POOP TO POWER: 4 Michigan Farms to Produce Electricity with Anaerobic Digesters for Consumers Energy
Animal waste is the newest energy source to benefit Michigan businesses, customers and the environment thanks to long-term electric generation contracts signed recently with Consumers Energy.
We’re taking steps to diversify our energy supply and help the environment by selecting four Michigan farms to produce renewable energy with anaerobic digesters.
The following Michigan farms were selected:
- Beaver Creek Farms, Coopersville
- Brook View Dairy, Freeport
- Green Meadow Farms Inc., Elsie
- Scenic View Dairy, Fennville
HOW THEY WORK: Learn more about the workings of anaerobic digesters: www.americanbiogascouncil.org/biogas_howSystemsWork.asp.
This new program develops dependable, renewable energy produced here in our state for the Michigan homes and businesses we serve. The addition of anaerobic digestion brings more diversity to our existing renewable energy supply from wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectric dams. Learn more about Consumers Energy’s anaerobic digester program at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/EARP.
Consumers Energy developed this new anaerobic digester program along with Michigan State University and the state’s agricultural community. Anaerobic digesters generate electricity from biodegradable material – in this case from four Michigan farms.
The farms will be offered the opportunity to generate electricity under long-term contracts that collectively provide 2.6 megawatts of electric capacity. That’s enough to power about 2,800 homes.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
As the saying goes, if you don’t like the weather in Michigan, wait five minutes and it’ll change. One thing for certain about our four seasons, they all include sunlight and that means solar power.
At Consumers Energy, we’ve selected 22 new projects offered by businesses and homeowners across the Lower Peninsula to produce solar energy through our Experimental Advanced Renewable Program.
We continue to see a healthy interest in solar energy from the residents and businesses we serve, and we’re pleased to add these to the more than 200 contracts for solar power we already have in place.
We certainly have help from a diverse group of individuals and businesses in developing a renewable energy supply for the future.
Five non-residential projects in four counties were selected. The projects will provide 546 kilowatts of electric capacity, and they range in size from 21 to 150 kilowatts.
Solar projects selected by Consumers Energy include:
- Paragon Die & Engineering, Kent County
- Monsignor Hackett High School, Kalamazoo County
- Bonobo Winery, Grand Traverse County
- West Michigan Sports Commission, Kent County
- Pure Mitten Hops, Ottawa County
Seventeen residential customer projects in 13 counties – Bay, Barry, Clinton, Eaton, Gladwin, Hillsdale, Ingham, Jackson, Kent, Monroe, Newaygo, Ottawa and Washtenaw – also were selected. The projects will provide about 171 kilowatts of electric capacity, and they range in size from 2.5 to 20 kilowatts.
The customers were chosen as part of our Experimental Advanced Renewable Program (EARP). The program provides for the long-term purchase of renewable energy generated by solar energy systems owned by electric customers.
We’re on target to use renewable sources for 10 percent of the electricity we supply by 2015. Those sources include solar and wind energy, biomass, hydroelectric power and anaerobic digestion. A chart showing the environmental sources of our energy and the Midwest region from April 2013 through March 2014 is on the back of July customer energy bills.
The next phase of the EARP is opening for residential customers. Applications must be received by 5 p.m. Aug. 6.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
Drive Safely in Pipeline Construction, Watch for Wind Turbines During Consumers Energy Upgrades in Michigan
We’re urging Michigan drivers to be especially aware of crews working alongside the road in St. Joseph and Branch counties this summer and to watch for trucks carrying large wind turbines to our new wind park in the thumb area of Caro, Mich.
Consumers Energy crews work along Michigan roads throughout the year to replace power poles and complete other energy upgrades. This summer, we’re asking drivers to be especially vigilant and exercise extreme caution in roadside work areas. VIDEO: Roadside safety
- We are building the Southwest 1200B Pipeline Project, which will run 24 miles through St. Joseph and Branch counties and complete a 90-mile dual gas transmission pipeline corridor. This will increase value, reliability and safety for Consumers Energy’s 1.7 million natural gas customers.
