On the outskirts of Traverse City, Michigan, sitting in the middle of farmland off M-72, is a giant lonely wind turbine that, in addition to electricity, produces a sense of pride for Jim Carruthers. As a private citizen in 1996, he helped push for construction of this now-iconic structure, at the time the largest operating wind turbine in the country. Today, he is mayor of this 15,000-plus-population (and growing) tourist town off the shores of Lake Michigan. He recently helped make news for Traverse City by setting a goal of powering all its city operations with renewable energy by 2020. Along the way toward that goal, though, he’s discovering the costs are higher than anticipated, including a surcharge for a new solar array.
Electric vehicle technology has a bright future, says a leading industry analyst, but the focus for the near future will continue to be developing internal-combustion engines that meet tightening economy standards while still being affordable to consumers.
With electric vehicles still largely a niche product – even a hologram of Thomas Edison acknowledged “the transition will still take some time” — companies with all-electric offerings recognize the importance of competing for your attention, if nothing else.
On New Year’s Eve, many in the wind energy industry had already assumed they had been thrown over the proverbial fiscal cliff.
For Michigan clean energy advocates, Gov. Rick Snyder’s recent energy-policy address fell a bit short when it comes to where the state goes from here after voters rejected a constitutional amendment that would have strengthened the state’s renewable energy standard.
A Traverse City, Michigan, firm became one of the fastest growing companies in America by helping other businesses score rebates and tax breaks for saving energy.
Automakers are faced with stricter requirements for fuel efficiency, a growing menu of technologies to get there, and ever-changing demands from consumers. Where will they focus first?
In Traverse City, Michigan, an unusual level of cooperation between government, local businesses, the Chamber of Commerce, nonprofits and homeowners in creating more energy-efficient buildings is becoming a model for the rest of the state.