On Oct. 10, Valerie Brader, Michigan’s chief energy policy officer, spoke to students in Bobbitt Auditorium about the obstacles the state faces regarding energy. She explained the crisis in the coal industry, the President Obama’s energy plan, Governor Snyder’s energy efforts and new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.
“There is one plant in Michigan that had already complied with the mercury rule, but in order to comply with the rest, they would have had to invest 60 percent of the book value of the plant,” Brader said. “So, if you wanted to buy the plant, you would have to buy it and then add 60 percent of the price if you wanted to keep it running past 2016.”
The federal government passed new EPA regulations that required each state to develop renewable resources. For Michigan, 93 percent of that energy came from the installation of windmills.
“These [regulations] are very large rules with a very large impact for the cost of coal,” Brader said.
Since the EPA law came into effect, the state did install some solar panels.
“The great thing about solar is that, even though it turns on and off, it will be there on that hottest day when we really really want [cold] air.”
Although renewable resources seem like viable options, it is extremely expensive for states and energy companies to install the technology.
“So, I think we have very little solar in Michigan is because pricing is so much higher,” Brader said. “It’s come down a lot, but it’s still really high.”
Alex Kuhn, Grosse Pointe Woods sophomore, attended the presentation and now sees how alternative energies can benefit the state.
“We need to definitely research solar energy panels and ways of converting energy into solar energy,” Kuhn said. “It would be nice to have a whole house run on solar energy if you think about it.”