- Pipeline construction involves five main phases: Land clearing, trench excavating, pipeline installation, welding and backfilling. Currently, all five phases are taking place simultaneously. Construction began in May and have ramped up in June, which will continue until the project is completed this September.
- Safety for everyone involved – crews, motorists, landowners and all customers and residents – is our number one priority. That’s why we are asking drivers in the area to be aware of our activities and to slow down and be alert when passing by construction zones, vehicles and roadside workers, and to please observe sign operators’ signals to stop or slow down.
- Our second wind park is underway and the company is urging safe driving as large equipment is transported on Michigan highways. Billboards promoting safe driving are in place in southeast and southwest Michigan, the entry points for delivery of wind turbine generators, 165-foot turbine blades and Michigan-made turbine towers.
- The $255 million wind park is being constructed by approximately 150 workers, in Akron and Columbia townships in Tuscola County.
- The plans for Cross Winds include 62 wind turbines, with a capacity of 105 megawatts when it begins generating renewable energy for Consumers Energy customers in late 2014. View park layout
“Teachers teach because they care. Teaching young people is what they do best. It requires long hours, patience, and care.”
Horace Mann (1796-1859), education reformist
When it comes to shaping young minds and preparing our future workforce, Michigan teachers are the apple of our eye at Consumers Energy.
On National Teacher Day, we salute teachers across Michigan today and every day for their commitment and dedication. As we say in our business, Carpe Vigorem “Seize the Energy” in education and our communities.
From activities and online games to workbooks and in-classroom presentations, we’re pleased to offer students, scouts, teachers and parents opportunities to stay safe and learn more about energy. Topics include: lesson plans, energy history, careers in energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainability and electric and natural gas safety. We even offer a new Ask an Energy Expert feature.
Check out our education website, called Brain Station.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
As warm weather returns to Michigan, we’re resuming construction of our Cross Winds® Energy Park in Tuscola County in the state’s thumb.
Safety is our No. 1 priority, and Consumers Energy and its contractors are committed to building the renewable wind energy park in the safest manner possible.
- Akron and Columbia Township residents are receiving a “safety alert” postcard.
- We’re also urging motorists to be alert for construction traffic in these townships and throughout Tuscola County as many construction materials are coming from throughout Michigan.
Following agreements with the Tuscola County Road Commission, the project includes necessary maintenance, repair and upgrades to several area roads needed for transporting wind turbine components and other construction related materials.
Barton Malow of Southfield, Mich. is the lead contractor for the Cross Winds facility, and will focus on construction of access drives, turbine foundations and electrical systems this spring. Wind turbine components are scheduled to arrive at the Cross Winds site by mid-summer.
About 150 construction jobs will be created during Cross Winds construction. The facility will include 62 wind turbines, with a capacity of 105 megawatts when it begins generating renewable energy for Consumers Energy customers, scheduled for late 2014. Map of Cross Winds Energy Park.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
As America celebrates Earth Day, we’re reducing our environmental footprint through a series of sustainability efforts focused at electric generating plants across Michigan.
By 2017, we expect to reduce water use at Consumers Energy power plants by 17 percent and by 20 percent in 2020.
At the D.E. Karn Plant near Bay City, a project is nearing completion to use recycled water and lime while also improving the environment. This system reflects industry-best standards for the treatment of the plant’s flue gas to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions.
This project is an excellent example of our focus on sustainability and our promise to leave it better than we found it.
The system will be operational this summer. If it proves successful, a similar system will be considered at the J.H. Campbell Generating Complex near West Olive.
Meanwhile more than $700 million in investments at the Campbell site continue to improve air quality and reduce plant emissions. Multiyear projects are scheduled to be complete in 2016.
Our 10-year, $1.3 billion investment in emissions reduction work at Campbell and Karn coupled with other sustainability measures will mean an even brighter future for Michigan’s environment.
