Tag Archives | Alternative Energy

Michigan State University to end burning coal for energy

If you’ve ever spent time at Michigan State University, it’s hard to miss the twin smokestacks of the T.B. Simon Power Plant on the south side of campus. And it’s also hard to miss the gigantic piles of coal next to the plant or the hundreds of coal-carrying train cars that feed the maw of the behemoth.

Starting in 2016, those coal piles will be gone. Michigan State University announced today that they are ending their use of coal for energy and transitioning to cleaner-burning natural gas:

In a move that will reduce emissions at its T.B. Simon Power Plant as well as significantly advance its Energy Transition Plan, Michigan State University is taking steps to stop burning coal by the end of 2016, with a majority of coal purchasing and burning ending in 2015.…
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GUEST POST: An update on the Veterans Green Village project in Detroit

Last October, I wrote about an exciting new project in Detroit called the Veterans Green Village to bring green energy projects to the city and put military veterans to work. I have stayed in contact with Gordon Soderberg (pictured right) who heads up the project. His group has teamed up with the Motor City Blight Busters of Detroit to create the Veterans Village. I asked Gordon to give us an update of this exciting project.

You can keep up with the Veterans Village project on their Facebook Page HERE. The Motor City Blight Busters’ Facebook page is HERE.

Here’s Gordon’s update.…

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EVENT/INTERVIEW: Veterans Green Bus is in Detroit to teach vets sustainable energy skills and so, SO much more

“What I learned from my military experience is that…there’s no way this is sustainable and there’s gonna be one day when we go back and die for this stuff.”

I meet a lot of really terrific people in my travels but Gordon Soderberg is one of he most selfless, compassionate men I’ve met in a very long time. He has devoted his entire life to serving others; first through his military service and then, since then, in working in disaster response and in recruiting and training veterans in this field.

From working with Cindy Sheehan’s anti-war protest to being on the front lines after hurricanes like Katrina and Sandy hit, the common element for Soderberg was a large, retro-fitted bus, painted Army green.…

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Federal study of energy & water issues is 8 years late – please sign the petition to move it forward NOW!

Ensuring our energy policy doesn't compromise our water supply

In 2005, President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (pdf) into law. This comprehensive law does everything from providing new subsidies and incentives for renewable energy production (like wind, solar, biomass, wave & tidal, and geothermal) and tax breaks for energy conservation improvements on homes to providing incentives for increased drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and exempting oil and gas producers from certain requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act. It even extended Daylight Savings Time by a week. There's a fine summary of this 551 page bill HERE. One of the components of the Energy Policy Act was Section 979 which compelled Energy Secretary to study the interaction and interplay of water-related issues and energy-related issues. The intent was to ensure that we fully understand how our country's energy policy impacts our water resources. The study is eight years late and there's a petition to sign to move it forward. Details are after the jump.
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US Government makes major investment in biofuels

The Obama administration is announcing this week that they are making an historic investment in biofuels by purchasing 450,000 gallons of drop-in biofuel made from waste cooking oil and from an algae-based system. The fuel is called “drop in” because it can be blended with the traditional fuels used now with no need for equipment modifications.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack Announce Largest Ever Government Purchase of Biofuel
Biofuel Purchase Advances President Obama’s Energy Security Goals

WASHINGTON, December 5, 2011 — Today, U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) signed a contract to purchase 450,000 gallons of advanced drop-in biofuel, the single largest purchase of biofuel in government history.

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Wolvernine Power’s coal-fired power plant permit issued today

I have been following the plans by Wolverine Power to build a new coal-fired power plant in Rogers City, Michigan pretty closely. In May of last year, I blogged about the denial of their permit by the Granholm administration. Then, in April this year, I wrote about how the zombie power plant had risen from the dead.

Today, the zombie became fully alive. Here’s the email that just hit my inbox:

Dear Interested Party,

On June 29, 2011, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) approved the Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc. Permit to Install application for the installation of two 300-megawatt circulating fluidized bed solid fuel-fired boilers and associated equipment in Rogers City, Michigan.

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Permit for new coal-burning plant in Michigan: DENIED!!!

In a sea of bad, very bad and even worse news on the ecological/energy front, score one for the good guys. Last Friday, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (MDNRE) denied a permit for the Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc. to build a new coal-fired power plant in Rogers City, Michigan.

While the permit was NOT issued, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) issued a bit of a smack-down to Wolverine Power instead.

This permit denial has been a long time coming. The initial request was submitted in September 2007. Since then, groups like the Sierra Club and Clean Water Action of been on the forefront of pushing to deny the permit (along with several others.)

The permit request (No.…

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The greenwashing of coal by exploiting Dr. Seuss

I saw this over at Daily Kos this morning in a piece by Adam Siegel (cross-posted from his most-excellent blog Get Energy Smart! NOW!) and it’s enough to make you spit:

LoraxAg lines up $4.5M for clean coal gas plant.

[LoraxAg] is rounding up $4.5 million in its first institutional funding, with plans to use coal gasification technology to make farm fertilizer from almost worthless coal while creating no pollution.

Let’s just assume for a minute that LoraxAg’s process for converting coal into fertilizer actually “creates no pollution”. That’s not the only issue. Have you ever seen how coal is mined?…

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Amer. Chem. Soc. editor supports carbon tax, not cap & trade

This is actually a pretty big development in the discussion of Cap & Trade vs. Carbon Tax to rein in our country’s emissions of greenhouse gases.

In a January 11, 2010 editorial in the American Chemical Society’s weekly magazine, Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), Editor Rudy Baum has this to say:

H.R. 2454, the 1,200-page climate-change and energy legislation passed by the House of Representatives in June 2009 that establishes a CO2 cap-and-trade system, should be put out of its misery in favor of a simple carbon tax. Cap-and-trade is a sop to the coal, petroleum, and other energy-intensive industries; it does nothing but muddle the very simple need to put a price on carbon on which industry can base its capital-spending decisions.
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Floating windmills the key to offshore wind energy?

There seem to be two types of people in the world — those who think this looks totally cool:

…and those who do not.

Because wind energy sources are, in many cases, found on shorelines (oceans, seas, the Great Lakes, e.g.), finding ways to move the wind turbines out over the horizon has many attractive advantages: visual impact, noise, bird deaths are all reduced. The problem is that the water there is so deep, anchoring them to the lake, sea or ocean floor is not feasible.

Enter the floating wind turbine. Seriously.

There are three basic types as shown in this diagram:

You have those that are ballast stabilized, mooring stabilized and buoyuancy stabilized.…

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