Renewable Energy

Top 7 Ways to Enjoy Michigan’s Great Outdoors; Plan A Family Vacation Near Consumers Energy’s Hydros

Posted on April 29, 2015. Filed under: Community, Company Operations, Electric Generation, Electricity, energy, Environment, Forestry, Renewable Energy, sustainability | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

How Consumers Energy generates electricity from hydroelectric dams.

ABOVE: See how Consumers Energy generates electricity from hydroelectric dams.

Nothing is quite like Michigan’s great outdoors. With more than 2,600 miles of trails, our state ranks #1 for the most active, multi-use trails in the nation. We encourage residents to take advantage of our beautiful natural resources by planning family adventures near Consumers Energy’s hydroelectric properties. Michiganders can experience some of the most scenic areas along the Muskegon, Au Sable, Kalamazoo and Manistee rivers.

Top 7 Activities in Michigan for Outdoor Enthusiasts

This season, more than 12,000 acres of our land and 78 recreational sites associated with our waters are open to the public. Take your family on a fun-filled vacation near our hydros to:

  1. Camp- Pitch a tent or park a camper at a campground near Manistee, Au Sable and the Muskegon rivers. There are more than 2,800 campsites associated with the Hodenpyl, Tippy, Foote, Alcona, Mio and Hardy dams.
  2. Hike- A three-mile path parallel to the Muskegon River entices hikers to stretch their legs on the nature trail at the Hardy Dam, where 26 tree species are identified with plaques. Sites at Hardy and Croton have also been managed for the endangered Karner blue butterfly. If you’re an ambitious hiker, you can cross a suspension footbridge downstream of Hodenpyl Dam for a 20-mile trek where the North Country National Scenic Trail connects to the Manistee River trail.
  3. Fish- Anglers experience a world-class inland fishery in Michigan each spring when hard-fighting steelhead leave the Great Lakes to spawn in rivers. Many steelhead swim downstream of Tippy, Foote, Croton and Calkins Bridge dams. Note: Fishing licenses and courtesy toward fellow anglers are required.
  4. Canoe- Paddle on all rivers along Consumers Energy’s hydros. The 23-mile stretch between Mio Dam to Alcona Pond on the Au Sable river is part of the internationally-known Au Sable River Canoe Marathon every July.
  5. Bird Watch- Bald eagles, a variety of waterfowl and species like pileated woodpeckers call our hydro property home. For the best chances to view rare, native trumpeter swans, visit the Loud and Cooke ponds on the Au Sable river.
  6. Turkey Hunt- Call in a bearded turkey on more than 12,000 acres along the Muskegon, Au Sable and Manistee rivers. Note: Properly licensed hunters only.
  7. Pick Morels- This spring, search for tasty morel mushrooms at the “morel capital of Michigan”— the Hodenpyl Dam near Mesick.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What is your favorite warm-weather activity near Consumers Energy’s hydros? Comment below!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off on Top 7 Ways to Enjoy Michigan’s Great Outdoors; Plan A Family Vacation Near Consumers Energy’s Hydros )

Guest Blog: Jessica Spagnuolo, Consumers Energy Sustainability Lead for Environmental Services, Discusses How Consumers Energy Continues To Go Green

Posted on April 22, 2015. Filed under: Business, Community, Company Operations, Economic Development, Education, employee, energy, Environment, Guest Blogs, In Your Community Q&A, reliability, Renewable Energy, sustainability | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Jessica Spagnuolo,

Jessica Spagnuolo, Consumers Energy Sustainability Lead for Environmental Services

Each year, about 164 million tons of solid waste goes into landfills across the country. In order to be stewards of the earth, Consumers Energy employees are taking steps to reduce the company’s environmental footprint, leaving the Great Lakes State better than we found it.

We will continue supporting sustainable efforts by saving 1 million cubic yards of landfill space through 2019 ─ the equivalent of five football fields stacked from goal line to goal line, 100 feet deep.

Conserve water with these sustainable tips at home

To accomplish this goal, our employees are encouraged to adopt an environmentally conscious culture by reducing, reusing and recycling waste. This will affect our daily work by:

  • Rethinking how we manage and avoid generating waste
  • Changing how we order products, how much we order and how they are packaged
  • Using what we purchase and purchasing only what we need
  • Altering how we demolish a building, considering “deconstruction” to repurpose the materials
  • Reconsidering how we can best utilize surplus materials so that disposal is the very last option
  • Updating work processes, such as deciding, “Do I really need to print this?”

