- Former Shell Oil President, Top Gov. Snyder Staff Share Vision for American Energy Renaissance at Major Detroit-Area Forum
Hofmeister left Shell Oil Company to found Citizens for Affordable Energy, a nonprofit that educates people about how to go green at the local level. He says CFAE was founded on a non-partisan platform in 2011 to educate citizens and government officials about affordable energy solutions, environmental protection, energy alternatives, efficiency, infrastructure, public policy, competitiveness, social cohesion, and quality of life.
- Consumers Energy leads energy optimization in Michigan businesses and homes
The Renewable Portfolio Standard requires 10 percent of the state's energy portfolio be renewable by 2015, Malone says. In 2008, Consumers Energy was producing 4 percent renewable energy, he says, but opened its first wind farm in Mason County.
- Michigan Saves makes going green easy and affordable
More than 2,000 homes have been improved through Michigan Saves, she says, and each homeowner saves, on average, $450 each year on their utility bill. Using a network of local credit unions, Michigan Saves brings financing and contracting experts together to identify ways to lower homeowners' utility costs, Metty Bennett says.
- Valerie Brader: Working to ensure Michigan's energy and environmental future
The adaptability of future energy policies is incredibly important to Gov. Snyder, Brader says. Future energy and environmental policies will focus on affordable energy, reliable energy and protecting our environment, she says, which aim to suit a variety of futures.
- American Solar Challenge
The American Solar Challenge is a competition to design, build, and drive solar-powered cars in a cross-country time/distance rally event.
Hydraulic fracturing in Michigan lowers fuel costs and could create jobs, decreasing dependence on foreign energy
- Jeff Cook talks with Kirk Heinze
MSU graduate Jeff Cook, president of Southwestern Oil Company of Greenville, Mich. and board member of Michigan Oil and Gas Association, discusses Michigan’s natural gas production resulting controversial hydraulic fracturing with Kirk Heinze on Greening of the Great Lakes.
“Energy has always been important,” says Cook, “the reason it’s a major topic right now is we’re really going through a renaissance in energy production.” Five years ago, he says, estimates suggested there was only a 25-year supply of natural gas remaining. However, with the discovery of natural gas production from shale rock, the estimate is now at over 100 years supply of natural gas, says Cook. Not long ago,
natural gas prices were very high, he says, but today’s prices are at 20 percent of the 2008 prices thanks to the discovery of natural gas within underground shale rock formations.
“(Michigan sits) on a couple of very large shale formations,” he says. In the late 80s and early 90s, these shale formations were accessed into using the now-controversial method of hydraulic fracturing, he says, but there have been no negative impacts from the process at these locations.
“One of the big concerns,” says Cook, “was the surface impact.” With the newer deep horizontal wells, he says, about 16 vertical wells are eliminated from the surface. Horizontal wells, he says, although most controversial, decrease risk for contamination because the greatest risk associated with hydraulic fracturing is in the surface handling of the fluids. “If we have fewer wells, we have fewer chances of spills,” Cook says.
Despite the extended supply of natural gas, it is still important to continue developing alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar power. “While we want to have a full mix (of energy sources),” he says, “I think natural gas is going to play a strong role in that.” Natural gas in very affordable and provides low-cost fuel to homeowners across the state, says Cook. Additionally, indigenous supplies of natural gas have the potential to create jobs and provide low costs to auto companies and other local businesses, he says.
Because of the influx of media coverage of hydraulic fracturing, Cook says, people think the process is new and they are increasingly skeptical. “This is something we’ve been doing for 50 years,” he says, “and we’ve had no problems of any contamination of water wells in northern Michigan.”
“Trust us, but trust us because we have a track record,” says Cook.
An American innovation, hydraulic fracturing may help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign energy sources, he says, and the technology is being exported to help other countries as well.