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Posted on Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

Michigan needs to increase use of renewable energy

By Letters to the Editor

Michigan needs a long-term energy plan that creates jobs for Michigan workers and sparks new businesses right here in Michigan. It’s my hope Gov. Rick Snyder’s energy forums across the state result in this long-term plan.

Increasing Michigan’s use of renewable energy, like wind and solar, and energy efficiency will get our economy back up and running. It also will reduce dangerous pollution in our air and water. Our Great Lakes benefit from this too.

I also support using more renewable energy and energy efficiency because it helps rein in rising energy costs. Neighboring Midwest states like Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois have stronger energy efficiency and renewable energy policies than Michigan and they’re reaping the benefits.

It’s time for Michigan to do the same so we can get those much-needed jobs here.

Larry Godbold




Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:05 a.m.

For those who want to put their money where there mouth is. Starts at $2.50 a month. GreenCurrentsSM is Michigan's voluntary renewable energy program. By enrolling, you are supporting the generation of electricity from Michigan-based, renewable energy sources. Eighty-seven percent of the renewable energy we provide comes from biomass sources like cow power (biogas) and landfill gas and 13% comes from wind turbines. Apparently DTE is not fond of wind energy.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

If the fedral government was not giving large substities to green energy, or proping it up by with mandated minimum useage. I think DTE will allow individuals to pay extra to get green energy, so if you believe we need more green energy, pay th extra $.06 a KWH and buy green energy. It will cost you an extra $60 month on your DTE bill and you can be happy that you are making a difference.

Roger Kuhlman

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 10 p.m.

Solar and Wind Turbine Energy has major flaws and today can not possibly provide significant amounts of energy. The best ways to deal with our energy problems are to look for ways to reduce energy consumption and stop human population growth. If you want to learn about some of the major problems with alternative energy technologies you should read "Green Illusions."

Superior Twp voter

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 5:35 p.m.

Larry says: "Michigan needs a long-term energy plan that creates jobs for Michigan workers and sparks new businesses right here in Michigan." And that is his only statement I agree with. The answer to that statement is drill, baby, drill. Plenty of natural gas to go around, and vast reserves of available oil. Let's use it. The greenies/eco-libs won't approve of more nuclear power....and that is a real shame.


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

Speaking of reliable, low cost energy, why does Michigan insist on not opening further its caps on electricity supply deregulation? Look at the neighboring states -- Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois -- that have deregulated -- their prices are much lower. Why is Michigan hesitant -- I will leave that to the reader to decide, but the answer should be obvious. You do not need the power to be generated in Michigan to be competitive. In the deregulated states, the power supplied to the grid can come from anywhere -- after all it goes into the grid. So instead of being beholden to 1 or 2 power companies, you now have companies all across the USA bidding for business. And guess what, it would tend to favor those who are more efficient and can compete. When you limit access to a couple of local state entities, you get inefficiency and high costs which get passed on to the consumer, be it residential or commercial. Several power companies outside of Michigan have made good inroads into Michigan's commercial sector while Michigan's deregulation caps were not filled. The caps were hit and dereg was put on hold. Want to attract new business with consistent, reliable, low cost energy -- let them access it from wherever they get the best deal -- again, it all goes into the grid no matter where it is produced. That we need to protect local production and waste taxpayers' money is crazy. Let's re-think this one.


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

I am glad that "energy efficiency" was finally mentioned somewhere. People talk about waste in government and get all up in arms. Our energy efficiency is "dark ages" because we always seem to focus on producing more, whether renewable or not, to support the grid during its peak times. I have seen various studies that suggest we waste up 40% of all the energy we generate -- doesn't it seem logical that we attack that first instead of generating more to cover the waste and the energy inefficiency? Why is no one up in arms about this waste? Look at all the heat your lights, your computer, your TV, any motors you have, etc. are throwing off -- that heat is wasted, inefficient energy use. And with it we also put stress on all those things generating the heat to fail sooner. If we could cut our inefficiency by 50% and gain another 20% or so of usable capacity, think of all the pollution we avoid -- after all, energy not used is energy not produced and is pollution not emitted. I have seen other studies that say renewable energies are carbon neutral at best. Is that really where we want to put our tax payer money? Green is admirable, but let's make sure it is indeed "green." Energy efficiency has to start being looked at as part of the overall solution -- production capacity that only hides waste has to stop. If indeed 40% (or more) of our energy is simply wasted, how can anyone in good conscience live with that, and then propose adding more production to further hide our waste?