We all have the ability to help sustain Michigan economically, environmentally and socially. In doing so, we need to think about how our jobs impact the environment and our communities.

Support Green Generation renewable energy from your home or business today!

In addition to teaching individual responsibilities to employees, we have also established company “Green Teams” across the state. Their purpose is to lead local waste avoidance programs, conduct waste assessments and report on progress. Leaders of “Green Teams” enjoyed our Reduce, Reuse and Recycle It Better workshop below:

How Much Has Consumers Energy Recycled?

Landfill-Avoidance_4-21[1]Since 1992, Consumers Energy has recycled about 704,800 cubic yards of materials like:

  • 537,547 gallons of antifreeze
  • 6,164,640 gallons of used oil
  • 268,922 gallons of fuel
  • 16,738 gallons of paint
  • 644,777 pounds of batteries
  • 633,923 pounds of lamps
  • 112,566 pounds of lighting ballasts
  • 26,969 pounds of mercury equipment
  • 66,575 tons of metal
  • 146,657 yards of paper
  • 68,300 yards of cardboard
  • 195,467 pounds of electronics
  • 259,726 tons of wood and wood products
  • 4,985 tons of electrical equipment

 

By reducing, reusing and recycling our waste, we are leaving behind a planet that our children and our grandchildren can enjoy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It’s Never Too Early to Teach Your Children about Sustainability

Jessica Spagnuolo is the secretary for the U.S. Green Building Council West Michigan Chapter Executive Board, a communications committee member for the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, and she also coordinates Adopt-A-Highway and the annual Grand River Clean-Up for Consumers Energy in the Jackson area. She is an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, with a degree in Sustainable Business. Spagnuolo is very passionate about nature, leadership, fitness and considers herself a crazy cat lady.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off on Guest Blog: Jessica Spagnuolo, Consumers Energy Sustainability Lead for Environmental Services, Discusses How Consumers Energy Continues To Go Green )

Michigan Hydros Help Bald Eagle Recovery; Consumers Energy Provides Habitats to Species

Posted on April 7, 2015. Filed under: Community, Company Operations, Education, Electric Generation, employee, Environment, In Your Community Q&A, reliability, Renewable Energy, sustainability | Tags: , , , , , , |

In 2014, bald eagles reached a record 750 breeding pairs in Michigan thanks to Consumers Energy’s effort to enhance habitats. Michigan dams, including a number of Consumers Energy’s hydros, create backwater habitats where eagles can find secluded nesting sites and plenty of fish that are safe for them to eat.

The 750 bald eagle breeding pairs estimated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the highest number since their census has been taken.

Consumers Energy’s Bald Eagle Management Plan

In the 1970s, chemicals like PCB and DDT were banned because they caused eagles’ eggshells to thin and break during the bird’s incubation. This severely reduced the eagle population across Michigan and the continental U.S.

The areas around our hydro reservoirs provided refuge for eagles and other wildlife, since the dams block toxins transported by migrating Great Lakes fish. Consumers Energy’s bald eagle management plan includes:

  • Protecting old growth white pines
  • Establishing a protection zone to minimize disturbance for each nest
  • Protecting the eagles’ food supply
  • Contributing to eagle productivity census flights
  • Successfully exceeding productivity goal of 1.0 eagles fledged per nest
  • Successfully added new breeding territories which increased annual eagle productivity on the hydros by more than 50 percent

Bald Eagle Fun Facts

There’s more to a bald eagle than being known as the United States’ national bird. Get the facts below:

  • The bald eagle isn’t actually bald. Its white head only appears bald from a distance.
  • The bird can only be found in North America.
  • Bald eagles choose one mate for the rest of their lives—unless they become widowed.
  • The bird can’t swim—but will sit in the water and row itself with its wings.
  • Bald eagles have no sense of smell. They can only sense if their food is spoiled after tasting.
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

7 Tips to Improve Your Fuel Economy in Michigan Winter Weather; PEV

Posted on February 2, 2015. Filed under: Education, electric, Electric Vehicles, Electricity, energy, How to, reliability, Renewable Energy, storm, sustainability, weather | Tags: , , , , , , |

You know a Michigan winter is in full swing when 35 degrees sounds like a heat wave. While it’s important to take safety precautions for your home and business during the single digits, it’s also a great time to focus on improving your fuel economy.

