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One Barn, Three Utilities and Geothermal Success

Efficiency First | September 23, 2013 | By Jim Dulzo

It was a setting guaranteed to raise a smile: a squinty-bright sun, an electric-blue sky, rolling green hills, a verdant community garden and a big, immaculately restored old barn. But the folks who gathered last week at the Historic Barns Park were grinning for a different reason: Completion of the first phase of a geothermal heating and cooling system that will keep the park’s iconic Cathedral Barn comfortable year-round....

Lansing Turns Toward Clean Energy Debate

Power to Change | September 13, 2013 | By Jim Dulzo

Michigan’s clean energy entrepreneurs and advocates hope to hear some good news from Lansing about renewable energy next week.
That’s when the Michigan Public Service Commission and the Michigan Energy Office release the first of four draft-summaries of comments the public gave them earlier this year regarding the state’s future energy goals. ...

Mackinac Oil Pipeline Rally Marks TC350’s Revival

Power to Change, TC350 | August 27, 2013 | By Jim Dulzo

Last month, a surprisingly large number of people showed up at a remote northern Michigan park to rally against something that, weeks earlier, few of them had ever heard about: the twin, 60-year-old pipelines that transport 22 million gallons of oil a day beneath the Straits of Mackinac. Attracting a crowd to a distant location for a rally about a largely unknown pipeline is impressive; so is reviving a moribund organization to produce the event in just six weeks....

Can Grand Traverse County Set the PACE?

Power to Change | August 22, 2013 | By Jim Dulzo

It’s time for Grand Traverse County to use a state law to help local firms cut energy costs and boost bottom lines. The 2010 law, called PACE—Property Assessed Clean Energy—allows local governments to establish bonds for loans to improve commercial buildings’ efficiency or install renewable energy devices, cutting their utility bills. Local units then use special property tax assessments for loan repayments....

From TC to DC: Group Joins National Push for Carbon Tax

Power to Change, CCL | August 15, 2013 | By Jim Dulzo

Maura Brennan and Elizabeth Dell co-lead what they say is the largest Michigan chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby, a national group sharply focused on a very specific goal: Convincing Congress to enact a carbon tax on coal, oil, and natural gas and distribute the money to all American households. The market-based logic is simple: Raising fossil fuel prices will push the country toward ever-cheaper, renewable, clean power sources such as wind, solar, and energy efficiency, cutting the greenhouse gas emissions warming our planet....

Group offers new solar opportunity for homeowners

Power to Change | July 26, 2013 | By Zoë McAlear

Interest in alternative energy options is growing in the northwest corner of Lower Michigan and solar power, in particular, is gaining more recognition as an exciting opportunity for homeowners....

Novi Solar Developer Joins Feds’ Race to the Rooftops

Power to Change | July 24, 2013 | By Jim Dulzo

Srinergy has joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s nationwide Race to the Rooftops contest. The firm and the partners it is recruiting will compete for part of a $10 million prize. It will be shared among the first three teams that install 6,000 smaller-scale solar systems on homes or businesses while keeping their “soft costs”—everything but the panels and other hardware—at or below $1 per watt....

McKibben Connects Straits Pipeline to Global Climate Fight

Power to Change | July 16, 2013 | By Jim Dulzo

On July 14, about 400 people gathered at the north end of the Mackinac Bridge and listened as speakers warned about the aging oil pipeline that lies west of the bridge, beneath the Straits of Mackinac’s sparkling, cobalt-blue waters....

Mackinac Pipeline Rally Will Raise Energy, Climate Issues

Power to Change | July 9, 2013 | By Jim Dulzo

Organizers are rallying at Bridge View Park in St. Ignace to warn that there’s a 60-year-old oil pipeline beneath the Straits, operated by the same company responsible for the Kalamazoo pipeline oil spill, and that it’s putting the Great Lakes ecosystem at serious risk....

Obama tackles climate change in impressive address

Power to Change | July 2, 2013 | By Brian Beauchamp

On June 25, President Barack Obama stepped up to the podium at Georgetown University, and truly stepped up to the plate on climate change, wowing even the most ardent and committed advocates with his remarkably frank comments about global warming—and what he will do about it....