Vince Caruso

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

I agree. Can you imagine the businesses who will stay and want to come to Michigan if we had low cost, known cost, very reliable, decentralized and non-polluting power source. It would be a job maker and environment saver. Once again it is clear environmentalism and economy go hand in hand. Not to mention the very negative health effects of coal and nuclear conventional power. Michigan has huge wind power resource being wasted because of a few rich people on the lake shore who are blocking it. Not much different from the east cost wind farms problems. We need state law to catch up with reality.

Roger Kuhlman

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 10:06 p.m.

All energy producing sources and technologies are polluting and have negative environmental impacts. If we are environmentalists, we can not ignore or be naive about this important environmental truth.

Tyrone Shoelaces

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

"Increasing Michigan's use of renewable energy, like wind and solar, and energy efficiency will get our economy back up and running." Exactly how does that work?

Superior Twp voter

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 7:03 p.m.

It won't.


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

Windmill loving do-gooders..... Perhaps you need to look at the bigger picture... Unless you want these in your backyard!


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 11:38 a.m.

What a total farce. Jimmy Carter predicted in the 70's that we would be out of oil in 25 years. Today there are more proven reserves than in his day. And then there is this thing called natural gas. And, by the way, back in the Carter days, scientists were predicting global cooling, which is now starting to come up again. Now, how is that E85 working for you? The government mandates that a certain percentage of alcohol must be in every gallon of gas and subsidize producers to do it. What are the unintended consequences? Higher food prices which hurt the poor among us. Fortunately, voters in this state had at least enough wisdom to shut down a certain proposal the last election that would have increased the mandate on electric suppliers to purchase much more energy from so called renewable sources. When will you environmental crazy goof balls wise up ? Sadly, I expect never.

Superior Twp voter

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 5:29 p.m.

Well stated, Sir.


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 9:32 a.m.

Based on data and reports, neither solar or wind seem to be cost effective in this part of the country. So, we should spend more money in these technologies regardless of the data and studies to date? Sounds like another program coming from our local AA government leaders - or from our group in power in DC, who have a miserable track record of picking winners for our hard earned tax dollars. Go figure!

Superior Twp voter

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.


Kai Petainen

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 5:05 a.m.

The Toronto Star had an interesting article on wind power... "Surplus wind power could cost Ontario ratepayers up to $200 million: IESO" "Solar power generally flows into the system when it's most needed, when demand for power is high. But wind often blows at the wrong time — overnight when demand, or "load" on the system is low — and dies when demand is high. " "When there's more power than the system can handle, the IESO sells it to neighbouring provinces and states — sometimes at a loss, and sometimes actually paying them to take it. Those losses are absorbed by ratepayers, and added to the electricity bill as the "global adjustment," which now often exceeds the price of energy by a wide margin."

Roger Kuhlman

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 10:08 p.m.

Ouch. Another inconvenient truth.


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 3:16 a.m.

Also a shocker for people talking about dwindling resource (fossil fuels). Heard of North Dakota, it happens to be in the USA, for those who went to AAPS. They are finding more and more fossil fuels every day, more in the US than the Middle East. Sorry to burst your oil embargo bubble.

Roger Kuhlman

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 10:12 p.m.

Tar sands oil and coal have very detrimental impacts on the environment, so they are not good energy sources.


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 3:47 a.m.

I imagine there's an incredible amounts of asbestos left unmined as well. If we could find some to dig up in the US, it would be just plain unpatriotic not to use it in every capacity we could imagine. Tip: just because a resource is currently available does not in and of itself make it the wisest route to choose. Progress happens, other sources are looked in to, and with some investment they can sometimes be developed in to more economical, reliable (long term), and downright sensible to transfer to. It does no one any good to hate something so much simply because other people you hate happen to like it.

