transition to green energy. " You seriously think that? ... and expect anybody to take a word you said serious after that? Sheesh.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 12:55 a.m.

Back to your caves greenies..the candles are waiting ..oh excuse me wax comes from oil ..well no kerosene then ..well lets use solar oops... all the energy and toxic materials used in production..ok wind energy ..oh oh plastics , resins and metals hell with it we'll just warm up and light with good old renewable wood ...damn that smoke is unacceptable...oh well we'll just live like the animals sun up to sundown...just the usual pie in the sky crapolla from the " eco's " busy banging away on their computers powered by electricity gererated by good ould USA COAL..gotta run time to turn on all the lights its " black out hour "...


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 12:21 a.m.

Lawsuit against DTE: "DTE's coal fleet is outdated and out of compliance, and southeast Michigan families deserve better than dirty air in our communities," said Patrick Geans, Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign organizer in Detroit. "According to a Michigan Environmental Council report, Michigan families pay $1.5 billion in health costs associated with burning coal, including asthma attacks, heart disease, and cancer. Every resident in our state has the right to clean air, and DTE's dependence on coal-fired power robs Michigan families of that right." DTE Energy, the largest utility company in Michigan, draws 80 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power plants. Three of the four coal plants cited in the lawsuit are more than 50-years-old, lacking modern pollution controls as required by federal law. According to a report from the Clean Air Task Force, the Belle River, River Rouge, St. Clair and Trenton Channel coal-fired power plants contribute to 267 deaths, 434 heart attacks, and 4,180 asthma attacks each year collectively.[1] According to a 2012 Summer Energy Appraisal by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), DTE consumers were the hardest hit by rising energy costs, with their monthly bills rising from an average of $67.81 to $76.97 – a 13.5 percent increase over last year. The rate increase comes as a result of the increased cost of importing coal from other states.


Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 12:29 a.m.

It may be out of compliance but mostly because the environmentalists have made it so expensive to build a power plant that they just keep patching the old, inefficient ones together to keep them going. We will pay a price for that in the not to dostant future..........


Mon, Mar 25, 2013 : 4:31 p.m.

"contribute to 267 deaths, 434 heart attacks, and 4,180 asthma attacks each year collectively" Note the words "Contribute to" - not cause, but add to the causes of... in other words we don't know how many of these people would have had the same issues if the plants were not there. Auto exhaust can cause many of the same problems, so can poorly maintained heating systems in homes that use Natural Gas. We don't have the science to actually know what source causes what problems when it comes to airborne pollutants. And we probably never will. With the new regulations from the EPA, these plants will either have to shut down or clean up - they have not choice, by 2016 one way or another the non-CO2 issues with these plants will be handled. It takes about $500 million dollars to retro-fit the scrubbers on a plant, so it has to have a minimum size and life expectancy to get scrubbers, so you may get your wish and they may all be shutdown. Then the fuel mix will change in the state and so will the price of electricity. If you think 13.5% is bad, wait until they are gone and we have do deal with a doubling or tripling of the Natural Gas prices - or in the case of wind turbines - a 20x jump in the price of the rare earth materials that are needed to make them work. Do some real reading NoSUVforMe and look at what is prudent for the state. Some people will not be able to afford their own solar or wind generation and those same people will not be able to afford a doubling of the electricity prices. The MPSC tries to be prudent with what they do. Balancing all the issues in the best way possible for everyone in the state, and like it or not, they do a pretty good job of juggling the issues.

Basic Bob

Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 3 p.m.

Ever hear of acid rain? Prevailing winds from all of these plants pollute the air further east, which by the way is Canada.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 3:01 a.m.

You're quoting someone from the Sierra Club as truth ? Of course they are against DTE. Get real


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 12:13 a.m.

Coal is a bad way to generate power but Wind and Solar technologies are far, far more expensive and they do not provide a reliable source of power. These are stubborn facts that can not be wished away. The right way to deal with our energy problems is to make an all out effort to reduce our energy consumptio n. As compared to all the alternative methods of producing more power, energy reduction does not have deleterious environmental impacts.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 11:42 p.m.

