The cities of Muskegon, Muskegon Heights and Benton Harbor, Michigan could reboost their economic engines by embracing hydro energy. These cities sit on Lake Michigan and I have no clue why no one in leadership in these cities have discussed this.
Hydro energy is simply energy that is taken from water and converted to electricity. Hydro energy can be obtained by using many methods of capture. The most common method of using energy from water is a hydroelectric dam, where water coming down through an area causes turbines to rotate and the energy is captured to run a generator. Power can also be generated from the energy of tidal forces or wave power, which uses the energy created by waves.
One of the main reasons that hydro energy is used is that it is a renewable energy, meaning it will not be depleted over time and it will consistently be replenished. It is also a clean energy source, as it does not emit any toxins.
Once a hydroelectric complex is constructed, the project produces no direct waste, and has a considerably different output level of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) than fossil fuel powered energy plants.
In order to move forward on this project I highly recommend we take a look at reconstructing the schools in these areas.
Benton Harbor, Muskegon and Muskegon Heights have failing school districts just like Detroit and Highland Park, Michigan. In fact, the number of Michigan districts and high schools making “Adequate Yearly Progress” (AYP) declined between 2006 and 2007. So I am not just picking on these cities that are on Lake Michigan. We have to be in the business of fixing our schools if we are serious about producing a sound economy for our residents.
These schools can be set up as Research and Development hubs for hydro technology that will help generate jobs and a tax base for these cities. Charter schools should be in partnerships with schools such as Muskegon Community College and Lake Michigan Community College to create an innovative curriculum to help push for technology that will in turn create a diverse economy for communities that are struggling. Our students in our educational community are the BEST human resources that are not being utilized correctly due to political pandering and incompetence from educational leadership.
Now do not get me wrong here. The whole game plan is economic diversification. Check out these economic firms that are helping change Michigan.
3IS - Accretive Health
Advanced Defense Vehicle Sys.
Certified Restoration Dry Cleaning
Michigan is moving away from the automotive industry and quietly moving into other areas of digital and alternative manufacturing. This is where cities like Benton Harbor and Muskegon could benefit from. From alternative energy such as hydro technology to computer science it is important to invest in education. Not just for yourself but for your family and community as well. Not having a degree in this day and age is totally unacceptable.
While the media continues to look down at Michigan, our state is transforming in quiet ways, moving toward a more diverse economy, moving toward new kinds of prosperity. It's time to trickle that effect into smaller urban communities that needed it the most.