Thoughts on Rural Energy Transition

In between calls, I decided to split some wood. I find it incredibly relaxing, and it’s a great workout. I was thinking about a conversation I had with a buddy about rural communities energy needs. It is a genuine issue in Michigan.

My “fun” activity of splitting wood is life & death for some communities here in Northern Michigan. I am incredibly fortunate that this a hobby and not required for my family’s wellbeing. In all the discussions about energy, I find these communities often overlooked.

The options are:

1. Split & burn wood (free)
2. Propane delivery ($500+/month)
3. Geothermal ($$$)

In my community, the average salary is 24k/yr. A geothermal install is unfathomable, and propane is at least more amicable to personal cash flow despite rising costs.

Companies like BlocPower in NYC have the right idea; combine incentives and finance to these installs to remove the friction. You’d think DTE Energy, Consumers Energy, and UPPCO would be DYING to have this uptick in energy consumption with geothermal. Create programs!

We all want a reduction in GHG, and of course, a focus on cities has a big bang for your tax dollar, but these communities will end up ostracised if not included at the table. Geothermal is the energy literally untapped in our amazing soil.

I want Gov Whitmer to talk about why it’s good to shut down Line 5 AND how she will help Michiganders migrate off propane/wood stoves. Our communities are ageing, and splitting wood will increasingly not be an option for our older citizens. The defacto will be propane.

Splitting Wood!