Hali, I suggest you do some homework and talk with someone familiar with the practicality of wind and solar power in Michigan on a mass scale. You might want to reference the DOE's NREL (National Renewable Energy Lab) - and check the solar and wind maps to see the folly in replacing fossil fuel sources year round. At best, it can augment fossil fuels but we need a major technological breakthrough for solar to be practical. Wind power is a function of, well, the wind and how high above ground level these towers are positioned. If these two renewables were such a grand bargain, DTE and every other utility would be closing down their power plants.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 5:26 a.m.

DTE is a monopoly because our government allows it. Power is cheap. You like that. You wouldn't want to pay 5x what you pay now. The government regulates all utilities. Do your homework.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 12:17 a.m.

DTE will fight alternatives to coal until the very end. They are a monopoly. They don't care about having the cheapest source of energy. More important, they make hundreds of millions each year on the deregulated side shipping filthy col to power DTE and other power plants. When you are informed, you'll know that DTE is realizing profits by belching poison into the air. Quite frankly, they do so not caring about those children dying from it. Simply Google coal deaths DTE Michigan.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 11:38 p.m.

Anderson stopping coal? Too funny! DTE makes hundreds of millions shipping coal to DTE plants. Hundreds die every year from DTEs coal burning plants - asthma, COPD, mercury poison. Anderson and his family spending his bonus at the best restaurants in Harbor Springs! Another poster said if renewables were cheaper than coal, coal would go away!? Brilliant, but what about DTEs monopoly? There is NO free market for electricity in Michigan. Also, I know that DTE funds posters on this board. Out of unregulated funds and this should be criminal. Consumers end up paying while Anderson and his cronies laugh their way to the bank.

Superior Twp voter

Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 9:15 p.m.

You certainly exhibit animosity towards power generation. Can we assume you live simply, by whale oil lamp, and burning animal dung for heat?


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 3:45 p.m.

I'm willing to bet that you know who shot Kennedy.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 11:26 p.m.

Why are so many of these letters written by armatures and weepy eyed activist types rather than professional electrical engineers? Folks who write these blurbs have no idea of how our massive power grid works. Why, Hali, do you think that your house cannot be "hooked up" to solar panels or windmills as you imagine the entire state should be? Why do you think all power companies rely on coal and nuclear power? Do you think that if Michigan was powered by something else, the planet's weather would change? Do you think American consumers control the planet's weather with the cars we drive or how we heat our homes? The claim that mercury in water, a naturally occurring metal, is "caused by coal pants" is a flat out lie. I'd love to see what independent scientific documentation Hali is referencing! I actually feel sorry for young people who are so willing to throw their money away on such foolishness. You seem unaware that you will already be paying for Granholm's energy train wreck – increasing your energy bills, in addition to your hero obama's socialized health care scheme and massive government debt in his dead economy. You better stop worrying so much about this nonsense and focus a little more on the drop in the standard of living your generation is about to experience when they inherit the bill for obama's eight year spending spree. ...get to love 50 hour weeks, old used cars and mobile home parks.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 11:12 p.m.

Ms. Greene - I would suggest you do some serious research on green energy. May I recommend: Renewable Energy by Bent Sorensen (ISBN 10:0-12-656153-2) the 4th Edition should be out about now. There are a large number of issues that bright students at the UofM might help solve.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 10:36 p.m.

I agree. The university should put some solar panels up on all that Pfizer land they own now and generate green power that way. I think everyone in Ann Arbor would get behind that.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 12:19 a.m.

Anybody have any idea how much electricity those solar panels on the ex-Pfizer land have been generating the past two months. Maybe AnnArbor.Com should do a followup story on these solar panels. I am sure the results would be eye-opening.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 10:29 p.m.

Nah, coal is plentiful, cheap and works just great. Yeah its dirty yet the air quality here is OK. Green power can wait, its going to get better and cheaper later on, why rush into it when coal has work so well for so long ? Coal plants can become cleaner too, why not spend the money upgrading the coal power plants vs some new technology that might ended up costing much more and work far less then forecast ?

Superior Twp voter

Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 9:11 p.m.

We HAVE been spending the money to make coal-burning power generation the CLEANEST they can be. Likely more that can be stated for coal-fired plants in the rest of the developed world. But it will never be enough for people like NO SUV for me.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 11:45 p.m.

It's called global warming and educated, intelligent people know this. We could be leading the way to the new energy future but conservatives prefer to believe in a 3000 year old book written be goat herders to actual scientific facts. Earth is ours to preserve or destroy and conservatives just don't get it.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 10:17 p.m.

