For Friday, Dec. 19, 2014
1 – Where does your Christmas tree come from?
If it’s a real tree, it’s mostly likely to come from North Carolina or Oregon. That’s nationally.
According to The Washington Post and federal data, American tree farmers harvest at least 17 million Christmas trees each year, and nearly half come from North Carolina and Oregon.
What about Michigan?
Our state, along with New England, the mid-Atlantic and Wisconsin are near the top for Christmas tree harvests in the U.S.
In 2012, just over 3,900 Christmas trees were harvested in Bay County. There were just over 2,200 harvested in Saginaw County, and just 128 in Midland County.
In Michigan, about 1.7 million trees were cut from from more than 700 farms.
In case you wondered, artificial trees are still king when it comes to sales.
2 – Michigan has received passing grades for its solar energy policies, but there’s room for improvement.
The state gets a B for net metering and a C for interconnection in a report from Vote Solar and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, both advocacy groups.
At least it’s better than the F received for net metering and a D for interconnection, both in 2008.
Net metering and interconnection are policies that allow energy customers to use rooftop solar and other small-scale renewables to meet their own electricity needs.
States at the top of the class this year include Ohio, along with California, Massachusetts, Oregon and Utah.
The report is designed as a resource for policymakers, regulators and stakeholders to build upon clean energy progress that many states have achieved to date.
The groups say net metering and interconnection are some of the primary state policies driving growth in the American clean energy field.
3 – Energy efficiency is cost effective.
Michigan funding for energy optimization programs in 2013 was $253 million, which will result in savings of $948 million for electric and natural gas utility customers.
That means that for every dollar spent on energy optimization programs in Michigan in 2013, customers saw benefits of about $3.75 by eliminating energy waste.
The figures are according to the Michigan Public Service Commission’s annual report on a 2008 law.
The report shows that overall, the programs saved 132 percent of what they were targeted for by electric utilities, and 121 percent for natural gas utilities.
The savings equate to the annual electric usage of about 121,000 households and the annual natural gas usage of about 58,000 households.