The state of Michigan's Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth
has its hands full these days, and an extra "E" has a lot to do with it. You see, DLEG's become DELEG -- and the inclusion of the word Energy into the agency's name makes clear its import in any plans for Michigan's economic growth.
Metromode's Green Space columnist spoke with DELEG's Director of the Bureau of Energy Systems, Amy Butler, about current initiatives underway.
First up to bat, there is an Appliance Rebate program that is funded to the tune of $9.6 million. The replacement of an appliance with one rated at a minimum of Energy Star is eligible for a rebate. Only residential customers making qualified purchases after Feb. 10 are eligible. Visit the Energy Office's site for more information.
There is also the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant Program, which will funnel $17.4 million into 125 Michigan communities, including Auburn Hills, Eastpointe, Garden City, and Hamtramck. Some funds will go to retrofitting municipal buildings, others towards reducing overall energy consumption in the targeted communities, including the construction of bike paths and the implementation of LED lighting programs.
The largest investment into cleaner energy is via the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act. The state will put $15.5 million towards clean energy advanced manufacturing, essentially the transition of the auto industry. So far, five businesses have been awarded a portion of these funds, and hiring will begin in the next couple of months. Another $40 million will go towards making state-owned buildings more energy efficient.
A partnership between the state, Michigan State University, and the Michigan State Police, to identify wind power opportunities is also underway. Wind anemometers are being placed at high elevations alongside police antennas with the hopes of identifying ideal locations for wind turbines.
And there's more yet: Additional funds for commercial energy audits, often the first step in increasing efficiency, and a weatherization program for low-income homeowners.
Butler, for one, is excited about all the extra work that stimulus dollars are causing for her agency. She hopes to take this opportunity to "set up long-term sustainable programs that will continue to do this work. (We want to be able) to continue this momentum."
Source: Amy Butler, DELEG
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh