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Reducing Energy Waste is a Key to Michigan’s Energy Future

Valerie Brader, Kirk Heinze

“When you look at all the things Michigan can do (to reduce its energy use), reducing energy waste is our cheapest alternative.  It’s our most environmentally protective alternative, and it’s also the thing that helps us with reliability,” Valerie Brader, the executive director of the Michigan Agency for Energy tells Kirk Heinze on Greening of the Great Lakes.

“So when you have something that fires on all your major areas of concern, it should be something that you’re full speed ahead on.”

And if the federal carbon rules go into effect, Brader says “Michigan is much better positioned than a lot of other states in our region because of the amount we’ve done to reduce our energy waste and because we have shut down so many coal plants.

Individual homeowners have things they can do to save energy.

“Get some insulation in the attic, like I recently did, and take that furnace you’ve had for 10 years and upgrade it.  So my house is actually much more comfortable and my bills are lower.  I was wasting a lot of energy to get my house to a comfort level before and now I’m not.”

Brader adds that there are many things businesses can do to save energy.

“There are all sorts of technologies now that help businesses lower their electric bills while actually saving energy, and that’s good for everybody.  It lowers costs for everyone.  If everybody starts thinking this way, the savings get very big very fast.

“Michigan has already saved $4 billion just from what we’ve done from 2008 through 2015.  And we have the ability to grow that, and over time the numbers just get bigger and bigger.

“It’s money in the pockets of Michiganders, and it’s Michiganders doing the work.  And it’s often Michiganders designing these products that help save energy.  We are a manufacturing state, and we have a lot of engineering know-how.  We have furnace, insulation and window manufacturers. 

“And on the industrial side, we have a lot of folks who make new equipment.  And so not only is it the right thing to do even if we weren’t employing a bunch of Michiganders, it’s also one of the things that feeds our economy all over the state.”

Brader discusses with Heinze several initiatives she and her team are working on to lower energy costs and and increase energy reliability in the Upper Peninsula.

Greening of the Great Lakes airs inside MSU Today Sunday afternoons at 4:00 on AM 870.

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