ELPC’s Michigan’s solar and wind energy supply chain study found that 121 Michigan companies are engaged in the solar industry and 120 Michigan companies are part of the wind energy supply chain. The solar and wind industries provide more than 10,000 jobs in Michigan.
ELPC’s report profiles the wide variety of Michigan businesses that are part of the solar and wind supply chain. The state is home to huge manufacturers like Dow Corning and Hemlock Semiconductor, as well as over 100 small businesses such as Walker Miller Energy Services and Hot Watt Solar that serve a growing base of residential and commercial clients. These businesses are looking forward to sound policies that will support the domestic market for clean energy. Read Michigan’s solar and wind energy supply chain.
More than 180 scientists from universities across Michigan called on Michigan’s Congressional delegation to oppose further attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority, calling the EPA essential to protecting the public health.
The scientists’ letter states: “We strongly urge you to reject any measure that would block or delay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from protecting the people of Michigan from air pollution and human caused climate change, both of which put our health, agriculture, environment and economy at risk.”
University of Michigan Professor and ELPC Board member, Dr. Knute Nadelhoffer, testified before Congress on the ecological impacts of climate change in Michigan and the Great Lakes region. He noted that lake ice on all five Great Lakes is decreasing and that Lake Superior is warming at an alarming rate. He added that continued warming could overwhelm existing water and sewer infrastructure, as well as decrease agricultural productivity in the Midwest, potentially costing the region billios of dollars. You can access his testimony, as well as archived footage of the March 8, 2011 hearing to gather evidence on the science of global warming on the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s website.
ELPC partnered with the Sierra Club, Michigan Environmental Council, and Michigan Land Use Institute to investigate Wolverine Power Cooperative’s plans to build a 600-megawatt circulating fluidized bed boiler (CFB) coal plant in Rogers City, Michigan. Wolverine submitted an air permit application in September 2007, followed by numerous supplements. ELPC assisted local and state organizers in preparing for a local zoning board meeting to challenge Wolverine’s land use permit based on plans to burn petroleum coke and solid municipal waste in addition to coal. After a four-year battle, ELPC and Rogers City residents claimed a major victory when Governor Jennifer Granholm and the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (DNRE) Director Rebecca Humphries denied the permit needed to build the controversial plant in late spring 2010.
The DNRE decision stated there was no need for the proposed power plant, and that alternative methods are available that would supply the customers of the four electric cooperatives that make up Wolverine with electricity at a much cheaper rate than the cost of building a new coal plant. State officials estimated that the proposed plant would increase the electric rates charged by the cooperatives by at least 59.2% even after Wolverine suggested reducing the plant size by half.
As new coal plant units are proposed and enter the permitting phase, ELPC is acting as a regional watchdog to identify potential new permit challenges and gaps in legal coverage.
Following ELPC’s legal advocacy, Michigan is moving forward with its high-speed rail network that will boost local economies, create much-needed jobs and play an important role in reducing global warming pollution. In October 2010 the Federal Railroad Administration announced that Michigan would receive an additional $160 million in federal dollars. These funds will be used primarily to purchase and restore 135 miles of track between Kalamazoo and Dearborn from the Norfolk Southern Railway. The federal government’s recent investment complements $244 million in federal grants earlier this year for projects to improve service along this corridor.
As home to the domestic auto industry and the nation’s largest investments in advanced battery manufacturing, Michigan has a key stake in the success of electric vehicles. The growth of electric vehicles will play a key role in reducing global warming pollution and our dependence on fossil fuels. ELPC is working with partners in Michigan to advocate for policies that will support the success of electric vehicles including a low-carbon fuel standard, incentives for electric vehicle charging equipment and off-peak charging rates for electric vehicles.