Tom Joad

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 3:38 a.m.

this is patently false. North Dakota at best contains 10 billion barrels and that is being charitable. The USA consumes 1 billion barrels every 50 days so it won't take long to burn through that reserve, will it? The Albertan TAR SANDS--let's call it what they are---there is no liquid oil in sand...USES ALL SURPLUS natural gas that Canada doesn't use domestically or ship to the USA (and we are the largest importer of Canadian natural gas). All that natural gas is used to cook the tar into something that resembles oil...they use some of the hydrogen atoms to latch on to the carbon atom, and also use a stupendous amount of fresh water, water which must be sequestered in gigantic holding ponds, toxic and messy. NO way is the USA the new Saudi's all smoke and mirrors. When you investigate the reserves, the USA only has 29 billion barrels of proven reserves....Saudi Arabia 10 times that amount (if you believe OPEC---see Wikileaks for the truth).


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 3:12 a.m.

You people supporting these wind farms are simply uninformed green activists. Let's look at Illinois huge wind farms. The companies making a profit are foreign! The companies putting up the wind farms are from Europe (Iberdrola), the turbines are from Europe. This is fact, go look it up. My Uncle in Illinois was solicited by a foreign company with foreign turbines, which he turned down. So much for American jobs. Money is also going to Obama's friends. When WE invest in wind energy and Warren Buffett now owns that wind company, money goes directly from your pocket into his. Look that up too. So much for you Dems hating the ultra rich, you are making them richer. I still don't see investing my money into wind farms in the Constitution.


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

Silly Sally;Just as the average price for gas is set to hit $4 a gallon this week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports February was the third month out of four that the U.S. -- the world's most energy-hungry nation -- actually exported more oil that it imported. Despite the notion that the U.S. is currently hugely reliant on foreign oil, the country sold 34,000 more barrels of petroleum products a day than it imported in November 2010. And, in both December and February, the U.S. sold 54,000 more barrels a day. Net imports have not been negative for nearly two decades. And when the keystone project gets completed where do you think that oil goes to? Silly Sally.

Silly Sally

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 12:55 p.m.

@Westfringe - The majority of the oil the we drill for is not shipped overseas, It is consumed in America, as we are a net importer of crude oil. If we were a net exporter, as Canada is, this would be a very good thing for our economy and our balance of trade and our dollar. We sometimes ship oil from Alaska to Japan and import an equal amount from Mexico, as it saves America and japan shipping costs. is that bad: No. It benefits both nations. Soon, we may export natural gas, and we are exporting refined petroleum products after importing the raw crude. This provides jobs here. This is good Oh, so silly, the misinformation that some spew...


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 5:11 a.m.

OverTaxed, -How about the large oil companies (some of the most profitable companies ever) that get millions of our tax-dollars in subsidies? -What about the fact that 57% of oil sold in the us is from another country? -How do you feel about filling up from foreign company (shell, total, BP)? -Why is the majority of the oil we drill for in the US being shipped overseas? Stop the politics, it's time to wake up. The future favors those who look ahead, not behind. There is absolutely no reason not to push ahead with renewable power generation!


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 3:35 a.m.

So the money's all going overseas, and it's going in to Warren Buffet's pockets. I see... Michigan companies like Dow, Astraeus, Danotek, Heritage, and Flexsys must just be laundering fronts for Buffet and the Europeans I guess. So who's friends are getting the money that goes to oil, gas, and coal. Are they nicer people who do more to reinvest in our economy? It's fine if you want to hate the corporations and the rich, but please just try and hate them all equally. I can't quite get the logic of hating the newer technology companies more than the old, other than holding on to an archaic stigma of 'liberal' association with a stubborn clenched fist.

Tom Joad

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 2:12 a.m.