How Does a Michigan Winter Affect Your Fuel Economy?

You can improve your fuel economy by driving Plug-in Electric Vehicles or hybrids, but even they can be affected by cold weather.

Due to cold weather:

  • It takes longer for your engine to reach its most fuel-efficient temperature
  • Heated seats, window defrosters and heater fans use extra power
  • Air is more dense which decreases pressure in your tires and increases rolling resistance and aerodynamic drag
  • Battery performance weakens which affects the regenerative breaking system on hybrids

Severe Winter Weather Drops Your MPG

If you have to commute in severe winter weather, your miles-per-gallon can drop significantly because:

  • Using four-wheel drive increases fuel use
  • Icy, snow-covered roads make it difficult for your tires to effectively grip, which wastes energy
  • Speeds below 30 to 40 mph on slick roads further reduces fuel economy

Tips to Enjoy Your PEV on Michigan Roads

 7 Tips to Improve Your Fuel Economy

Enhance your fuel economy this season with these tips and tricks:

  1. Don’t use seat warmers or defrosters excessively
  2. Use the oil type recommended by your manufacturer for driving in cold weather
  3. Combine trips to drive less often with a cold engine
  4. If you drive a PEV or hybrid, preheat the cabin while plugged into the charger to increase range
  5. Save energy and increase range for your PEV or hybrid by using the seat warmers instead of the cabin heater
  6. Minimize idling your car to warm it up and reduce pollution. Vehicle manufacturers usually recommend driving off gently after about 30 seconds.
  7. Park your car in a warm spot like a garage to increase temperature of vehicle

Click for more information on plug-in electric vehicles

How do you improve your fuel economy during the winter months? Comment below.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off on 7 Tips to Improve Your Fuel Economy in Michigan Winter Weather; PEV )

Technology Grants to be Awarded to Michigan Schools in Mid-January

Posted on January 7, 2015. Filed under: Community, Community Profiles, Company Operations, Corporate Giving, Education, electric, Electric Generation, Electric Safety, Electricity, energy, Grants, In Your Community Q&A, Natural Gas Safety, reliability, Renewable Energy, Safety | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Consumers Energy will award technology grants to six classrooms around the state in mid January.

“We realize that schools have tight budgets,” said Tara Ragauss, Education Programs Manager. “We felt it was important to provide classrooms with up-to-date technology that will benefit the learning experience of students.”

Second through sixth grade teachers, in schools served by Consumers Energy, will automatically be entered in the drawing by signing up for the new EmPOWERed Kids program if their presentation took place before December 31, 2014.

The free interactive program is endorsed by the Michigan Department of Education and is designed to educate students about energy topics such as:

  • The dangerous consequences of touching electric power lines or acting carelessly with electrical appliances.
  • Learning the three Rs: recognize, react and report natural gas leaks.
  • The role of utility flags and why safe digging is important.

Download the emPOWERed Kids App

Since launching in September we’ve done 55 EmPOWERed Kids presentations reaching about 2,500 students. In total, we have reached more than 40,000 students this school year through our educational programs.

An additional six technology grant recipients will be selected at random on May 20, 2015. Teachers who have an EmPOWERed Kids presentation in their second through sixth grade classroom between January 2015 and May 15, 2015 will also be automatically entered into that drawing.

To sign up for the program, email us at education@cmsenergy.com or visit us at ConsumersEnergy.com/teachers.

ConsumersEnergy.com/teachers also has lessons plans, educational games and other resources for teachers.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY: A purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Current Michigan teachers, who are legal residents of Michigan, who are Consumers Energy customers as of 9/1/14 and at least 18 years old are eligible. Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes ends 5/15/15. For Official Rules, alternate method of energy, prize descriptions and odds disclosure, contact education@cmsenergy.com. Sponsor: Consumers Energy Company.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off on Technology Grants to be Awarded to Michigan Schools in Mid-January )

VIDEO: 2014 In Review with Consumers Energy

Posted on December 22, 2014. Filed under: Business, Community, Company Operations, Consumers, Corporate Giving, Economic Development, Economy, Education, electric, Electric Generation, Electric Safety, Electricity, employee, energy, Energy Efficiency, Events, In Your Community Q&A, Natural Gas Safety, rebates, reliability, Renewable Energy, Safety, storm, sustainability, weather | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

As we say goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015, Consumers Energy is proud to share a number of accomplishments from the past year.