Andy Levin: ‘Lean & Green’ Can Help Efficiency, Clean Energy Soar

Efficiency First | July 2, 2013 | By Jim Dulzo

Andy Levin urges local leaders to adopt an ordinance he designed based on a 2010 state law, known as PACE, that would put tradesmen to work on efficiency and renewables projects for local businesses to boost their profits without spending public dollars. “PACE” means Property Assessed Clean Energy. It allows local governments to raise bonds to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for local firms—and use special property tax assessments for paying off the loans....

Join us and rally to protect the Great Lakes

Rally, Event | June 28, 2013 | By Jim Lively

MLUI and TC350, a dedicated group of local activists, are organizing "Oil & Water Don't Mix: A Rally for the Great Lakes," set for July 14 at the Bridge View Park in St. Ignace next to the Mackinac Bridge. It's an incredible opportunity to raise awareness about climate change and the dangers posed by an oil pipeline that runs through the Mackinac Straits....

Expanding program measures energy efficiency of homes

Efficiency First | June 28, 2013 | By Zoë McAlear

Most people stop and think about the miles per gallon rating before buying a car, but don’t consider the “energy mileage” they get from their homes....

Mike Hayes: GLE Co-op Must Heed Calls for More Clean Energy

Power to Change | June 19, 2013 | By Jim Dulzo

Mike Hayes is retired, but he’s not taking it easy. Recently he helped organize Mancelona’s community garden and construction of its new farmers market pavilion. Now Hayes is running for the Great Lakes Energy co-op’s board of directors....

Mary Brower: More Renewables, Efficiency for Great Lakes Energy

Power to Change | June 12, 2013 | By Jim Dulzo

Mary Brower is running for the Great Lakes Energy Cooperative board of directors because she wants her utility to embrace the future—particularly moving beyond coal power to more renewable energy and energy efficiency. Great Lakes Energy members will receive a ballot for their board of directors election in the July-August issue of the co-op’s magazine, Country Lines, which hits mailboxes soon. Brower recently took a break from her daily farm chores to speak by phone about her campaign to persuade fellow co-op members to check her name on the ballot and mail it in....

Energy Efficiency Pioneers: Who's Leading the Charge?

Efficiency First | May 29, 2013 | By Jim Dulzo

Four different communities—in Virginia, Michigan, and Ontario—have reached the same conclusion: When it comes to making and using energy, it’s time to replace business-as-usual with breakthrough innovation. But each community is also traveling a somewhat different path to a better energy future. Here's a look at three community energy plans in action. ...

Big Crowds, Strong Support for Clean Energy at Snyder Forums

Snyder, Forums | May 13, 2013 | By Jim Dulzo

State officials are still digging out from the avalanche of comments triggered by Snyder’s seven public forums about Michigan’s energy future, which wrapped up three weeks ago....

Mandates Drive Efficiency Industry

Efficiency First | May 2, 2013 | By Jim Dulzo

As community leaders in towns like Holland, Ann Arbor, and Traverse City ponder different ways to accelerate efficiency investments by homeowners and businesses, energy services companies—or ESCOs—are emerging as a most effective way to help not only large public buildings save energy, but also private firms with smaller buildings....

In Search of Energy Efficiency Financing--For Everyone

Efficiency First, TCSaves | April 25, 2013 | By Jim Dulzo

Major home energy efficiency upgrades could become a common sight in Traverse City, once leaders find a very inexpensive, long-term way to finance them....

Efficiency Work Keeps Contractors Busy

Efficiency First, TCSaves | April 1, 2013 | By Jim Dulzo

For close to two years, more than a dozen home energy assessors, contractors, and workers from three local companies have made the city-sponsored pilot home-efficiency program tick. They’ve made more than 500 Traverse City homes—a remarkable 20 percent of the town’s owner-occupied residences—more comfortable and affordable. The success stories—and the jobs and savings they produce—could multiply dramatically if some Traverse City civic, business, and elected leaders find a way to expand TCSaves into a permanent, communitywide program....

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