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Great Lakes Energy News Roundup: Wisconsin renewable energy, wind-powered zoos, nuclear power plant bailout petition

Great Lakes Energy News Roundup: Wisconsin renewable energy, wind-powered zoos, nuclear power plant bailout petition
August 29, 2019 Ian Wendrow
Photo by FirstEnergy Corp. via flickr.com cc 2.0

Keep up with energy-related developments in the Great Lakes area with Great Lakes Now’s biweekly headline roundup.

In this edition: Wisconsin wants to go carbon-free by 2050, the Detroit Zoo is looking to be entirely wind powered, and a West Michigan community worries about possible coal ash contamination of its drinking water.

 Detroit Zoo to be entirely wind powered by 2021

DTE Energy will be constructing three new wind parks that are scheduled to go live late next year. The windparks will entirely power the Detroit Zoo on wind energy by 2021, cutting down on its carbon footprint equivalent by what 8,740 acres of forest soak up in a year. It’s one of the ways the zoo tries to be ecologically sustainable, alongside permeable pavement to prevent stormwater runoff and an anaerobic digester that converts animal waste and food scraps into compost and energy.

 Wisconsin governor wants to eliminate carbon-based fuel by 2050

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has signed an executive order that would have the state entirely free of carbon-based fuel by 2050, a move which has met stiff resistance from Republican state senators. The order also created the Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy within the Department of Administration to see this task through as well as hold Wisconsin to the 2015 Paris climate accord standards.

 Utility regulators in Wisconsin approve controversial transmission line

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin voted 3-0 to approve a 15-story transmission line that would carry energy from wind farms in Iowa and southern Minnesota across central and southwestern Wisconsin. Supporters of the project contend that this will help the state cut carbon emissions while also ensuring utility demands are met. Critics dispute the necessity of the line when energy demands have remained static.

 Coal ash from West Michigan power plant might be contaminating drinking water wells

Sierra Club officials and residents of West Olive, Michigan–right on the shores of Lake Michigan–have expressed concern about possible drinking water contamination they claim is caused by a nearby Consumers Energy coal-fired power plant.

 Ohio nuclear bailout bill referendum pits opposing groups against each other

The fallout from the Ohio state legislature’s recent passage of House Bill 6, which would raise $150 million in annual subsidies to bail out two nuclear power plants that sit on the coast of Lake Erie, has prompted a petition to place a referendum on the 2020 ballot that would repeal the new bill. The petition needs 265,000 signatures and was kicked off by Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts. A counter-group, Ohioans for Energy Security, supports the bailout and is urging voters not to sign the petition.

Featured Image: The Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Lake County, Ohio, Photo by FirstEnergy Corp. via flickr.com cc 2.0

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