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So Disappointing…

Doug Houseman's picture
Visionary and innovator in the utility industry and grid modernization Burns & McDonnell

I have a broad background in utilities and energy. I worked for Capgemini in the Energy Practice for more than 15 years. During that time I rose to the position of CTO of the 12,000 person...

  • Member since 2017
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  • Jan 27, 2022
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On the 14th the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy released the Draft MI Healthy Climate Plan. The Governor’s name is in the document 14 times. The number of times it talks about Wind Turbines? Zero. For a clean energy plan, that is an oversight.

There is nothing about wind turbines offshore, or in the Upper Peninsula. Nothing about recycling massive open pit mines into pumped storage. Instead there are several pages that are not focused on climate, but rather different issues. 

Overall, the report is very light on specifics, beyond goals. Adopting a better building code, yes, it is mentioned, retrofitting existing buildings is some sort of a specific fashion, not mentioned. 

Heat pumps + natural gas mentioned, how to do that for the 70% of the people who are low income in Detroit - not mentioned. 

Given the number of people involved and the time they took creating this report, I am disappointed. Several sections are “To be completed”. The appendices are missing. Goals are not summarized but scattered through the report. Apart from state government building there is little firm action in the “Plan”. Rather the plan calls for more planning in several areas. 

The report feels more like the first long report a high school student had to write. Or a sandwich with no filling. 

If it were mine to do I would…

1)    Remove regulatory roadblocks in the state for wind turbines and solar farms

2)    Remove regulatory roadblocks and encourage more pumped storage like Ludington

3)    Work with our federal delegation to install wind turbines in Lake Michigan

4)    Adopt the best energy efficiency code possible for premises and create a building grading system. I would require all buildings in Michigan that are occupied to be graded by 2027. Grades would be affixed to the deeds of all buildings and posted in commercial buildings. 

5)    Require smart EV chargers that can be remotely managed

6)    Encourage V2G

7)    Create an Institute for EV recycling in the state

8)    Require buildings that are not the top 50 percent of building efficiency to be retrofit before they could be sold and create a program to help low-income owners. 

9)    Work with the federal government to take low efficiency appliances off the market and expand Energy Star, including encouraging that a cold weather lab be established in Detroit by the EPA or DOE.

10) Change state regulation to encourage the building or rebuilding of distribution circuits to handle a fully electrified society

11) Require the state board of education to adopt lessons in energy efficiency and energy waste for First, Sixth, and 9th Grade. Maybe First grade is just a coloring book reminding children to turn off lights, simple things that can make a difference.

12)    Adopt the National Electric Code of 2020 and be quick to adopt the 2023 version , both have vital safety requirements for household solar and storage. Adopting NFPA-855 for safe installation of storage would be wise as well.

13)    As a state I would require energy assurance before any current generation facility is decommissioned and removed. If society is going to be electric, then society needs to take responsibility for being able to provide electricity 24/365.

14)    Allow wind turbines on state owned land, with a reasonable buffer to private land

15)    Move the DNR and MSP fleets to electric

16)    Require EVSE every 10 miles on state highways and Interstates.

17)    Remove the non-energy sections from the report and create a new report with those items in it. 

18)    Keep state and local regulations on energy in lock step, allowing one community to require one thing, and another something else, makes everyone costs higher.

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