A new report done by Michigan State University has shown that the potential wind power that could be harnessed off the coasts of Michigan could potentially add up to an amount more than ten times that which is currently generated by fossil fuels.
The question becomes will Michigan have the foresight to develop this potential into the clean energy we need?
I for one would enjoy seeing the gigantic turbines gracefully generating clean power off the coast of Lake Michigan as I relax at the beach in the summer.
Michigan has a few advantages going for it when it comes to wind power:
- The state of Michigan controls roughly 40% of the Great Lakes surface area
- Turbines for the Great Lakes will cost somewhat less than those used in salt water, as the fresh water is less corrosive
- Many close to shore areas have very high potential for wind generation (see my attached wind speed map)
- A skilled workforce that could easily transition to building wind turbines
We do however have a couple of things working against us, water depth and an environmentally unsavvy legislature.
As I talked about in my last post, about Google’s ambitious plan and the Conservative Christian misguided attitudes on the environment, here in MI the state may not be controlled at the top by republicans, but they have a large amount of influence regardless. I strongly dislike how the Republican legislators in Lansing have dealt with the environment in general, especially on the recently passed energy bill. The new bill requires only 10% of energy consumption to be generated by renewables by 2015, far less than other states, and certainly less than Google’s plan of being off coal and oil by 2030. Add to this the fact that the bill also mandates a monopoly for power generation given to the two largest power providers in the state, and you have quite the failure in environmental policy.
I really hope that as some of the potential energy from wind begins to be utilized, the people will wise up and see that green = jobs + many other benefits.
At least President G.W. Bush signed the Great Lakes Water Compact last week, yet another piece of potentially crippled legislation, but it is something….