Renewable Energy

Consumers Energy Developing Renewable Energy with New Anaerobic Digester Program

Posted on March 26, 2014. Filed under: Business, Company Operations, Electric Generation, Electricity, Environment, Events, Renewable Energy | Tags: , , , , , , |

A graphic from the American Biogas Council offers a look at how anaerobic digesters work.

A graphic from the American Biogas Council offers a look at how anaerobic digesters work.

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

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

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )

Be Safe Around Hydro Dams and Michigan Rivers This Winter

Posted on January 14, 2014. Filed under: Community, Electric Generation, Electric Safety, Electricity, Renewable Energy, Safety, weather | Tags: , , , , , |

5channelswinterWe 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 )

Consumers Energy Efficiently Entering 2014 with LED bulbs in Grand Rapids NYE Event

Posted on December 30, 2013. Filed under: Business, Community, Electric Generation, Electricity, Energy Efficiency, Events, incentives, rebates, Renewable Energy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

NYE2013BallIt may look the same, but this year’s New Year’s Eve ball to be dropped Tuesday from high above downtown Grand Rapids will use a fraction of the electricity of years past, thanks to new LED bulbs from Consumers Energy.

As part of our sponsorship of the 2014 Fox KIA HOT New Year’s Eve Party, we have replaced the 450 halogen light bulbs used the previous five years with Cree Inc. LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs.

The new bulbs use about 80 percent less electricity than similar halogen bulbs and will last up to 20 times longer. The bulbs are among the energy efficiency alternatives priced with instant discounts at area Home Depot stores. Find a retailer with LED or CFL bulb instant discounts from Consumers Energy.

Helping save energy is our Promise to Michigan, and we’re putting that Promise into action with the new LEDs lighting up the ball.

During the approximately six hours it will be lit, the revamped ball will use a little over 24 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, compared to 116 kWh in past years. That savings could power 115 active video game consoles for the same amount of time or light 18 average Michigan homes for a day.

In addition to powering the ball drop, we’re sponsoring a warming tent from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. with free hot cocoa, a photo booth, giveaways and information focused on energy efficiency, smart energy and renewable energy, including our Green Generation program. You can share your pledge to save energy in the New Year via Twitter using #2014Promise @ConsumersEnergy.

For more ways to save energy and money in your home or business in the New Year, visit

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )

Safety First in Construction of Michigan’s Cross Winds Energy Park in Tuscola County

Posted on October 25, 2013. Filed under: Community, Company Operations, Economic Development, Electric Generation, Electricity, Renewable Energy | Tags: , , , , , , |


About 150 construction jobs will be created during Cross Winds construction now and into 2014.

As cooler temperatures set in, a flurry of activity is beginning with construction of the Consumers Energy Cross Winds® Energy Park in Tuscola County.

Safety is top priority as the company expands its supply of Michigan-based renewable energy for its 1.8 million customers. Part of the company’s Promise is working together for safer communities, and a key part of the safety focus is openly communicating about construction activity that residents may encounter.

Akron and Columbia Township residents recently received a “safety alert” post card from Consumers Energy.  The company urges motorists to be alert for construction traffic in these townships and throughout Tuscola County since many construction materials are coming from suppliers located in Michigan’s Thumb, southeastern Michigan and other parts of the state. 

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 and turbine foundations this fall.   

About 150 construction jobs will be created during Cross Winds construction now and into 2014.  The facility will include 62 wind turbines, with a capacity of 105 megawatts when it begins generating renewable energy for Consumers Energy customers in late 2014.   Map of the Cross Winds Energy Park.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )

Consumers Energy Releases First-Ever Accountability Report

Posted on October 7, 2013. Filed under: Business, Company Operations, Economic Development, Economy, Electric Generation, Electricity, energy value, Environment, Natural Gas, Rates, Renewable Energy | Tags: , , , , , , , |


The Consumers Energy accountability report details our efforts to meet Michigan’s energy needs, as we’ve done for more than 125 years.

After more than 125 years of supplying Michigan with safe, affordable and reliable energy, we have issued our first-ever Accountability Report detailing our efforts to continue meeting Michigan’s energy needs.

The 20-page report offers an in-depth look at our performance and commitment to be the best in class among the Midwest’s energy utilities. The report also highlights our commitment to Michigan businesses, as well as our corporate citizenship and role in making the state’s air the cleanest it has been in a generation. Download 2013 Accountability Report

Consumers Energy is committed to making the right, sustainable choices to serve our customers safely and affordably and to act responsibly as a corporate citizen. That means holding ourselves accountable to the highest standards of safety, operational performance and ethical behavior, and complying with all laws, rules and regulations that govern our industry.

