News Story

Plan for Green Energy Biogas Facility in Reed City 'Just Dies'

Granholm said it was part of a plan to turn state into 'clean energy capital of North America'

In October of 2010, the state of Michigan issued a press release similar to many churned out during then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s tenure claiming that this state was on its way to becoming the “clean energy capital of North America.”

In this instance, the release noted that the King of Sweden had honored Gov. Granholm with the insignia of "Commander First Class of the Royal Order of the Polar Star." The governor was given the citation “for her work in fostering relations between Michigan and Sweden in clean energy.”

Part of that work included helping broker a deal between a Swedish company and the city of Flint to set up a biogas facility.

In essence, the company agreed to convert Flint sewage and waste into energy by capturing biogas, a byproduct of municipal waste water treatment plants.

The 2010 Granholm administration press release added that the Swedish company, Swedish Biogas International AB, was poised to open a second facility in Reed City.

"Companies like Swedish Biogas International are transforming Michigan into the clean energy capital of North America," Gov. Granholm boasted. "This is all part of our aggressive strategy to diversify the Michigan economy and expand our state's clean energy capabilities to create jobs and in the process reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil."

At the time, several state and local media outlets carried positive stories repeating the administration's line. Since then there has been silence.

Skeptics of PR-heavy "green energy" pronouncements may not be surprised to learn that four years later, none of this has come to pass.

Ron Howell, the city manager of Reed City, said in those four years both Swedish Biogas International and another private investor had expressed interest in starting a biogas facility in his city.

“When they crunched the numbers, from a business point of view, it obviously didn’t cut it,” Howell said this week. “There was not money to be made. … They never call us back. It just dies.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.