If green energy was a more cost effective source of providing power, it would have already taken over coal as our primary fuel for our homes. Don't over think it...coal is less expensive.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

NoSUVforme - green energy has been around for decades and it has never been a more economical than coal. If green energy had been more financial viable then coal, it would be more prevalent in our lives today. It just isn't....don't over think it.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 11:41 p.m.

Garbage. Monopolies don't respect a free market. Coal is being phased out just Conservatives don't know it.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 10:07 p.m.

The writer is correct that coal is the most polluting source of electrical generation and that it should be reduced. The claim that wind and solar are cheaper ("rates will go down") is grossly incorrect wishful thinking, however. For the present, they are several times more expensive and require major government subsidies, which is why they are only a couple of percent of the energy supply. Some time in the future, as their technology matures, this will hopefully no longer be true, but this will not be soon. They are not an overnight solution. Power plants are extremely expensive to build; it takes a decade and they are then expected to run much longer to recoup the costs. Because of the huge capital costs, utilities are slow to put up more. Currently, the most popular alternative to coal is natural gas, which has become cheaper than coal because of recent technological breakthroughs. It is a fossil fuel and has carbon emissions only moderately lower than coal but is much less polluting otherwise. The other competitive source is nuclear power, which has no carbon emissions. If you want significant improvement in the near future, those are the real alternatives, and crusading against them will only prolong the reign of coal. The utilities are not going to make huge investments into power plants based on immature technologies like wind of solar, plants that would become obsolete before their time. Technological progress is hard and takes a long effort by specialists. Activism is no substitute.

Tom Joad

Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 10:07 p.m.

Marathon's refinery in Detroit is producing mountains of petroleum coke (pet coke) as a byproduct of the refining of Albertan Tar Sands Oil. Pet coke is used in lieu of coal as it is much cheaper to burn in power plants but it also produces 10 times the amount of CO2 as well as many heavy metal and sulfur pollution. You can google "pet coke Detroit" to see photos. The runoff from these massive piles may be polluting the Detroit River which is a heritage sight. Much of this pet coke is shipped to China who consumes 4 times as much coal as the USA fouling their air and contributing to global climate change. I concur that we need to reduce our coal consumption in Michigan but it cannot escape anyone's notice that growing massive amounts of medical marijuana indoors under lights that use a stupendous amount of electricity places more demand on our power grid, requiring more coal being burnt. Growing pot is anything but green when it comes to its carbon footprint. Increasing the use of alternative sources is not without great economic costs, and thus coal will continue to be burned. Natural gas is also highly problematic as ALL surplus gas produced in Canada is being used directly in the tar sands project to cook tar into oil.

Superior Twp voter

Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 9:09 p.m.

Tom Todd the Democrats do not truly care about pollution, either, they simply use it (and the "threat" of it) as a means to control low information subjects.

Tom Todd

Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

The GOP doesn't care about pollution


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 10 p.m.

As Kensington alum points out, renewable energy by itself is unlikely to replace the power currently generated by burning coal. The missing piece of the puzzle is clearly nuclear power, produced in the latest inherently safe reactors. Sited properly, nuclear reactors are minimally intrusive environmentally. They produce no greenhouse gases. For many years, France has produced more than 60% of its electricity with nuclear energy Their extensive high speed rail system use this clean energy for comfortable and rapid transportation throughout the country. It works! The tools are available. Let's do the job.

Kensington alum

Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 9:49 p.m.

Which renewable energy resource provides a reliably constant source of energy? don't say solar, not in Michigan. My point is you won't be able to run the grid entirely, or perhaps even significantly, off renewable energy, you need plants that provide a consistent, constant stream of power. If Michigan were try to live off renewable energy even, say 50%, how would that work? (no cheating here by getting power from other states - that's just outsourcing your pollution concerns). 25%? even 10%? Im actually asking more than debating. I just don't see renewables as a way to run a major part of the grid.


Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 12:23 a.m.

All you have to do is subsidize it, pay your fair share, just a little more. Save the planet, ruin the economy. Fix the economy then you can afford to save the planet...............The planet is not as dirty as many would try to claim. Back in the fifties and sixties it was much worse. Change takes time and money. We have time, but not money................

Ricardo Queso

Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 4:36 a.m.

"There is ideas" Paul?

Usual Suspect

Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 12:43 a.m.

