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All Things Michigan

Michigan travels, events, photos, and more

Filtering by Tag: alternative-energy

Construction has started on Michigan's largest wind farm

Andrew Norton

The construction of 32 wind turbines has begun in Michigan's thumb between Elkton and Pigeon. The turbines will produce 52.8 megawatts of electricity. That is enough to power 15,000 homes. I found it interesting that the credit arm of John Deere is helping to finance the project. I checked out their website,, and found that they are actively trying to invest in wind power by extending credit and investing equity into projects like these. The turbines are located on farmland that will continue to be cultivated.

I know a lot of folks complain that wind turbines are an unsightly blemish upon Michigan's lovely horizon. I guess I would rather see wind turbines with their enormous white blades churning in the breeze instead of a huge smokestack from another coal-fired electric generating plant.

Read the article at

Speaking of Alternative Fuels

Andrew Norton

Just came across this while reading one of my favorite blogs - Make (all about making stuff). You can purchase a dvd that shows you how to convert your standard diesel powered vehicle to one supplemented with used vegetable oil at For $19.95 they show you how to run a duel-tank system (meaning you still have your factory installed diesel engine and tank) so you can still run on standard diesel whenever you please. They figure that by running on used veggie oil your cost per gallon is $.15. Wonder if your exhaust smells like french fries. Man, that would be cool. :)

It isn't a Michigan-based company, but the concept is too cool not to share. Especially when gas (and diesel) is $3 a gallon.

Online Petition for Lower Gas Prices

Andrew Norton

You can sign a petition at in support of lowering gas prices. Basically, the petition is to urge President Bush to cap excessive gasoline profits. Yes, it is awfully coincidental (can you sense the sarcasm?) that since Bush took office in January 2001 that gas prices have increased 240% and he just so happens to have a stake in big oil. Will this petition change the prices we are paying at the pump? Excuse me if I am a wee bit skeptical about this.

It just reminds me of those emails you get encouraging everyone to boycott the big gas stations on the same day to knock sense into big oil and have them lower their gas prices.

The only way gas prices will go down permanently is if our demand goes down. It is simple economics. We need to have a different fuel source for vehicles.

No one seems to ride the government subsidized Amtrak to save fuel. Why doesn't the government drop Amtrak and divert those funds to researching vehicles run on alternative fuels? Any cap the President can put on oil profits will be short term at best. Lets look into long-term solutions.

Thanks to my wife, Lori, for providing me the link to the online petition.

Gas is Expensive - What Else is New?

Andrew Norton

It used to be that you could count on your local filling station to raise their prices on Friday to catch all of the weekend travelers. Then, Thursday became the chosen day to raise prices. Next, it was Wednesday. I really believe they skipped Tuesday and now the price of gas goes up on Mondays. I don't know when they lower their prices. I am sure a lot of you don't believe they ever do.

The average price of regular unleaded gas across Michigan is $2.60 this week. You get the standard responses to why gas has gone up - switching from winter grade fuel to summer grade, supply and demand, or the war and unrest in Iraq, Iran, and Nigeria.

The real reason is most likely due to oil futures being driven up by speculators hoping to cash in on any increases in the price of a barrel of oil. Big surprise here. We pay more for gas because some folks want to make more money.

Standard operating procedure for individuals and companies wanting to make profits.

Michigan needs to keep pushing itself to the forefront of alternative energy research and development. If we invest in this industry now we can position Michigan to reap the dividends as alternative energy takes off. We all know Michigan can not hope for a future in the automobile industry.

Lets use these high gas prices to encourage development of renewable energy sources such as biodiesel, ethanol, and hydrogen fuel cells.

Read the Free Press article Gas is a bargain for now

Update: I don't know if this is the result of someone taking out their anger from the high gas prices or not, but the Free Press has this breaking news brief - Overnight theft leaves gas station without nozzles. If it was out of anger, the individuals involved targetted the wrong party. The gas companies (like Shell, Exxon Mobile, etc.) are the ones charging the high wholesale prices to gas station owners. The station owners then have to raise their prices to cover their costs.

Solar Firm Creates Jobs in Greenville

Andrew Norton

More and more headlines these days are touting Michigan as the future hub of alternative energy. Having already pioneered the auto industry it only makes sense for Michigan to lead the way as a pioneer in alternative energy sources. This seems to be the next big industry and it looks like we might get in on the ground floor just as we did with autos. United Solar Ovonic LLC will build their new plant in Greenville creating 200 jobs when it begins operations in 2007. Depending on the demand for solar panels and the plant's performance, there could be an additional 1,000 jobs created by building another five plants. This area could use the good news after its major employer, Electrolux AB, closed its doors.

Read the article in the Detroit Free Press