Environment, Grid

Harvest Energy Solutions Testifies before U.S. Senate on Energy Program in the Farm Bill

Appearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry yesterday, Mark Olinyk, President of Michigan EIBC member company Harvest Energy Solutions, testified in support of the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) in the 2018 Farm Bill. He said that REAP’s inclusion in the 2014 Farm Bill was critical to his business’s success.

According to Olinyk, “REAP has been a component of nearly a quarter of our business.” He further said, “Not only is it critical to our bottom line, REAP allows our clients to save electricity, save money, achieve greater efficiencies, and make their operations more stable, less risky, and more profitable.”

REAP grants and loans help farmers and rural businesses invest in renewable energy systems or make energy efficient improvements. Olinyk further said that the program helps to grow the clean and efficient energy industry and create jobs in rural America. The reauthorization bill will have to pass out of Committee before being moved to the full Senate, and then the House.

Harvest Energy Solutions designs, sells, and installs solar panels for its agricultural and rural customers.



Saving North American Bats from Extinction – BFF’s Program to Combat Killer Fungus

One fungus has been linked to the death of over six million bats in the U.S. in the last 10 years. The White-nose syndrome affects hibernating bats, and it has brought bat populations close to extinction in some areas of the country.

The Bats for the Future Fund partners include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, Shell Oil Company, Southern Company, and NFWF. BFF is testing different ways to tackle the disease, and it has provided grants for six research projects from its $1.36 mil budget. Here are brief descriptions of the six projects:

  • S. Geologic Survey and National Wildlife Health Center for the development and testing of vaccines that could be effective against WNS in bats.
  • Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania for testing how effective Polyethylene Glycol 8000 (PEG), an osmoticum, is in inhibiting the growth of the fungus.
  • S. Forest Service for laboratory testing of ultra-violet (UV) light as an affordable solution for increasing survival of WNS-affected bats to find if larger scale field trials and UV delivery equipment development are warranted.
  • Western Michigan University for field application of Chitosan for increasing survival and stop progression of WNS.
  • Texas Tech University for reducing the severity of WNS by manipulating microclimates.
  • Thompson Rivers University for reducing the severity of WNS with probiotic prophylaxis.



Southern Company Puts $100K into Program for Saving Bat Populations in The U.S.

Southern Company has partnered with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and others in the Bats for the Future Fund (BFF)’s cause for combating White-nose syndrome (WNS), a disease that could bring some North American bat species close to extinction.

The WNS fungus targets hibernating bats and is considered to have killed over six million bats in the last decade. In some areas of the country. The fungus has killed almost all the bat population. Southern Company and its subsidiaries has pledged $100,000 to the BFF.

The program is expected to test different treatments for the disease, including a vaccine, anti-fungal disinfectants, a probiotic mixture, and ultraviolet light treatments. Southern Company’s pledge is part of a $3.6 million grant for the program.