And you want to rely on the government - the people who run the DMV and IRS - to make sure that beam is always focused at the collector, and not on your house, and not on your head?

Steven Taylor

Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 12:03 a.m.

Paul, while novel, you seem to forget we've got a gutted space program.. so launching a giant mirror solar collection satellite isn't going to happen.. Certainly not in the near term, doubtful in the long term. And while I applaud an effort to go to cleaner sources of energy. All I can think of, perhaps comically or (because maybe I watch to much sci-fi or James Bond) that what happens if this laser beam solar satellite doohickey goes wonky, are we gonna get an unintentional death ray over Lompoc, Kansas or what. Claiming it would work 24 hours is one thing. I think the best solution is to teach people to use LESS energy in general, cut down energy consumption on a whole because like Kensington Alum states, current renewables can only provide for a fraction or current needs and are both unreliable and prohibitively expensive and NOT proven to be either fiscally or environmentally responsible.


Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 10:41 p.m.

Solar just might end up being the power source of the future. There is ideas of having satellites with mirrors orbiting the earth and beaming down laser beams of light that could be turn in to power. This is far into the future yet look how far we have come in the past 150 years. Who knows what the year 2163 will bring ? They also claim it could work 24 hours a day. The satellites could beam the light across to other satellites and then down to earth. This way solar power could work all day and all night long. If it does work as plan, wind power might go the way of the sailboats.

G. Orwell

Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 9:40 p.m.

Let's not forget the disasters of Solyndra (outright theft of tax payer money), and A123 Systems. The renewable energy systems are not ready and do not allow the government to pick and choose winners and losers. Crony capitalism should not be allowed.


Mon, Mar 25, 2013 : 11:04 p.m.

Ricardo, as my comment was deleted, I will again pass on my condolences on your A123 loss. As another commenter still somehow mistakenly beleives what a bargain A123 could have been, I'll direct that commenter to the story: "Battery Maker A123 Hiring 400 Workers in Michigan" (June 8, 2012). Sadly, if you'd caught that story and the ensuing comment exchange, serious red flags on the viability of that company were raised -it was one of two last chances to dump that stock.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 5:49 p.m.

Todd hundreds of thousands of Americans depend on a check from a corporation like Halliburton. If you aren't happy with Halliburton making money than you should strive to make a corporation that can give these people income to replace the check from Halliburton. Btw, corporations invent and make our weapons systems and pretty much everything in the US. No matter what segment of the country you are talking about some corporation will make money. Who do you think makes the equipment for alternative energy??

Tom Todd

Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 12:35 p.m.

how much did Halliburton make from two Bush wars.

Ricardo Queso

Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 4:34 a.m.

Sparty, as a shareholder who lost 100% of investment in A123 I can personally tell you this was a lousy investment by BHO. If anything, you as a taxpayer, handed a gift to a regime that is contrary to the United States.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 4:24 a.m.

Wasn't A123 bought by China's largest automotive company? Presumably they feel renewable energy is ready, and necessary, and their Government is actively supporting winners across crucial industries. it's our loss.

G. Orwell

Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 9:10 p.m.

" By transitioning from coal to renewable sources like wind and solar energy, rates will go down, pollution to the great lakes will decrease, and green energy jobs will be created." Like most people in the US, I support renewable energies. Unfortunately, they are extremely expensive. That is why the vast majority of the world still rely on fossil fuels. Thus, your comment that "rates will go down" is not true. If that were the case DTE would be using wind and sun. By the way, there are over 14,000 wind turbines that have been abandoned because it is very expensive to maintain them. They are rusting away in vast wind farms. Not to mention negative effects of wind on local ecosystems. Particularly birds. Furthermore, China is building several coal fire plants a month. If we abandon coal, it will further damage our manufacturing competitiveness. Leading to more job loses. It is not as easy as you believe. Go to China and force them to use wind and sun before demanding Michigan to do the same.


Sun, Mar 24, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

George says "Like most people in the US, I support renewable energies. " Quite amateurish way to open this thread. Whenever a post opens with "I support renewable energy" you should roll up your pant legs. Nothing but disinformation here. Everything from rusting turbines (disproved over and over again) and dying birds (Hmm... why does the Audubon Society support wind energy?). This is a cut-and-paste job for sure. Folks, DTE has billions invested in dirty coal and there is nothing they won't do to keep running their filthy coal plants. Nothing. Not one thing they won't do.