Michigan Clean Tech Jobs, Powerley App and New Energy Stats

For Friday, March 27, 2015

1Michigan is No. 4. Our state ranks fourth nationally in the number of clean energy jobs.

The state holds the spot based on strong hiring for electric vehicle production and the solar industry supply chain, according to Environmental Entrepreneurs, a Chicago-based business organization that tracks job creation in the clean energy sector.

The group says that in 2014, Michigan companies added 3,600 new jobs tied to clean energy projects.

Nationwide, there were nearly 47,000 such jobs involving 170 projects. Michigan trailed Nevada, California and New York in the number of clean technology jobs created.

The group is urging Congress to take up federal tax credits that support clean energy production. More than half of businesses surveyed by Environmental Entrepreneurs said they would likely increase investment levels if federal clean energy tax credits were extended.

– Via Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council

2Information on how much energy your home uses may be an app away.

powerley powerscan

Credit: Powerley

DTE Energy, the Michigan electric utility, has announced a new venture called Powerley. It’s a joint project with Vectorform, a global design and technology firm.

Powerley was announced earlier this month at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The Powerley platform is designed to allow utility companies to present real-time energy consumption information to their customers.

Customers using the app are able to track their energy consumption patterns, set goals, tackle energy-saving projects and compare usage with friends.

DTE already has a real-time mobile application called DTE Insight. Powerly aims to take the technology to other utilities, using an advanced meter and energy bridge device.

The app can be used with Android or Apple smartphones, and provides utility customers with complete, real-time breakdowns of their energy consumption.

3 – Much of Michigan’s biomass energy comes from the state’s almost 19 million acres of forest land.

Biomass provided fuel for 35 percent of Michigan’s renewable net electricity generation in 2014.

Those are some of latest statistics from new State Energy Profiles released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Some other Quick Facts:

  • In 2013, Michigan had more underground natural gas storage capacity – 1.1 trillion cubic feet – than any other state in the nation.
  • In 2014, Michigan’s three nuclear power plants, with four reactor units, provided 30 percent  of the state’s net electricity generation.
  • Michigan used coal for half of its net electricity generation in 2014.  Much of our coal is brought by rail from Wyoming and Montana.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow me @jeffkart on Twitter.

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For Spring: Targeting Mosquitoes, Oak Wilt and Saginaw Bay Invasives

For Friday, March 13, 2015

1 – Spring is coming, and so are the bugs.

scrap tire mosquitoes

Credit: Fran Ontanaya

Bay County and other counties across Michigan are planning events to collect scrap tires, which can serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The state recently awarded $587,000 in grants for scrap tire drop-off events and other tire cleanups across Michigan. Drop-off events will be held in the spring and summer. Besides Bay County, grants also went to Saginaw, Arenac and Tuscola counties. Last year, Bay County collected more than 2,600 tires at two drop-off events. The tires were hauled away and recycled. – via Bay County newsletter

2 – Spring arrives officially on March 20. And now is the best time to prune your trees so they are less likely to be attacked by summer bugs and pathogens.

But take care if you have oak trees. The Bay County Gypsy Moth program says Oak Wilt is a concern. Last summer, the state departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources issued a Pest Alert about the dangers of Oak Wilt, a  fungal disease that kills oak trees, mainly red oaks.

Classical symptoms of oak wilt on red oak leaves.  Credit: Michigan State University

Classical symptoms of oak wilt on red oak leaves. Credit: Michigan State University

Oak Wilt has not been found in Bay County yet, but residents are advised NOT to prune oak trees during the growing season. If you need to prune oaks, DO NOT prune them between April 15 and July 15. Oak Wilt was detected in more than 40 counties last year, including Saginaw, Midland, Gladwin, Roscommon and Oscoda.

3 – The Saginaw Conservation District is fighting invasive plants in 22 counties.

The District, part of a group called the Saginaw Bay Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, is using $300,000 in state funding to fight invasive plants in the 22 counties that make up the Saginaw Bay watershed. Officials say the work will focus on the use of an early detection rapid response team to find and treat invasive species at a low cost and with a high rate of success. Targeted plants include Japanese knotweed, phragmites, and black and pale shallow-wort. All of these can crowd out and displace native plants.

— Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Support for Proposal 1, Grant Money for Saginaw Bay, Resources for Solar

For Friday, March 6, 2015

1 – There’s a proposal for a sales tax and roading funding measure on the May 5 ballot.

Credit: Ben W

Credit: Ben W

The Michigan Environmental Council, a nonprofit coalition of more than 70 environmental and other groups, is supporting the plan.

The Council says Proposal 1 is the state’s best chance to build a safe, reliable and modern transportation system.

If approved, the proposal will increase annual support for transit and bring in new revenue for roads and bridges, public schools and local government services, the Council says.

Proposal 1 also would provide more funding for a Recreation Improvement Fund, which supports work by the Department of Natural Resources on trails and helps maintain and improve harbors, marinas and public boat launches.

The measure would increase the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent, but exempt motor fuel.

 

2 – There’s grant money available for everything from physical improvements to outreach in the Saginaw Bay Area.

The Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network, funded by area foundations, has announced its 2015 Community Action Mini Grant Program.

The key word for these grants is sustainability – or projects that have economic, environmental and community impacts. Some ideas include projects that involve recreation, community gardens, farmers markets, energy efficiency and recycling.

Funding of up to $1,000 per project is available. The deadline to apply is March 20, and eligible organizations including nonprofits, local governments and schools.

See SaginawBayWIN.org for more information.

 

3 – If you want to go solar, you might want to go to SolarPermit.org.

The website is a national solar permitting database that provides information on permitting for solar power in jurisdictions across the country.

That includes average permit turnaround times and contact information for individual jurisdictions.

The site’s creation was supported by a U.S. Department of Energy grant.

It’s still being developed and there aren’t any local Michigan cities listed just yet.

SolarPermit.org is an interactive, crowd-sourced website. The database is populated primarily by solar installers.

 

— Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

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