Among the report’s highlights:

  • We have been Michigan’s second-leading investor since 2008. Our commitment to increase spending with Michigan-based businesses by $1 billion over five years through the Pure Michigan Business Connect initiative is in addition to the $2 billion the company spends annually in Michigan on goods and services.
  • We are spending $7 billion on renewable energy, environmental quality, energy efficiency, energy reliability and natural gas and electric infrastructure from 2013 to 2017.
  • We are on track to provide 10 percent of our electricity from renewable sources to customers by 2015. We are investing in wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectric renewable energy sources.
  • Giving by the company, its corporate foundation, employees and retirees has more than doubled since 2009, to $10 million in 2012.
  • Air emissions from the company’s generating plants have fallen significantly since 2007 and are projected to continue falling through this decade. Mercury emissions are expected to decrease by 83 percent from 2007 to 2020.
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )

Senior Wins Top Prize in Student Art Competition with Green Theme

Posted on October 1, 2013. Filed under: Community, Education, Electric Generation, Electricity, Energy Efficiency, Environment, Events, Renewable Energy | Tags: , , , , , |


“Illusion or Reality? Renewable Energy” Artwork by Daniel Lopez, Grand Rapids Public Schools

Art is SMART for a Grand Rapids area high school senior, who won a $1,000 college scholarship for his abstract painting about renewable energy.

Daniel Lopez, a senior at City High School, was selected from among the top 20 entries in the inaugural Consumers Energy and Grand Rapids Public Schools “SmartArt” competition announced this week as part of ArtPrize. View SmartArt Top 20 entries.

SmartArt stands for “Students Making Art with a Renewable Theme.” And more than 50 entries were initially submitted with a theme of energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability.

A large vinyl rendition of the winning art, “Illusion or Reality? Renewable Energy,” is on display outside Consumers Energy’s Ellsworth substation at Monroe Avenue and Fulton Street in downtown Grand Rapids.

Lopez, in his artist statement, said he wanted to create an abstract painting using different colors and images to show different types of renewable energy available.

“The painting as a whole expresses the different available sources that we can use to generate energy and the importance of it to make Earth a better place,” Lopez wrote.

Part of our Promise to Michigan is caring for the communities we serve. And recognizing and supporting today’s young artists helps create tomorrow’s ArtPrize entries.

The second through 10th place finishers, in descending order are: Alexandria Hardy; Isabel Flikkema; Dominic Russell and Rolando Torrez; Kaya Henderson; Morgan Barber; Cindy Xiao; Rohullah Hassani; Erin Eastham and Roxanne Cabrera and Jordan Morrison.

ArtPrize, now in its fifth year, attracts nearly a half million visitors to its more than 160 indoor and outdoor venues in and around downtown Grand Rapids. Time Magazine included ArtPrize on its worldwide list of “Five Festive Events You Won’t Want to Miss in 2013.”

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )

Kalamazoo College Embraces Renewable Energy, Earns Green Honor from Consumers Energy

Posted on September 27, 2013. Filed under: Business, Electric Generation, Electricity, Environment, Renewable Energy | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


Consumers Energy names Kalamazoo College as its 2013 Green Generation Customer of the Year.

As Michigan’s oldest college founded in 1833, Kalamazoo College also is demonstrating a commitment to Michigan’s future with a new generation of environmental awareness and sustainability on campus. And thanks to voluntary participation in the Consumers Energy renewable energy program, Kalamazoo College has been named the 2013 “Green Generation Customer of the Year.”

The 1,450-student liberal arts and sciences college purchases 720,000 kilowatt-hours (KWh) of renewable energy annually from Consumers Energy, enough to supply 8 percent of the college’s total electrical use. Kalamazoo College has been a Green Generation participant since January 2009 and is among the top 10 all-time program participants. 

Past Green Generation customer of the year recipients are Irwin Seating, Grand Rapids Community College, University of Michigan – Flint, Dow Corning, City of Grand Rapids, and Wolverine Worldwide.

Consumers Energy’s Green Generation program is available to residential and business electric customers and has nearly 17,000 participants. Launched in 2005, it was the first voluntary renewable energy program in Michigan.

Green Generation has sparked development of several renewable energy projects in the state, including the Michigan Wind 1 park in the Thumb region. Other Green Generation projects include biomass facilities located near Birch Run, Lennon, and Marshall. Consumers Energy also purchases electricity for the program generated by wind turbines near Mackinaw City. All of the projects are located in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and all sources are Green-e certified as renewable.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )

Solar Projects Ready to Move Forward in Michigan

Posted on August 29, 2013. Filed under: Electric Generation, Electricity, Renewable Energy | Tags: , , , , , |


Consumers Energy is offering a free solar energy information session Oct. 9 in Mount Pleasant.