We worked hard to serve our customers and improve our communities. In 2014, Consumers Energy:

  • Created a severe weather assistance team that made more than 125,000 calls to help customers manage their bills during the Polar Vortex
  • Launched the Slow Down and Go Around campaign to ensure a safe work environment for our crews
  • Accelerated the plan to bring smart meters to homes and businesses two years early
  • Raised more than $300,000 to help customers with their heating bills by participating in Walks for Warmth
  • Gave $9 million in contributions to Michigan nonprofit organizations
  • Recycled 100,000 refrigerators
  • Increased in-state spending to $150 million to help grow Michigan’s economy
  • Built a 24-mile long pipeline to transport affordable and reliable natural gas to customers
  • Implemented a nationally recognized Incident Command System to improve emergency response
  • Opened new LEED Certified Service Centers to better assist customers
  • Completed and opened the Cross Winds Energy Park to meet the 10 percent renewable energy goal one year ahead of schedule

Thank you to all Consumers Energy employees, retirees and volunteers, and to our residential and business customers, for helping make 2014 such a successful year.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off on VIDEO: 2014 In Review with Consumers Energy )

America Recycles Day; Recycle Tips for Your Home, Business

Posted on November 14, 2014. Filed under: Business, Community, Company Operations, Consumers, Economy, employee, energy, Environment, How to, Renewable Energy, sustainability | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Why celebrate America Recycles Day? That’s easy—to encourage more people to join the movement. Keeping America beautiful takes teamwork and dedication. Check out all the social, environmental and economic benefits of the recycling movement and industry:

  • Conserves natural resources
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
  • Saves energy
  • Prevents pollution
  • Reduces the need for new landfills
  • Lowers costs to businesses
  • Employs more than 1 million people

Three Reasons to Recycle CFL Lightbulbs

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Recycling is an important initiative at Consumers Energy. We stress the importance to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle as part of our commitment to the environment. Throughout Michigan, we’ve placed special collection bins at our corporate offices, service centers and plants and have recycled:

  • 523,484 gallons of antifreeze
  • 5,938,603 gallons of used oil
  • 267,780 gallons of fuel
  • 16,266 gallons of paint
  • 608,694 pounds of batteries
  • 26,599 pounds of mercury equipment
  • 55,690 tons of metals
  • 67,822 yards of corrugated cardboard
  • 143,824 yards of paper
  • 253,363 tons of wood and wood products
  • All units – toner cartridges
  • 611,097 pounds of lamps
  • 190,948 pounds of electronics
  • 111,266 pounds of lighting ballasts
  • 4,985 tons of electrical equipment

Recycle your appliances with Consumers Energy

Consumers Energy also buys reusable, recycled and other environmentally products like:

  • Recycled paper
  • Cardboard products
  • Tires
  • Low-mercury fluorescent lamps

These achievements have helped conserve about 700,000 cubic yards of municipal landfill space.

You can recycle from your home and business too! Take the ‘I Recycle’ Pledge and recycle these top 10 items above. (from AmericaRecyclesDay.org)

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off on America Recycles Day; Recycle Tips for Your Home, Business )

Behind-the-Scenes of a Consumers Energy Employee; Careers in Energy Week

Posted on October 16, 2014. Filed under: Company Operations, Consumers, Economic Development, Economy, Education, electric, Electric Generation, Electric Safety, Electricity, employee, energy, Energy Efficiency, Environment, Events, Natural Gas Safety, reliability, Renewable Energy, Safety, sustainability | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Although we’re rounding out the end of Careers in Energy Week, Consumers Energy wants to keep public awareness about energy-related jobs alive well after the statewide celebration. We plan to continue recruiting top Michigan talent for rewarding careers in energy.

Consumers Energy is pleased to work with DTE Energy and the Michigan Energy Workforce Development Consortium during this celebration to raise awareness for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

To hear about job openings, follow Consumers Energy on LinkedIn!

