In Mapleton, a winery now harvests more than just grapes — it also harvests solar energy. The Chateau Chantal Winery & Inn’s solar array came online last week. The project was announced in March. It now supplies about 40 percent of the electricity used in the business’ main building — the winery operations, the tasting room, the bed and breakfast and the residence upstairs.
A utility energized about 140 miles of transmission lines today that should allow more energy generated by wind turbines in the Thumb to be available on the grid. The Novi company, ITC Transmission, said the project cost about $510 million, and will be paid for over several years by utility customers throughout the Midwest. The project, dubbed the Thumb Loop, is designed to enhance power line capacity and reliability, while creating jobs and enhancing the state’s use of renewable energy.
Lawmakers and Kalamazoo residents sat down at a town hall meeting Wednesday to focus on bettering Michigan’s clean energy policies. Michigan’s current renewable energy standards are set to expire at the end of the year, so lawmakers are looking at options for the future. State Rep. Jon Hoadley says strengthening the standards means more jobs and more savings. “There’s a boom in clean energy innovation right now, so we are continuing to see better solar panels, wind production, and hydro production, and we should support that,” he said.