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Second of seven scheduled energy forums held at GVSU


Caroline MacGregor
February 26, 2013 | WGVU   Input from a series of seven forums, including Monday's, will be gathered, assimilated and digested by policy makers who use the information to make critical decisions about the state’s energy future.

The agenda started off with presentations from First Energy Solutions, ITC Holdings, The Michigan League of Conservation Voters, MI Energy Innovation Business Council and the Salvation Army before being opened to public comment. Energy efficiency, renewable energy, state regulations among the topics tackled by presenters during the well attended gathering. Existing data and studies will also be considered by Governor Snyder when he offers recommendations on the state’s energy future in December.

Dan Scripps with the MI Energy Innovation Business Council says lowering costs drives innovation which further reduces costs. He gives the example of one single technological breakthrough - moving the hubs of tower turbines from 70 to 100 meters off the ground, enabling an increase of 23 percent increase in capacity or power output - thanks to better wind quality - which equals a 55 percent increase in energy production for turbine.

“So lower costs will mean more people will want to be engaged in this space. The more people that are engaged in this space, you come up with new technological breakthroughs that further reduce the cost.”

John Potvin is with Midwest Energy Group, a company that helps clients identify, design and implement energy efficiency projects. They rely heavily on incentives through utility companies as well as state and federal incentives. He attended the forum looking for commitment to those incentives as the state moves toward getting 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025.

 “It was important for us to hear that the state of Michigan and the utility companies that represent us here are committed to energy efficiency and going to continue with some of the programs that help customers that want to do energy efficiency projects - really get them to that tipping point of actually being able to afford to install those measures to get them the energy efficiency they hope to achieve.”

Potvin wants to Michigan become more competitive with other states.

"As evidenced by the speakers today, we realize we are not that competitive when it comes to the Midwest states and who surrounds us and that plays a huge part in having businesses locate here for future expansion. It's important that we tackle this because business owners today truly look at every single line item"

The fact that Mi is a peninsula but robustly interconnected to power systems in other states was emphasized several times. The next public forum will be held at Delta College – University Center in the Saginaw/Bay County areas. All forums are held from 1pm to 5pm. More information can be found at www.Michigan.gov/energy.

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