A Day in the Life of a Consumers Energy Employee

From lineworkers to power plant operators, customer service representatives to accountants and technicians to engineers, there are a variety of careers Consumers Energy offers throughout the state of Michigan. Check out a few behind-the-scenes videos from Consumers Energy employees:

1. System Controller

 

2. Senior Project Manager

 

3. Lineworker Trainer

 

4. Electric Field Leader

 

5. Dispatcher

 

Check out current job openings at Consumers Energy!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off on Behind-the-Scenes of a Consumers Energy Employee; Careers in Energy Week )

Michigan Students Wanted for Careers in Energy Week, Consumers Energy Internships

Posted on October 15, 2014. Filed under: Community, Company Operations, Consumers, Economic Development, Economy, Education, electric, Electric Generation, Electricity, employee, energy, Energy Efficiency, Environment, Events, Renewable Energy, sustainability | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

“Careers in Energy Week” isn’t just a time to create awareness for Michigan’s energy sector– it’s an opportunity to recruit Michigan students. From lineworkers to power plant operators, customer service representatives to accountants and technicians to engineers, there are a variety of careers Consumers Energy offers throughout the state of Michigan.

Michigan Students Wanted

Our focus is to increase worker skills and enhance training programs to continue the growth of Michigan’s energy sector. Check out careers in energy by the numbers:

  • Michigan’s energy workforce currently makes up 84,000 jobs
  • Over the next seven years, 50 percent of utility workers will be eligible for retirement
  • Jobs are expected to increase by 5.6 percent by 2018
  • Median salaries in the energy industry range from $51,572 to $88,027 with an associate degree and industry credentials

Consumers Energy offers a variety of programs for students to begin their career in energy. From elementary school to college graduates, we’re investing in Michigan’s future with a strategic recruiting initiative.

Interns pose for a 'grouphie' at the Intern Luncheon 2014.

Consumers Energy Interns pose for a ‘grouphie’ on Intern Challenge Presentation day, August 2014.

Consumers Energy Summer Internship Program

We offer paid summer internships in various departments and Michigan locations from May to the end of August. Consumers Energy interns have real-world responsibilities, assignments and projects and even participate in our Summer Intern Challenge.  To qualify, you should:

  • Be enrolled in a 4-year college program
  • 3.0 GPA or better
  • Study programs like engineering, information systems and technology, accounting/finance or business
  • Be willing to learn
  • Have effective verbal and written communications skills
  • Demonstrate excellent leadership ability
  • Be able to use critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Have the ability to work 40-hours per week

Check out more information on Consumers Energy Internships!

 

Meet Consumers Energy representatives at career fairs this fall! Below is our On Campus Schedule:

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off on Michigan Students Wanted for Careers in Energy Week, Consumers Energy Internships )

‘Careers in Energy Week’ Kicks Off in Michigan, Consumers Energy Teams with DTE Energy

Posted on October 13, 2014. Filed under: Company Operations, Consumers, Economic Development, Economy, Education, electric, Electric Generation, Electricity, employee, energy, Energy Efficiency, Events, Renewable Energy, sustainability | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

In recognition of “Careers in Energy Week” in Michigan, we’re helping increase public awareness of energy-focused options in the workforce. As Michigan’s energy sector transforms to develop cleaner technology with energy efficient methods, it’s essential to invest time into enhancing workers’ skills. The sustainability of Michigan’s energy industry depends on it.

We’re pleased to work with DTE Energy and the Michigan Energy Workforce Development Consortium to support and raise awareness for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. The energy sector in Michigan:

  • Employs 84,000 people and creates more than 1,200 new opportunities a year
  • Consumers Energy and DTE Energy combine to provide 500 co-op and internship opportunities every year

 Careers in Energy: Pathways

The Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) launched Get Into Energy to build awareness among students, parents, teachers and guidance counselors about the many career options in the energy industry. Check out these Career Pathways Roadmaps to learn more about different types of careers in energy:

Click graphic to begin the Career Pathways Roadmaps at GetintoEnergy.com

Click the graphic to begin at GetintoEnergy.com

 October is also STEM careers month! Check out their full list of events!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off on ‘Careers in Energy Week’ Kicks Off in Michigan, Consumers Energy Teams with DTE Energy )

« Previous Entries

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 513 other followers

%d bloggers like this: