In the past and in the future
On Thursday, March 10, 2022, A2P2 members attended the virtual monthly meeting of the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA). One major issue was DTE’s current rate case, now under review by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), which regulates the state’s private utilities. In addition to an 8.8 percent increase in residential electricity rates, DTE proposes to levy a ‘Demand Charge’ of roughly $100 per month for households with rooftop solar. GLREA members noted that this is an obvious attempt by DTE to stop homeowners and small businesses from investing in new solar systems. GLREA encourages all to go to their website (renewableenergyinmichigan.good.do) and submit a comment to the MPSC opposing DTE’s plan. In addition, DTE proposes to slash by almost two-thirds the already low rate that homeowners receive for excess solar energy they return to the grid. The GLREA plans to join with other environmental groups to organize a protest in Lansing on Earth Day; A2P2 emphatically supports this action.
On Wednesday, March 16, 2022, A2P2 co-sponsored a program organized by Ann Arbor’s Office of Sustainability and Innovations (OSI) on “The Recent ICPP Report and Relevance for Michigan.” Dr. Jonathan Overpeck (“Peck”), Dean of the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) provided an overview of the findings of the IPCC Sixth Assessment report (2022), “Impacts, Adaption and Vulnerability.” He explained how the work of many scientists came together to create a detailed compilation of our current state of knowledge of climate change and its impacts. He took the audience through various graphs illustrating how the planet could slowly become too hot to sustain life, which is why it is important to act now. While over two thirds of Americans believe that we are in a crisis, most don’t talk about it; it remains on the back burner of our consciousness. Dr. Overpeck believes that the climate crisis needs to be the main agenda for the nation. The report also calls out disinformation by Republicans and media taken over by the oil companies. Overpeck claims that fossil fuel companies like Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, and Shell are fighting to destroy the planet.
As to the impact in Michigan, he strongly endorses the GLREA’s fight (See above) against DTE’s new solar tariff request. He also notes how weather events often cause cascading disasters. For example, Detroit has experienced massive flooding this past year, but the storm that causes the flooding also knocks out the electricity, which causes a general system collapse. Indigenous communities in Michigan disproportionally feel the impact of the climate crisis, algae blooms grow worse with warming, air-borne diseases and lyme disease thrive, there is 12% less food productivity, and the mental health of all is affected. While we are at a dangerous turning point, he stated that it is not too late to slow the climate crisis. We all must be engaged.