Municipalization offers a legal pathway to achieve the city’s official goal of powering the local grid with 100% renewable energy by 2030. (Munis currently serve 41 cities and towns in Michigan.) DTE Energy, which currently serves Ann Arbor residents, generates almost 70% of its power from burning fossil fuels, mainly coal, and only 10% from renewable sources. A feasibility study is the first step towards establishing a municipal electric utility, which will acquire the local grid from DTE, giving Ann Arbor the ability to purchase clean power off the regional grid. The Council resolution requests that city staff issue a request for proposals (RFP) from contractors to complete the study. “The climate crisis is an existential issue. We need to move forward with this feasibility study quickly so that we can start doing the hard work of building energy generation that is compatible with a livable future,” said Greg Woodring, President of Ann Arbor for Public Power.
The City Council resolution also includes an analysis of alternative pathways to reach Ann Arbor’s clean energy goals. Additionally, it authorizes steps advancing the creation of a sustainable energy utility (SEU). An SEU is a municipal utility that would operate alongside DTE to promote rooftop solar, energy efficiency, building electrification, and microgrids (buildings that generate power independently). Ann Arbor for Public Power supports the SEU as a complement to the muni that will allow us to accelerate our clean energy transition prior to acquiring DTE’s assets.
Ann Arbor for Public Power supports the posted resolution and urges Council to pass it. Moving forward, we encourage the city to utilize a transparent process with opportunities for community engagement while creating the feasibility study RFP.