Grand Rapids company tries out 'green-power' energy

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Capital News Service
LANSING — Fred Keller isn’t sure if he’s getting what he pays for.
The chairman and chief executive officer of Cascade Engineering, a company in Grand Rapids which develops and manufactures injection-molded products for automotive, container, home and office markets, buys about 2 percent of the company’s energy from green-power generators.
Green power is energy that comes from renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydro.
“We are spending $60,000 a year extra,” Keller said. “But it’s hard to know whether or not we get what we’re paying for.
“I haven’t noticed anyone buying any more of our product because of it (using green power).”
Energy from green power, which comes from the Consumers Energy Green Power Pilot Program, goes into a grid, which distributes energy to customers. Bay Windpower’s Mackinaw City turbines provide the energy to Consumers and Cascade receives energy from that.
“I look at it as a way to help kickstart the renewable sources effort,” Keller said. “We’d like to be able to help on the debate for providing renewables throughout the state.
“The issue for me is that it’s very important for us in industry to have an interest in trying to help solve the nation’s problems.”
However, Keller would like the government to step in and help bring the cost down.
“We’re making it a little better place,” he said. “But I wish the bureaucracy would find a way to ‘incentilize’ instead of penalize.”
Cascade has been using green power since fall of last year.
© 2002, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism

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