energy

(Alan Mbathi/IPB News)

The state is looking into ways to help finance the cost of coal plants that retire early. While the rapid transition to renewable energy may save utility customers money in the long run, it can lead to higher energy bills in the short term. 

(Rebecca Thiele/IPB News)

More than a dozen environmental groups say distributed energy — smaller, localized energy sources and storage like rooftop solar — need to be a part of the state’s energy plan.

(Courtesy of Fresh Energy)

Randolph County, east of Muncie, has passed an ordinance requiring solar farms to have pollinator habitats. This follows the company EDP Renewables’ plans to build a 200 megawatt farm there. 

Court: Michigan Great Lakes Tunnel Deal Constitutional

Jun 11, 2020
Enbridge

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Court of Appeals says the Legislature did not violate the state constitution by approving a deal to drill an oil pipeline tunnel beneath a Great Lakes channel. In a unanimous ruling Thursday, a three-judge panel sided with a lower court that upheld the plan last November. Former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder made the deal with pipeline company Enbridge to build the tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac. Lawmakers approved the agreement in 2018, shortly before Snyder left office.

FILE PHOTO: Peter Balonon-Rosen/IPB News

Because some businesses have shut down due to COVID-19, states in the central part of the country are using less energy. That likely means cleaner air from utilities. 

Consumers Energy Plans Net Zero Carbon Emissions By 2040

Feb 25, 2020
Consumers Energy

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — Consumers Energy says it plans to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2040.

The utility based in Jackson, Michigan, announced the goal Monday.

It follows release of a plan last year for providing electricity to about 6.7 million Michigan residents over the next two decades.

President and CEO Patti Poppe says Consumers hasn't settled on all the details for reducing carbon output from the power it generates or buys for customers.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

A state House bill would require utilities to get the state’s permission before shutting down a coal plant — at least until Indiana can develop a statewide energy plan. 

Dori/Wikimedia Commons

Lawmakers have proposed a measure to create a curriculum for high schoolers to explore careers in energy and utilities. The Senate Committee on Education and Career Development discussed the bill Wednesday.

At the hearing, Sen. Eric Koch (R-Bedford) said the bill would create a talent pipeline for unfilled jobs in electricity, natural gas, water, communications and wastewater.

“I’ve become aware of a serious issue and that is a workforce shortage,” Koch says.

Courtesy Environmental Research Letters "Climate and health benefits of increasing renewable energy deployment in the United States"

The Great Lakes region is the best place in the U.S. to put renewable energy sources to get the most health benefits, according to a new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

The study looked at how much air pollution renewables could reduce based on what each region of the U.S. is using to generate electricity.

Notre Dame Unloads Final Batch Of Coal On Campus

Oct 14, 2019
Annacaroline Caruso

Today Notre Dame unloaded it's last load of coal on campus.

Tom Strattman/AP Photo

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana has experienced a surge in wind farm construction during the past decade that's given the state the nation's 12th-highest number of wind turbines.

But some renewable energy advocates say Indiana risks being outpaced by other states unless it does more to encourage commercial wind power, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

Will Vectren Be Mostly Wind And Solar In The Future?

Sep 3, 2019
Samantha Horton/IPB News

Since Vectren’s plan to build a large natural gas plant was rejected in April, the utility has been looking for other sources to replace its three retiring coal units. If the utility’s recent energy bids are any indication, we could see more renewables in the mix. 

Chris Light/Wikimedia Commons

The state's new energy policy task force had its first meeting on Monday. The group is charged with helping Indiana develop a statewide energy plan. Some of the topics discussed were how the transition away from coal would affect Hoosiers and how local ordinances are affecting the siting wind farms in Indiana.

Transitioning Away From Coal

Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt didn’t convince the Indiana Chamber of Commerce to change its mind about an energy moratorium in Indiana. The coal lobbyist had hoped to revive legislation that would have placed a temporary hold on large utility projects. 

Brandon Smith/IPB News

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Former Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt has likely failed in his efforts to block the proposed closure of several coal-fired power plants in Indiana.

Michigan.gov

There is a new state department in charge of environmental protection in Michigan starting Monday. That’s under an executive order from Governor Gretchen Whitmer to create the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.  

Liesl Clark is the director of the new department. She says the state still has to deal with the Flint water crisis, and PFAS contamination of drinking water.

               

Ex-EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Registers As Energy Lobbyist In Indiana

Apr 18, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former EPA chief Scott Pruitt has registered as an energy lobbyist in Indiana as fossil fuels interests there are fighting the proposed closure of several coal-fired power plants.

Legislation that could have put a moratorium on some new power plants in Indiana was overturned Thursday. The House passed an amendment to remove that language from a bill dealing with various utility matters.

Indiana saw huge job growth in the hybrid and electric vehicle industry last year. The number of people working in that sector jumped 18 percent from 2017. But employment across the state’s entire clean energy industry is expected to slow down this year. 

Brandon Smith

Republicans in a House committee this week voted to largely halt new power plants in Indiana for the next two years.

The moratorium’s architect says he wants to ensure the state’s energy future is balanced.

The Trump administration wants to nix part of an energy efficiency standard on specialty light bulbs. The Natural Resources Defense Council says the move could cost Indiana households $93 in savings a year. 

A controversial bill moving through the state Senate would make changes to a law that lets utilities more quickly recover the costs of certain projects from ratepayers. It involves the Transmission, Distribution, and Storage Improvement Charge or TDSIC. 

Indiana Michigan Power

    

BRIDGMAN, Mich. (AP) - A reactor at a nuclear power plant in Berrien County is shutting down this week for refueling, maintenance and testing.
 
Indiana Michigan Power says power has been reduced at Cook Nuclear Plant's Unit 1 and the unit will be shut down starting Wednesday. The anticipated length of the outage isn't being disclosed. About 1,750 contracted workers will supplement the plant's 1,100-person staff for the work.
 

Purdue Technology Turns Plastics Into Diesel, Gasoline

Mar 5, 2019

Researchers at Purdue University may have found a way to turn plastic bags, milk jugs, and food containers into fuel. 

Winter temps, holiday decor add to power bills

Dec 18, 2017
stock photo

 

Cold weather and holiday decorations mean higher energy bills this time of year. But there are ways to help lower them, and help the planet.

Christmas lights, inflatables and other holiday decorations increase energy usage. And if you use electric heating, your power bills are probably pretty steep.

Indiana Michigan Power spokesperson Tracy Warner says one easy switch is different Christmas lights.

A bill approved Wednesday in a House committee would allow utilities to charge future alternative energy customers a fee.

The proposed energy efficiency alternative would allow utility companies to establish their own goals for energy savings.