Pages tagged "Carbon Neutrality"
DTE's energy plan key to climate action in Michigan
On Thursday, one of Michigan's largest utility companies submitted its long-range energy roadmap for consideration.
DTE Energy's integrated resource plan is now before the Michigan Public Service Commission, which regulates investor-owned utilities in the state. The filing comes as studies show the company has some of the highest electricity costs and poorest reliability.Read more
Consumers Energy settlement a milestone in climate action
A settlement agreement filed by a major Michigan utility company will be a critical step in combating the climate crisis, reducing coal plant pollution in air and water, and supporting green jobs.Read more
Judge's recommendations could mean Michigan misses climate goal
As the state prepares to release its plan to make Michigan carbon neutral by 2050, a judicial recommendation, if taken up, would get us just shy of a crucial step being reached.
Administrative Law Judge Sally Wallace recommended Consumers Energy close two of the three units of its JH Campbell coal plant in Ottawa County by 2025. She also recommended the Campbell Unit 3 undergo further study and modeling to determine when it should close.Read more
Energy efficiency, electrification rooted in state building code recommendations
The Michigan Environmental Council and 30 organizations and municipalities outlined the ways Michigan buildings codes could save residents and businesses money and fight climate change in a letter of recommendations sent to the state.
In a letter to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the coalition urged the inclusion of robust energy efficiency and electrification provisions in the update of Michigan's energy conservation code, which governs the process of constructing homes and businesses across the state.Read more
How time-of-use electric rates protect low-income residents
At the start of the summer Consumers Energy rolled out new summer peak rates for all residential customers, one which the Michigan Environmental Council and others have long advocated for as they intervened in utility companies' rate and energy decisions. MEC wrote about those rates and why they are good for the environment and our wallets.
These rates, called time-of-use rates, price energy usage a little higher when electricity consumption is at a peak and a little lower when it's not. Doing so reduces peak energy use, keeps dirty, old fossil fuel plants offline, and saves customers money.
Since then, MEC has gotten a new analysis from Douglas Jester at 5 Lakes Energy that shows the rates are a critical step towards ensuring energy is more affordable for low-income customers. (See pages 45 to 60 here.)Read more
Consumers Energy commits to close all coal plants by 2025
On Thursday, Consumers Energy made its boldest commitment to date: it will retire its remaining five coal plants by 2025, 15 years ahead of schedule.
Consumers and environmental groups said the move would immediately decrease local air pollution, improve lung and heart health, and be a small but important step toward reducing global climate change.Read more
Coal ash's impacts on water and health, revealed
As utility companies work to make their plans for carbon neutrality reality, they’ll need to clean up their acts on coal ash to truly protect Michiganders from fossil fuels’ threats to public health and the environment.
A new report by the Michigan Environmental Council reveals that, despite what some utility companies say, the 1.45 million tons of coal ash – the toxic byproduct of coal – produced each year in the Great Lake state is not always safely stored.
The report’s co-writers – MEC energy program director Charlotte Jameson and MEC energy policy specialist Abby Wallace – found that 12 the 15 coal ash sites with publicly available monitoring data had contaminated groundwater with toxic chemicals far above state and federal standards.
That puts the Great Lakes, rivers, groundwater and people living near coal plants at risk from toxic chemicals in coal ash, like lead, arsenic and mercury.
The report also found that the majority of the acres-long and meters-deep coal ash storage “ponds” are unlined, and one in Grand Haven flooded recently due to high water levels.
“MEC’s research shows the trend in groundwater contamination from coal ash has not substantially improved and that unlined coal ash ponds, even where a substantial clay underlayer exists, have been leaching toxic chemicals into our water for decades,” said Jameson. “We cannot fully protect our water and our health in Michigan if we remain dependent on coal-powered energy. We must swiftly close their plants; properly remediate their pollution; and transition to clean, renewable energy sources.”
“Holland. Marquette. River Rouge. Essexville. These are cities where utilities’ coal ash sites have contaminated groundwater with arsenic and lead significantly above health and environmental protection standards,” Wallace said. “Utilities must close coal ash ponds and remediate nearby groundwater to protect and give justice to the vulnerable communities around them.”
A 2021 Harvard University study noted one in five people worldwide may die from fossil fuel pollution, said Casey Patnode, a doctoral and public health student at the University of Michigan and founding member of Medical Students for a Sustainable Future.
“I’ve seen many patients come into the ER in respiratory arrest,” Patnode said. “I wonder how many of them would not have had to experience these situations if it wasn’t for the pollutants in their environment. Coal and coal ash must go completely for people to be truly safe from fossil fuels' debilitating effects, from developmental delays to cancer. We, at a population level, are on the precipice of being in this type of arrest and we need urgent action to prevent this."
MEC’s 2021 coal ash report was peer-reviewed by Earthjustice. It is an extension of a 2018 coal ash report.
Lifting cap on small-scale solar creates jobs, saves residents money
Environmental groups endorsed a bill last Wednesday that would eliminate the cap on how many residents and businesses can use small-scale solar energy to power their homes and companies, saying current law restricts job growth and investment and access to affordable energy.
The Michigan League of Conservation Voters and Michigan Environmental Council testified in support of Rep. Markkenen's House Bill 4236 during the House Energy Committee Wednesday. The Republican from Hancock has the bipartisan support of 12 cosponsors.
MEC staff, allies appointed to Michigan Climate Solutions Council
Michigan’s people, places and economy are en route to being healthier and more resilient thanks in part to the Wednesday appointments of environmental champions to the state’s new Council on Climate Solutions.
The citizen-led group will formulate Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Healthy Climate Plan and ensure it is justly implemented. The Plan will help Michigan fight off the worst of climate change by guiding it toward carbon neutrality by 2050.
Among the Council’s appointees was Charlotte Jameson, program director for legislative affairs, drinking water and energy for the Michigan Environmental Council. She will serve as the Council’s co-chair of the buildings and housing workgroup.Read more
Biden’s climate commitments great news for Michigan
President Joe Biden took strong, proactive steps Tuesday to protect the health of people, communities, nature and food systems by fighting climate change. The efforts, coupled with Michigan's own, will make state residents' lives better while laying the groundwork for bigger, bold change, said Michigan Environmental Council leadership.
“President Joe Biden’s commitments to combat climate change are science-driven, critical and rightfully place environmental justice at their center to protect communities,” said Charlotte Jameson, director of legislative affairs, drinking water and clean energy for MEC.Read more