Skip to main content

Michiganders Like It Windy

August 20, 2012 - You know, it's hard to decide what to write about these days.  Climate extremes are happening all the time now, and I don't ever want to treat what people are going through as if it were unimportant.  On the other hand, it's very easy to tell what my readers like, and want: you guys want to hear some good news.  Last week's blog article was the most popular I've ever written, bar none.  So this week I'm going to mix it up.  First, let's all admit that it's impossible to ignore the fires burning in the western United States.

I know - they're getting a lot of coverage, and it's pretty scary stuff.  There's nothing I can say to make the situation less horrible than it is.  We all want so very badly for the fires to just stop burning!  Fact is, dead trees as dry as tinder are always going to catch fire when they're struck by lightning.  This is a good time to remind ourselves of one of those basic facts of life: we can turn to each other in times of need.  Not just for money, or food, or shelter.  We need to turn to each other for comfort; it's essential.  Being scared hollows us out.  It can cause us to deny our feelings.  Turning to each other for kindness and empathy validates our feelings.  We can acknowledge the truth, then face it together.  There's a lot of truth out there, waiting to be faced.

Is this going to happen every year, we wonder anxiously?  Think about it: it can't.  Once the trees burn down, they can't burn again.  Not for a long time, anyway.  Of course, as long as dead trees remain standing, as they undoubtedly still do in many places, they can serve as fire fodder.  Shouldn't those be cleared away?  Hiring people to do that - I guess they'd be Forest Service employees - costs money.  For that matter, it's my opinion that we need more trained fire fighters.  That, of course, costs money, too.  Tax money.  Meeting dire circumstances head-on is one of the uses of our taxes.  Or was, until we forgot why we pay taxes.  Now I guess we'll scramble the best we can.

Enough about that.  This is an election year, which means Americans everywhere will not only elect a president, they'll cast their ballots for or against propositions, resolutions, and proposals, probably in every state.  In Michigan, citizens will, I hope, vote to approve The 25 x 25 RES Proposal.  When they do, they'll vote to increase Michigan's renewable energy standard (RES) to 25% by 2025.  The reason that's a good idea is that "25 x 25" will double the number of green jobs in Michigan.  How would it do that?  By creating 31,500 construction jobs, 43,000 operations and maintenance jobs, and 4,200 manufacturing jobs.

The news just gets better from there.  The RES Proposal would also result in $10 billion in new investment.  Sounds too good to be true?  Not when you take into account that, while Michigan imports the majority of its fossil fuel, at a cost of $22.6 billion, it has enough local renewable energy potential to power itself three times over.  In fact, renewable electricity is now cheaper than coal-fired electricity, and that's before you take into account factors like respiratory ailments caused by pollution, greenhouse gases changing the climate, and mercury poisoning the environment.

Wind energy, it turns out, works best for Michigan.  In 2008, Michigan had 34 wind turbines up and running.  Today, there are more than 288.  In the wind industry alone, the 25 x 25 RES Proposal would culminate in 22,450 job years from construction, 14,500 job years in affiliated job sectors like land leasing and legal services, 4,650 job years in lodging and food services for construction workers, and 1,130 job years to run and maintain the new turbines.  And you thought California always led the way when it comes to alternative energy.  Watch out - here comes Michigan!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

We Are Still In

June 13, 2017 - Trump's announcement that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Accord on Climate Change has produced a remarkable backlash: hundreds of cities, states, universities and colleges, and businesses in the United States have declared their collective intention to reach the country's 2025 emissions goals, with or without federal leadership. America stepped up to the plate when Trump stated that he was "elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris," to which Pittsburgh's mayor responded "we [Pittsburgh] will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy and future."

Bill Peduto, mayor of Pittsburgh, is a member of Mayors for 100% Clean Energy, the creation of Sierra Club, to which Michael Bloomberg is a major contributor. Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City and a billionaire philanthropist, is also the United Nations Envoy for Cities and Climate Change.
In a letter written by Bloomberg to…

The SunShot Initiative

In 2007, the amount of solar power installed in the U.S. was 1.1 gigawatts (GW). As of 2017, that amount has increased to 47.1 GW. Enough to power 9.1 million average American homes. If you're thinking "we've still got a long way to go," you'd be right. On the other hand, increasing installed power by 4300% deserves some attention.  How'd we do it?

The Department of Energy played an important role. In 2011, they initiated a program called The SunShot Initiative. They set targets for the years 2020 and 2030, by which times generating solar power would have become more affordable. More affordable on a utility scale, more affordable on a commercial scale, and more affordable on a residential scale. Thus far, they've succeeded in hitting the 2020 goal for utility-scale generation. Needless to mention, they reached that goal three years early. The goals, it should be mentioned, don't take subsidies into account. It's the technology, in the case of util…