A readiness test: What if oil spewed into the Great Lakes? Detroit Free Press
Canadian oil transport giant Enbridge, the U.S. Coast Guard and several other federal, state and local agencies took to the waters of the Great Lakes Thursday in boats big and small, testing their preparedness and capabilities to contain what many consider as the worst of nightmare scenarios for the Great Lakes: a leak in Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline that runs along the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac.
ANN ARBOR—University of Michigan researchers today released the final version of a report analyzing policy options for the state of Michigan regarding high-volume hydraulic fracturing, the natural gas and oil extraction process commonly known as fracking.
The final report of the U-M Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan Integrated Assessment consists of six chapters totaling nearly 200 pages. The two-part integrated assessment took three years to complete and is the most comprehensive Michigan-focused resource on high-volume hydraulic fracturing.
This fall, Daniel Raimi joins the Energy Institute as a Research Specialist in Energy, Technology, Policy, and Economics, and a lecturer at the Ford School for Public Policy. He has worked on a range of energy policy issues including the public finance effects of unconventional oil and gas production, state fiscal policy design for oil and gas production, the climate implications of shale gas development, and federal climate policy design.
Energy policy has become a hot political topic again in the U.S., with issues surrounding oil and gas fracking, renewables, and environmental stewardship top-of-mind for a growing percentage of legislators, corporate interests and voters. And with energy issues come front groups paid for by energy companies. We hear messaging from front groups frequently during elections, but it may be hard to recognize them and even harder to know who is behind them these days.
This summer, in most parts of the country, average pump prices have been nearly a dollar per gallon lower than the previous three years. But the price of oil can be quite volatile, and so what do consumers say they'd do if gasoline became unaffordable?
Personal vehicles are a staple form of transportation for most U.S. consumers, whether for traveling to work or escaping to distant places. Moreover, cars have a long-standing symbolic link with Americans’ sense of independence. Not surprisingly, pressures to reduce car use often evoke psychological resistance.
Since its inception in October 2013, the University of Michigan Energy Survey has asked U.S. consumers, in an open-ended format, about what they would do differently to get around if gasoline prices reached a level that they thought would be personally unaffordable. Understanding consumers’ responses can shed light on this important energy-related aspect of decision making.
"Mark Barteau, director of the University of Michigan Energy Institute, said the EPA Clean Power Plan could significantly boost renewable energy in Michigan. But he said the state should aim for even loftier goals.
Earlier this year, the Energy Institute issued a report that outlined opportunities for significantly increasing electricity production from wind and solar sources, Barteau said.
Michigan utilities met the state's standard this year, generating 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. Now, to reduce carbon emissions, some people in the state want to see the bar raised to 20 percent or higher, but paying for it remains controversial.
“What we found is that doubling our RPS would add about $1.70 per month for a typical consumer,” says Jeremiah Johnson, a professor at the School of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan.
UM set to open driverless-car test site Mcity on Monday
The University of Michigan will officially open its new testing site for connected and driverless cars on Monday. The 32-acre testing grounds, called Mcity, are designed to simulate urban and suburban roads with a network of controlled intersections, traffic signals, streetlights, sidewalks, construction obstacles and more, the university said in a release. The $6.5 million test track is operated by UM’s Mobility Transformation Center.
Voters are long familiar with Michigan’s big issues each election — jobs, education, infrastructure and taxes are perennial defining platforms for Michigan candidates. Energy is poised to join that short list, with issues surrounding energy choice, oil and gas development, renewables, and environmental stewardship top-of-mind for a growing percentage of legislators, corporate interests and voters. And with energy issues come “front groups” paid for by energy companies.
Beware Casting Pope Francis as a Caped Climate Crusader
New York Times
All eyes are on the Vatican after an Italian news magazine leaked what is very likely the final text (the Italian translation) of Pope Francis’s forthcoming encyclical letter on humanity’s obligations to protect the environment, avoid dangerous climate change and overcome poverty and inequity.