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Co-op Energy Talk

Author: Cherryland Electric Cooperative

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Join us as we discuss the latest energy news and issues that affect Cherryland Electric Cooperative, your northern Michigan member-owned utility.
71 Episodes
Cherryland Electric Cooperative was built by its community. So, when times get tough, it’s our duty to help. Listen in as Rachel and Tony discuss the advantages of being a part of a co-op and how they played into some big news regarding pandemic relief for Cherryland members.
When you want electricity, we’ve got to deliver. It doesn’t matter if you have a scorching 100-degree day and everybody has their A/C cranked on high, we need to meet that demand. But what if you had a week of 100-degree heat? What if there wasn’t enough electricity to meet that demand? Listen in as we discuss this scenario with Zach Anderson, CFO at Wolverine Power Cooperative, and learn more about grid capacity and utility peaking.
Northern Michigan is opening up following a multi-month shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the local business community, this is an opportunity to try and get back to what they do best. Listen in as we welcome Warren Call, CEO of Traverse Connect, to discuss the challenges local businesses faced during the shutdown, the work Traverse Connect and others did to help our region be the first to reopen, and the other challenges and opportunities that exist as we move forward.
Co-op Energy Talk hits the road! Earlier this year, Tony sat down with co-op leaders from across the country while attending the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association's Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Listen in as they discuss what they've seen over the years and what trends they believe we should be watching to prepare for the future.
You know it well: member control is the cornerstone of any co-op. So, pandemic or not, a co-op board of directors still needs to function. Listen in as we discuss the steps Cherryland and its board have taken to adapt to this "new normal," including updates on board meetings, the board election, and the 82nd Annual Meeting.  Learn more about the Cherryland board of directors and co-op governance at
Since our last episode, we saw the first cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) reach the Grand Traverse region and Governor Whitmer enact the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" Executive Order across the state. Listen in as explain what Cherryland has done to respond to the pandemic since, including providing updates on core services, billing policies, and co-op financials.
Looking into the future, there's one trend that stands out in our industry: beneficial electrification. Simply put, this is the idea that using smarter electric appliances, heating sources, and transportation instead of their fossil fuel-powered counterparts can make us more energy efficient and allow more energy to come from cleaner sources. Listen in as we sit down with Sam Hogg, Director of Business Origination at Wolverine Power Cooperative, to discuss this trend and what an electric future might look like.
They say, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." Well, it would be hard to hide the Gemini Solar Project, a 690 MW solar array (with 380 MW of lithium-ion storage) soon to be built just outside of the famous Nevada city. Listen in as we discuss the details of this historic project and its impact. Do you have feedback? Email us at
Of Michigan's 83 counties, 59 are classified as rural, all playing important roles in the state's economy. As these rural communities face their unique challenges of the future, state level support and representation is becoming ever more vital. Spearheaded by the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance, one initiative calls on Governor Whitmer to create a cabinet-level position devoted to rural economic development. Listen in as we sit down with Kent Wood, owner of government relations consulting firm, Borealis Strategic, to discuss this rural economic development initiative and its importance to northern Michigan. If you wish to offer your support for this initiative, go to the following:  
Cherry Capital Airport is the fourth largest commercial airport in Michigan... and it's not stopping there. They recently added two new carriers and several new nonstop flights, bringing their non-stop service up to 15 cities. Listen in as we sit down with Airport Director Kevin Klein to discuss both the opportunities and the challenges this time of growth and change will offer.
When problems arise, co-ops have a hard time sitting idly by. So, when the co-ops' tax exempt status is threatened, we head straight for the Capitol. Listen in as we reflect on Cherryland's recent trip to Washington, D.C. and discuss the top issues facing co-ops today with board members Dave Schweitzer and Gabe Schneider. 
After 34 years of hosting WTCM's morning show, Representative Jack O'Malley returns to the microphone to reflect on his first year representing Michigan's 101st District (Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee counties) in Lansing. Listen in as we chat with him about energy policy and a variety other topics coming out of the Capitol.
Come on, we've all done it: sat on a beach, sipping a cool beverage, and wondered what was going on with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) that day. The MPSC regulates utilities in order to ensure safe, reliable, and accessible energy at reasonable rates for Michigan residents. Listen in as we discuss the MPSC and Michigan's energy future with the newest MPSC commissioner, Dan Scripps.
In June, Cherryland announced that it is making a three-year commitment of $100,000 annually to Habitat for Humanity–Grand Traverse Region to fund a program aimed at repairing low-income homes in need of weatherization improvements in the Grand Traverse region. Listen in as we discuss this partnership with Habitat for Humanity's executive director, Wendy Irvin, and project manager, Nathan Kalchik. Cherryland members that are interested in participating in the Priority Home Repair program can learn more on Habitat for Humanity – Grand Traverse Region’s website.
With climate change as a priority for candidates in upcoming elections, a whole slew of carbon proposals are being thrown out there, including the Green New Deal, Evergreen Economy Plan, a carbon tax, etc. Do one of these game plans offer a realistic way to cross the goal line? Listen in as we discuss the challenges facing decarbonization and how these proposals hope to bring solutions.
Who doesn't love a good crossover episode? In this special episode, we share the mics with the guys from Mirror Finish, Great Lakes Stainless's podcast, to learn about each other's businesses, talk about energy, and have a little bit of fun.
Cherryland's Jim Carpenter is not just a line superintendent. He's a singer, whittler, guitar player, runner, and outdoorsman; a real renaissance man. After 39 years of service, the co-op's renaissance man is retiring. Listen in as we sit down with Jim and discuss his nearly four-decade long career at Cherryland.
You know by now that Cherryland has a diverse power supply portfolio, courtesy of our power supplier, Wolverine Power Cooperative. But did you know that we are contractually obligated to purchase ALL of our power from Wolverine? Listen in as we sit down with Eric Baker, President & CEO of Wolverine, to discuss this contract and what it means for members of Cherryland.
While big renewable energy goals are nice, how are we going to achieve them? Utilities are facing increasing pressure to incentivize local, distributed renewable energy (e.g. small, rooftop systems) that benefit the individual over utility-scale renewable energy systems that benefit the many. How are we going to reach our goals by going small? Listen in as we discuss why going big with renewables is better and the barriers we face trying to get there.
From Tesla to Hyundai to Chevrolet, it seems more electric vehicles are sprouting up in the marketplace every day. But big questions still remain: When will there be an affordable all-wheel drive EV or all-electric pickup truck? Will the EV tax credit stick around? Is there a future where EVs dominate the roadway? Listen in as we sit down with Bill Marsh Jr., co-owner of the Bill Marsh Automotive Group, to discuss the "electrification" of the auto industry.  
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