And we got a nod to our efforts in the local paper in an editorial about Muskegon's mushrooming renewable energy plans....
But, Muskegon County wouldn't even have this opportunity if a group of Muskegon residents hadn't taken the initiative a year ago to let wind developers know this county wouldn't turn its nose up at jobs related to green energy like neighboring counties had.
That's US! Woohoo! And now we're working to do some more, starting with local showings of Carbon Nation.
The turnout at the first showing was great. The librarian who helped to set up the room said she always put out 30 chairs just to be safe. Well...we filled them all, and had to set up more.
There was even a line:
The movie is a VERY TIMELY renewable energy primer...timely because a LOT of the things they talk about in the movie are happening here in Muskegon and they're happening All At Once:
The most recent thing to happen here is a FEDERAL STIMULUS grant of 3.2 Million Dollars is coming to Muskegon to help build renewable energy solutions for low to mid income families AND non-profit organization in the area that benefit disadvantaged communities. Every Woman's Place, for example, is getting a solar array on the roof. AWESOME.
MUSKEGON — The Muskegon-Oceana Community Action Partnership's solar energy project gives a new meaning to “empowering” the poor.
MOCAP recently received a $3.2 million U.S. Department of Energy grant — federal “stimulus" funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — to provide renewable energy installations to Muskegon-area nonprofits serving low-income people.
Another 110 middle- and low-income homeowners in Muskegon and Oceana counties will receive similar active and passive solar energy devices. Installation of the devices by local contractors already is underway, with the project expected to be completed by March.
See that? "Installation of the devices"? Translation: JOBS! Putting people to WORK.
Another benefit of the stimulus? The Fortu PowerCell advanced battery manufacturing plant in Muskegon has begun construction...that's MORE jobs building the plant, AND more jobs when it starts making batteirs. Hundreds of them. HUNDREDS.
The Muskegon Commissioners just completed and approve the lease agreement for a 100 MW wind farm in Muskegon County's massive waste water treatment facility....
AND two huge companies are looking to create an industrial park in the Muskegon area, focused on creating wind turbine parts:
MUSKEGON — Two leading West Michigan's companies have joined forces to plan a Muskegon manufacturing center designed to support the state's growing commercial wind industry.
L3 Combat Propulsion Systems in Muskegon and Rockford Berge in Grand Rapids have established the Michigan Wind Energy Consortium, which includes other companies, with the intention of forming an industrial center.
The consortium is not a developer of wind farms but a group of companies and supporting agencies that would build parts for wind turbines, ship those parts around the globe and service the land-based wind industry.
And they want to do it from Muskegon.
Seriously...it's like a dream come true. If we can secure these industries. If we can MAKE things again. If we can DIVERSIFY our economy into new industries....
...we can FINALLY be putting people back to work. Muskegon has had a rough 30 years, with ups and downs, but mostly downs with double digit unemployment as often as not. Our downtown has been literally bulldozed to the ground so we could start over. And the people here have been trying like HELL to re-invent the economy here for decades, trying to add more diverse industries to the mix. And it seems like we're right on the edge of actually doing it RIGHT NOW.
Hat Tip to the Sierra Club for letting us use the movie!