- 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.
- Hydraulic fracturing in Michigan lowers fuel costs and could create jobs, decreasing dependence on foreign energy
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."
New Michigan law gives boost to landfill gas energy projects
Max: I don't know anything about methane.
Aunty Entity: You can shovel sh__ can't you?
The dialogue between Max (Mel Gibson) and Aunty Entity (Tina Turner) in the movie, "Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome" describes how Bartertown generated the electricity that powered the town. The Master part of Master-Blaster was in charge of collecting the pig, um, biomass, which was then biodigested to create methane, which in turn provided the fuel to power electrical generators. This same technology is also used to collect methane generated in landfills from decaying municipal solid waste.
On November 10, 2011, Governor Snyder signed House Bill No. 4875 into law, which has opened the door for research projects designed to develop renewable energy from gases created by the decomposition of waste in landfills. The use of landfill gases to generate electricity has a long and successful history. The new law is designed to encourage new ways to generate even more methane using bioreactor technology to boost the methane production capabilities of landfills.
As we know, landfills contain the garbage we produce daily, some 135 million tons annually. As that garbage decomposes, it creates methane. Landfill operators need to manage methane as a regular part of landfill operations, but its escape into the atmosphere is a concern, as it is a very potent greenhouse gas.
Methane has energy potential as a fuel to power turbines that in turn produce electricity. There are approximately 520 landfill gas energy projects throughout the United States. Often, however, it takes years to develop enough decomposition to make collection of methane as fuel financially viable.
Companies have been studying ways to boost the amount of methane in landfills, increasing the amount of methane, while decreasing the amount of time to generate substantial amounts of methane. The new Michigan statute is designed to promote research, development and demonstration projects (RDDPs) at landfills.
Specifically, the use of "biodigesters" speed the process of decomposition by injecting another waste product, biosolids, into the landfill. This makes the collection of methane more profitable by increasing the amount of gas produced and shortening the time it is generated. A side benefit is that the anaerobic digestion of solid waste reduces the physical space solid waste uses, extending the useful life of the landfill, which in turn reduces the need for new landfill space.
Under old rules, Michigan sanitary waste landfills were required to have double liners. The new rules allow RDDPs to be conducted at single-liner landfills; thus increasing the number of landfills at which methane recovery for energy production could occur. This creates a new source of renewable energy, removes a potent greenhouse gas from the atmosphere, and extends the useful lives of landfills that utilize this technology.
The author, Saulius Mikalonis, is an environmental attorney with over 25 years of experience in the Bloomfield Hills offices of Plunkett Cooney. He is also the author of The Green Blawg, in which he writes about environmental law issues for the non-lawyer. In addition to practicing law, Mr. Mikalonis is an adjunct professor at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Auburn Hills Campus, at which he teaches a course entitled "Sustainable Development Law & Policy" and a Board Member of the Detroit Regional Chapter of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).