Talking About Alternative Energy

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Yesterday evening I was one-half of the program for the IEEE West Michigan Consultant’s Network.  The meeting was held at DornerWorks  in Grand Rapids and was well attended.  It is always interesting when lawyer meets engineer! Educational is more accurate. The questions are always instructive. We talked about how the "regulatory compact" wherein utilities are granted a monopoly in exchange for agreeing to regulatory rates causes a disconnect in the marketplace. Since investor owned utilities in Michigan can only earn a profit or return on investment for their capital projects, they are loathe to have anyone build generation for their system other than themselves. That is the simple explanation for why it is nearly impossible to get a power purchase agreement for electricity sales except when the utility is forced to do so under the law.  Joining me in the evening's instruction was Greg Mulder of Coffman Electric. He captivated the crowd by talking about actual solar projects that have been built, giving details on voltage, wattage, inverter options, synchronization, and efficiency.  We could have gone on all evening---but did not.


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