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Michigan opens 3.3M farmland acres to bee-friendly solar projects

By Catherine Morehouse, Associate Editor, Utility Dive

Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday announced an executive decision that frees up 3.3 million acres of farmland protected under the state’s Farmland and Open Space Program to solar development. Previously, the land was allowed to host wind turbines and oil and gas exploration, but solar was historically restricted because it was considered to have a larger footprint, Tom Zimnicki, agriculture policy director at the Michigan Environmental Council, told Utility Dive. But innovations in solar siting are making those installations more compatible with agricultural land, and under Whitmer’s decision, solar projects on protected farmland will be required to meet Michigan’s pollinator-friendly guidelines. Continue reading here.

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About Catherine Morehouse

Before joining Industry Dive, Catherine was at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska where she worked as News Editor and then Editor-in-Chief of The Creightonian. She has a B.A. in Journalism and Political Science from Creighton.

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About Rob Davis

Rob Davis directs the Center for Pollinators in Energy and also leads the Media & Innovation Lab at Fresh Energy in Minnesota. Top photo by Davis.

Posts by Rob Davis

 

Kearney’s Solar Farm is a nationally-recognized pollinator-friendly site, benefiting local food producers. 

Utility Dive’s 2015 State of the Electric Utility Survey

The results of Utility Dive’s second annual 2015 State of the Electric Utility Survey show that, “Utility executives clearly see immense opportunities in energy efficiency, rooftop solar and the customer relationship. They just aren’t sure what to do about it,” said Davide Savenije, senior editor at Utility Dive. “There is no proven utility business model today for these new services.”

One sign of progress is that utilities are beginning to transition from a business model based on electricity sales towards others that are more service-oriented. Many utilities are developing new models–energy efficiency, demand response, consumer information services, and distributed solar–with the customer at the heart of their business.

Click here to download the survey.

About the State of the Electric Utility Survey
The second annual survey was compiled using responses from more than 400 U.S. electric utility executives currently employed at U.S. electric utilities. This year’s report strives to identify the key challenges and opportunities that will determine the future of the U.S. electric utility industry.

About Utility Dive
Utility Dive is a property of Industry Dive, a mobile-first business media publisher. Utility Dive reaches over 250,000 electric utility executives with news and information through its mobile app, website, e-newsletter and social channels. Visit the website at www.utilitydive.com.