We’re also undertaking additional activities to further reduce our greenhouse gas footprint, including:
- The planned retirement in April 2016 of seven smaller coal-fired generating units; The planned purchase of a natural gas-fired plant in Jackson
- Plug-in electric vehicle programs
- A compressed natural gas fueling station and fleet conversions
- Natural gas pipeline and storage infrastructure upgrades
- All new buildings being LEED certified
- Electric grid modernization efforts, including smart meters
Reducing air emissions
Using 2007 as a baseline year, we’re working toward these emission reductions by 2020:
- Sulfur dioxide , 84 percent
- Oxides of nitrogen, 72 percent
- Mercury, 83 percent
We’re also projecting more than a 20 percent reduction in our carbon dioxide emissions by 2020.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
Consumers Energy is looking to farms and other facilities to grow renewable energy in Michigan with a new anaerobic digester pilot program.
Anaerobic digesters generate electricity from biodegradable material such as animal and food waste. The process could be used by agricultural operations, wastewater treatment facilities, and food producers who are interested in learning about turning waste into renewable energy.
In November, we co-hosted an informational forum on the subject with Michigan State University.
We expect to buy 2.4 megawatts of electric capacity from anaerobic digesters selected through this program. It is open to only our electric customers. Applications will be accepted April 1 through June 2.
An informational session for this program will take place at 2 p.m. April 8 at the Henry Center, 3535 Forest Road, Lansing. The session will be webcast for those unable to attend. Learn more at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/EARP.
More renewable energy
SOLAR SELECTIONS: Consumers Energy has selected 19 solar-powered projects offered by Michigan homeowners to supply renewable energy. Projects in 12 counties – Calhoun, Eaton, Genesee, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lenawee, Midland, Muskegon, Newaygo and Ottawa – were selected.
UPCOMING: An informational session about Consumers Energy’s residential solar program will start at 6 p.m. April 8 at the Henry Center, 3535 Forest Road, Lansing. This event is open to the public and will be webcast. Electric customers, renewable energy installers and anyone interested in customer-installed solar generating systems can attend. To RSVP or for more information, visit www.ConsumersEnergy.com/EARP.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
Consumers Energy has opted to buy an existing combined cycle natural gas plant rather than build one now, a choice that will save Michigan customers about $500 million.
We reached a purchase agreement with an independent third party to buy a 540-megawatt combined cycle natural gas plant located in Jackson. The sale is expected to close in January 2016, helping offset a projected electric capacity shortfall created by the planned retirement of the “Classic Seven” coal plants in April 2016.
We also will withdraw a Certificate of Necessity filing for a proposed 700-megawatt generating plant in Thetford Township near Flint.
Buying an existing facility equipped with proven technology was the best solution to offset the projected 840-megawatt capacity shortfall created by the retirement of our smaller, aging coal facilities.
- In addition to the purchase price savings, the Jackson plant — built in 2002 — provides efficiency, flexibility, and a high availability track record.
- It also will allow us to continue to lower emissions and capitalize on today’s lower natural gas prices to provide customers with value.
We are deferring — not cancelling — plans to build the Thetford plant. Ultimately, we will determine whether developing the project is in customers’ best interests by weighing factors such as market demand, reliability factors, and pending energy policy decisions.
Deferring construction of the Thetford natural gas combined cycle power plant does not diminish our commitment to creating jobs in Michigan. We have pledged to increase spending by $1 billion with Michigan-based suppliers over five years as part of the Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) initiative.
We continue to create up to 1,000 building trades jobs annually as work continues on environmental upgrades and ongoing maintenance at two of our larger coal-fired power plants. In addition, skilled trades will be needed to help dismantle the seven smaller coal-fired units we plan to retire. That dismantling process should start in 2017 and extend over several years.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
We encourage our Michigan neighbors to be very careful when visiting areas near our 13 hydroelectric generating plants located on the Manistee, Muskegon, Au Sable, Kalamazoo and Grand Rivers.
In particular, watch for thin ice upstream and downstream of the dams. Ice conditions on the reservoirs next to these hydro plants can change rapidly due to unpredictable weather.
Water currents at a hydroelectric plant can be hazardous in winter, when a reservoir may or may not be covered with ice. Ice near a dam is not reliable and should be avoided by snowmobilers, anglers and anyone else.
Ice-covered water downriver from a hydroelectric facility should also be considered very dangerous, and is never a safe place to walk.
Built between 1906 and 1935, our hydros are an important contributor to renewable energy in Michigan and have a combined generating capacity of approximately 130 megawatts, which is enough to serve about 70,000 people.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
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