CO2 2022/2021 : 416.45 ppm / 413.08 ppm
Dear Michigan Climate News readers,
Michigan needs nuclear power to meet its carbon neutrality goal, according to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — and that's why she supports efforts by Holtec International to reopen the Palisades Plant near Muskegon. The state hopes to lead in new battery technology. A new taxation scheme for solar energy is on the table. And more!
And please join us on Friday, Sept. 30 at noon for a conversation on "What is ‘utility redlining’ and why does it matter for DTE customers?" SIGN UP HERE
Enjoy your week!
— Nina Ignaczak, Editor of Michigan Climate News + Planet Detroit
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THIS WEEK'S NEWS
Palisades pt. 2: The Palisades Nuclear Power Plant owner in southwest Michigan applied for a federal grant to restart operations at the recently shuttered facility. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is supporting the efforts of Holtec International, which recently acquired the facility, to secure funding through the Civil Nuclear Credit program. “I will do everything I can to keep this plant open, protect jobs, increase Michigan’s competitiveness, lower costs, and expand clean energy production,” Whitmer wrote in a letter to U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. The governor has previously said that keeping the plant open was important for meeting the state’s climate goals, which include achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. (MLive, Bridge)
Salivating, panting, etc.: University of Michigan researchers are working to develop the next wave of electric vehicle batteries, addressing issues like cost, longevity and the tendency of some models to burst into flames. The (not making this up) Mechano-chemical Understanding of Solid Ion Conductors Center is looking into ceramic ion conductors for solid-state batteries which could be less flammable and reduce the need for burdensome cooling systems while also condensing more energy in a smaller system. The new batteries could also help car companies reduce the amount of expensive minerals needed per battery, limiting their environmental impact. "Everybody is salivating, panting, leaping and howling toward solid-state batteries," said Conrad Layson, an analyst at AutoForecast Solutions. “The ceramic solid-state battery is perhaps the apex predator of the battery cell world at this instant in time." Whoa. (Detroit News)
Taxing solar: Utilities, conservation groups and renewable energy advocates expressed support for a Michigan bill establishing “solar energy districts” within municipalities, providing solar energy developers and local governments with a standard taxation structure. Once a facility in a solar energy district puts power on the grid, the standard tax would be $7,000 per megawatt, with taxes capped at $2,000 per megawatt for producers on Brownfields, opportunity zones, or state land. “There are communities in our state [where] properties might not be used for another purpose,” said Brian VanBlarcum, senior tax manager for Consumers Energy. “This bill actually gives those communities an option to compete for solar projects and potentially create an additional revenue stream that they wouldn’t have otherwise.” (MLive)
A warning from Jackson: Experts say that the crisis unfolding in Jackson, Mississippi illustrates the vulnerability of neglected drinking water systems to climate change. In Jackson, flooding on the Pearl River caused a pump at the city’s largest water treatment plant to fail, but the problem is hardly unique to the city. A recent study found that $2.2 trillion needs to be invested nationally over the next 20 years to repair water infrastructure. Nevada, for example, has been dealing with historically low levels on Lake Mead, the primary drinking water source for Las Vegas. The city has invested in water conservation measures, banning grass in new developments and reducing the use of water-intensive evaporative coolers in buildings. The city also installed an intake far below the ordinary Lake Mead water level in case the existing pumping station ran dry. But following years of drought, this fail-safe measure was recently activated to provide the city with water. "I think that for us here in the West, we are a bit of a canary in the coal mine," said Bronson Mack, a spokesman for the Southern Nevada Water Authority. "Climate change is knocking on our door." (NPR)
Tipping points: Scientists have found that melting the Greenland ice cap is now inevitable because of human-induced climate change. At the current level of global heating, 27 centimeters or 10.6 inches of sea-level rise from the Greenland sheet is locked in. Further greenhouse gas emissions could lead to the melting of other ice caps and combine with the thermal expansion of oceans to cause even more significant sea level rise in the future. “The results of this new study are hard to ignore for all business leaders and politicians concerned about the future of humanity. It is bad news for the nearly 600 million people that live in coastal zones (less than 33 feet above sea level) worldwide. As sea levels rise, they will be increasingly vulnerable,” said Gail Whiteman, a professor at the University of Exeter. (Guardian)
JOIN US LIVE: What is ‘utility redlining’ and why does it matter for DTE customers?
Join Planet Detroit’s managing editor as we talk with We the People Research Director and Alex B. Hill and consultant Jackson Koeppel, co-authors of the policy brief Utility Redlining: Distribution in the DTE Service Area.
What questions do you have about the environment and climate change in Michigan? Please let us know by reaching out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit reply!