Solar projects planned by 16 residential customers have been selected to move forward as part of Consumers Energy’s ongoing implementation of Michigan’s energy reform law. 

The random-selection process for these qualified applicants is part of the utility’s Experimental Advanced Renewable Program (EARP).  The program provides for the long-term purchase of renewable energy generated by solar energy systems owned by the utility’s electric customers. 

Residential customer projects in 13 Lower Peninsula counties were selected during this phase of the program. The projects will provide 118.6 kilowatts of electric capacity. Customer projects were selected in the following counties: Antrim, Clare, Grand Traverse, Ingham (2), Ionia, Jackson (3), Kalamazoo, Leelanau, Midland, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa and Wexford.

A new phase of the program also is starting. Consumers Energy is accepting applications from developers that integrate solar energy systems into new home construction. Applications for this phase will be due no later than Sept. 13.

Consumers Energy will be hosting a public information session about the EARP on Oct. 9. This event is open to the public, and electric customers, renewable energy installers and anyone interested in customer-installed solar generating systems is encouraged to attend.

The session will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Three Fires Room at Soaring Eagle Conference Center, 6800 Soaring Eagle Blvd., Mount Pleasant. To RSVP, visit

The meeting will coincide with the opening of the next two phases of the program Oct. 1, for residential and non-residential customers. All application must be received by 5 p.m. Nov. 6.

Consumers Energy’s Experimental Advanced Renewable Program is enabled by Michigan’s 2008 energy reform law. The program currently has contracts in place to purchase renewable energy from more than 200 customer-owned solar generators.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )

Solar Investment Pays Off for Michigan Blueberry Farm

Posted on August 23, 2013. Filed under: Electric Generation, Electricity, Renewable Energy | Tags: , , , , , |

BlueberriesAt Bruce Reenders’ blueberry farm in West Olive, Mich., one of the more interesting parts of the site is up in the air, not in the ground.

Reenders Blueberry Farms has dozens of solar panels installed on the roof of his pole barn, through the Consumers Energy Experimental Advanced Renewable Program (EARP) for non-residential customers.

His farm was selected in a lottery as part of nine solar projects planned by six businesses through the program.

The program is rewarding customers for innovating around their businesses while also helping the environment.

A long-term contract with Consumers Energy pays Reenders back 22.9 cents per kilowatt-hour for use of the panels, a higher rate than what customers are charged now.

He paid $99,360 for the project, but between tax credits and a federal grant, the cost shrunk to $47,000.

Annually, Consumers Energy is slated to pay him about $7,000, meaning the project will pay for itself in about seven years.

“I guess you could say I have some stock in solar energy,” he said.

Consumers Energy is the largest renewable energy supplier in Michigan, and through the EARP program, we plan to purchase renewable energy back from 191 customer-owned solar generators.

The EARP program will ultimately total about 6 megawatts of capacity, enough electricity to power about 240,000 incandescent light bulbs at 100-watts each.

Consumers Energy plans to continue adding capacity on a quarterly basis and, if qualified applications exceed available capacity, keep holding public drawings to select customers.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )

Winning Picture is Pure Michigan for Green Generation

Posted on July 23, 2013. Filed under: Electric Generation, Electricity, Renewable Energy, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |


Winning photo from This is My Michigan photo and trivia contest, sponsored by Consumers Energy.

When Kristen and Todd Wheeler’s son, Jackson, jumped into the waters of Lake Michigan during a family vacation, the moment was picture-perfect.

A photo of the Wheelers’ then-1-year-old son playing in the water during the family’s annual trip to the lake helped them win Consumers Energy’s first-ever “This is My Michigan” photo contest, designed to spotlight and benefit Michigan communities.

The contest also continues the company’s commitment to engaging in diverse communities statewide.

“This contest illustrates the pride that Michigan residents have for their state, and we were thrilled to be part of that, caring for the Michigan communities we serve,” said Thomas Shirilla, Consumers Energy’s Green Generation program manager.

The company will plant 5,000 trees throughout Michigan in honor of the contest, an extension of the company’s Green Generation program.

The program supports renewable energy efforts by the company. More than 17,000 customers have voluntarily enrolled in supporting additional energy from landfill gas and wind sources.

The family will receive a paid dream vacation in the state for their victory. Nine other contest finalists will receive $1,000 prizes for their photos.

To learn more about the Green Generation program, go to

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )

« Previous Entries

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 327 other followers

%d bloggers like this: