Great Lakes Energy Institute
Wisconsin & Michigan
October 2-8, 2016
Over the past century, three fossil fuels – petroleum, natural gas and coal – have dominated U.S. energy production and consumption. In 2015, these fossil fuels made up 81.5% of total energy consumption in the country. While fossil fuels have held well above an 80% share for the last one hundred years, that 2015 number marks a new low. And it may be a sign of big changes to come.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration is projecting that, by 2040, renewable energy generated by wind and solar will eclipse the contributions of biofuels and nuclear power and even rival coal in our national energy make up. Natural gas, meanwhile, will vie with petroleum for top billing.
IJNR’s Great Lakes Energy Institute will see how these changes are playing out on the ground. Journalists will enjoy a week-long field trip exploring everything from gas and oil pipelines and trains carrying crude through the Great Lakes region, to a potential new shale gas play in Michigan and Wisconsin’s largest solar array – built on the remains of a decommissioned coal operation.
Fellows will meet with scientists, business people, lawmakers, activists and local citizens as they take a deep dive into the stories that arise when economy, energy and our environment intersect.
Topics to be covered are:
• Enbridge’s Line 5 – What do current studies indicate about the spill risk and potential alternatives to the pipeline running in the open water between Lakes Michigan and Huron?
• Cow Power - Can methane digesters move from forward-thinking farms, to regional power systems that reduce agricultural runoff and supply a reliable source of biofuels?
• Coal's Long Goodbye - A coal-powered community envisions a green energy future; Running a coal plant in the 21st century; Beneficial reuse of coal ash.
• On the Water - Viewing the Milwaukee River by kayak; Crossing Lake Michigan on the S.S. Badger, the last coal-powered steamship in the Great Lakes.
• The Rise of Renewables – How are market pressures, federal and state policy and consumer demand shaping the growth of solar and wind energy?
• Sand Mining - The history and future of sand mining on the shores of Lake Michigan.
• Gas Under Ground - After a massive leak at a California facility, how will Michigan - with more underground gas storage facilities than any other state - address its checkerboard of oversight that leaves facilities only lightly regulated? And what happens once we get the gas out of the ground?