Pages tagged "Energy Utilities"
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
Let the sunshine in, say lawmaker, industry & advocates
Whether from advocates, lawmakers or industry leaders, the message was the same at Tuesday evening's town hall: pointless restrictions on who can use solar energy must end.
Panelists of the event hosted by the Michigan Environmental Council and Michigan United each encouraged the passage of House Bill 4236. The bill, sponsored by 10 Republicans and three Democrats, would lift the cap on distributed generation. This would allow anyone to generate energy, like solar, on their business or property and get credit for any excess energy they send back to the grid.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
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
Consumers Energy summer rates a plus for residents, wallets & environment
In May, Consumers Energy rolled out a new summer rate for its residential customers. From June to September, Consumers residential customers will pay about 15 cents a kilowatt-hour between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 cents a kilowatt-hour at all other times.
The change prompted some scary headlines like “Consumers Energy electricity rate increases 50% during peak hours.” But the real story is this new summer rate – called a peak rate or time of use rate – is a proven strategy to help us save money on our utility bills and protect our environment. Here's how.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.
MEC, AG Nessel and allies work to block Consumers rate hike
In an effort to advocate for Michigan customers, four groups announced today they are joining Attorney General Dana Nessel to intervene in Consumers Energy’s proposal to raise electric rates in Michigan.
The groups intervening are the Michigan Environmental Council, Citizens Utility Board of Michigan, Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council.
In December 2020, the Commission approved a $90.2 million rate increase, which went into effect January 1 of this year. The utility company originally asked for an increase of $254 million during that case, but MEC and allies were able to blunt it.
If the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approves Consumers Energy’s $225 million rate increase request, residential customers would see an additional 8.3% rate increase while industrial customers would see a 4.2% increase and commercial customers would see a bump of 0.4%.Read more
Big wins to ring in a new decade
The fog of anxiety was thick for many as we trudged through an exhausting election and an ever-present pandemic. Yet, bright lights cut through.
Laws, decisions and amendments passed at 2020’s end will make the health of Michigan’s people, places and finances stronger in 2021 and beyond.
Check out the wins from late 2020 that MEC helped secure. Let’s ring the bells once more!Read more