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.
Is a Michigan hydro pumped storage facility clean and renewable?
Midwest Energy News
The Ludington Pumped Storage hydroelectric facility in western Michigan is a clean and renewable energy source that should receive credits for its ability to reduce carbon emissions, according to various state and federal lawmakers.
Cars that drive themselves may be safer, smarter and more efficient than those driven by people.
But will they be better for the environment?
It’s a question with no solid answer, said John DeCicco, a research professor at the University of Michigan’s Energy Institute, and a board member of the university’s MCity – an entire city for the testing of the vehicles, complete with cutouts of pedestrians and stoplights.
"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.
A new piece on Energy Institute Research Professor John DeCicco's blog, Cars and Climate, explores the flow of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon dioxide during the life cycle of biofuels. It is excerpted below.
"After all that's been written about the pros and cons of biofuels over the years, it's fair to ask whether there's anything left to say. It turns out that there is, and a new insight comes from evaluating what actually happens on the earth, that is, on the land where the plants used to make biofuels are grown.
Energy Institute Research Professor John DeCicco was featured in a Marketplace Morning Report piece titled "Your electric car may be a carbon polluter." The piece highlighted a working paper that will be featured in this fall's Conference on Transportation, Economics, Energy and the Environment (more info on the conference is viewable here).
Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco, an energy and transportation expert, was featured on WEMU's The Green Room, along with UMEI faculty affiliate Jonathan Levine and postdoctoral fellow Louis Merlin, both of Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.
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.
With a car that seats the driver so far to the right they had to design an elbow bulge into the chassis, the nation's top-ranked solar car team Friday unveiled the vehicle it will race across Australia in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge this fall.
The University of Michigan Solar Car Team's sleek 2015 model is called "Aurum" — the Latin word for gold.
"Clean-energy advocates are roundly criticizing a new statewide energy proposal from Michigan Republicans, claiming it is a broad giveaway to protect investor-owned utilities’ profits.
Of particular concern are provisions that redesign the state’s net metering process for distributed generation systems. That’s on top of opposition to the plan’s call for phasing out renewable and efficiency standards in favor of a more detailed load-forecasting process for utilities, which experts have noted don't perform the same function.