Renewable energy is not exactly carbon free. It requires a great expenditure in funds (carbon fuel paid for that economic prosperity), materials, labor and maintenance. Windfarms located in Mass. may be sickening those living close to them as they produce a constant hum of energy that is dissipated into the area. Windmills also kill birds, lots of them. America is woefully unprepared for the transition to a post-carbon world. Think about how much energy you use each day, much of it just to get to work to supply your economic prosperity. Is it prudent for an employee to drive a single vehicle 40 miles roundtrip to get to his/her mall job just to make $9 an hour. This profligate use of precious petroleum resources will be our downfall. We need all the carbon-based fuels to grow and transport food to feed a planet with 7 billion + 50 million net increase every year. Those who don't understand exponential growth have no clue how quickly our remaining reserves will be used. We burned half of our oil reserves over the past 150 years (approx 1 trillion barrels) we will burn the remaining 1 trillion barrels in the next 20 years. [ can prove it mathematically: we consume 33 billion barrels a year so in 20 years that's 660 billion barrels but demand rises every year worldwide, so there is your trillion barrels in 20 years. ARE YOU READY FOR THAT?


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 1:59 a.m.

I realize a strong dose of reality probably wont be welcomed here, but I gotta try. How about reading the two linked articles (from this week) and drawing your own conclusions from them? Colorado orders Abound Solar to clean up hazardous waste at four sites - The Denver Post and Study suggests real-world generating capacity of wind farms at large scales has been overestimated Things are not always quite as ducky as they seem.


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 11:19 a.m.

Thanks for at least trying to hit the nail on the in Oz they believe all that pie in the sky BS spewed by people who's only interest is in " green " technology is $$$$ unless its done in the unfunded private sector its just a ponzi scheme to rip off the taxpayers IE: Solindra, a123 batteries ...the list just keeps growing ...


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 12:53 a.m.

Larry, you're going about it all wrong. You can't sell this on issues like 'renewable', 'helps provide jobs', or 'good for the environment' - that all sounds too 'green' and wishy-washy liberal to effectively sell. I saw an inspiring ad on this very news site today though from They effectively sell the same old solar/wind ideas that have been so long tied to liberals, but market it with wild birther-level-conspiracy-theories, fear, mistrust, and utter contempt for Barak Obama. Seriously, their whole advertising spiel makes Glen Beck look like a flower child, and boy do people ever buy it up! A bit surprising to see them advertising here, but hey, they must be making sales. Good idea, but it's all how you present it. Sell it on fear, mistrust, and hatred of the 'establishment', and you can really expand your receptive audience.

Dog Guy

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 12:42 a.m.

This is a call to tax and spend our way to prosperity, which has never worked except in the fools' paradise of Everybody Knows. The author possibly is ignorant that Earth continues to generate petroleum and natural gas, making them renewable energy sources. Only in Everybody Knows are petroleum and natural gas fossil fuels produced from old bovine excreta.


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 12:05 a.m.

I also agree. Reducing dependency on a dwindling resource (fossil fuels) is both a matter of security and a matter of economy. The use of these technologies will reduce our reliance on fuel sources, the cost of which can be manipulated on a daily basis and the supply of which can be used to extort our nation. There is no single panacea, but this should be part of an overall program and plan to introduce alternate technologies including air, water flow and solar. This is the 21st century, not the 19th. Time to innovate and implement.

Linda Peck

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 11:51 p.m.

Larry, I so agree with you. Let's get this going in Michigan. Why not, what's the holdup?


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 11:35 p.m.

"Increasing Michigan's use of renewable energy, like wind and solar, and energy efficiency will get our economy back up and running." How? Just stating something does not make it so. On the other hand, given the impending shortage of water worldwide, we should be doing more to protecting the Great Lakes. This includes, I believe, in not burning so much coal which dumps mercury and other heavy metals on us and into the lakes.


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 12:18 a.m.

...and you are worried about "mercury" dumped in our Great Lakes. Then why must we be forced to use light bulbs filled with Mercury in our homes??

Scott Reed

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 10:55 p.m.

I agree. Although, I think the point is well made even without appealing to "green jobs". We need cleaner, cheaper, more resilient energy sources, period. Distributed solar energy generation will also make our grid more robust; it will mean fewer single points of catastrophic failure. So, it's not just a matter of green jobs, but also environmental protection, efficiency and security.