An Evening of Climate Change Hope and Clean Energy Leadership with Consumers Energy CEO Patti Poppe and Local Energy Standouts

May 19, 2019 |

Event: Michigan’s Clean Energy Future: A Community Conversation

When: 5–6:30pm, Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Where: State Theatre, Downtown Traverse City

Groundwork is hosting a FREE community event this Wednesday that will brighten your world with a measure of legitimate hope about climate change and clean energy. This is something we all need, but most especially YOUNG PEOPLE need — they deserve to know progress is possible.

The clean energy transformation in America has come farther and faster than the vast majority of people realize. Did you know that in April green energy generated more electricity in America than coal did? Well, at 5-6:30pm, Wednesday, May 22, State Theatre, we will honor that clean energy transformation that is also happening in northern Michigan and the broader state when the CEO of one of the nation’s biggest utilities, Consumers Energy, maps out her company’s ZERO COAL path.

And we’ll celebrate local heroes, too. TC commissioner Tim Werner will divulge how TC made a 100% clean energy commitment (First town in the state!) and the dramatic progress already made. Cherry Republic’s Bob Sutherland will talk about his company’s 100% clean energy commitment and why he helps so many others—like farmers—purchase solar panels. And we’ll celebrate students from Glen Lake School who successfully raised funds for a solar array.

The conversation about climate change is so often complicated and filled with conflict, and what has been lost in all of that is the amazing progress made by individual companies, individual towns, even individual schools and homeowners who said, “We are done w the talk, let’s do this.” On Wednesday night, May 22, give some support, honor and momentum to all their efforts. You’ll cheer. You’ll clap. You’ll learn. And you’ll go home with a measure of hope and optimism that is legitimate, deserved and solid. Help build momentum for the clean energy transformation to fight climate change! See you Wednesday! (Did I mention it’s FREE?) Bring your kids, grandkids, whole family and friends!

Here’s the Facebook event listing


A Few Details About Presenters

Consumers Energy CEO Patti Poppe will discuss her remarkable personal and professional journey that led to a zero-coal corporate commitment at one of the nation’s biggest utilities. Until recently, Ms. Popped was a devoted fan of coal, but after leading her company into a deep and thorough look at the science of climate change, she and her corporate leadership team made a commitment to zero coal by 2040. Her journey was an intellectual journey, a cultural journey, and an emotional journey. Come hear this fascinating story.

Traverse City Commissioner and Traverse City Light & Power Board member Tim Werner will discuss what it took for the city and its municipal-owned utility to be the first in Michigan to commit to 100% clean energy for city operations, by 2020, and for all of Traverse City, by 2040. Along with Commissioner Werner and other local officials and partners, we will celebrate that Traverse City is ON TRACK to achieve these goals through its expansion of renewable energy contracts, including this month when the TCLP Board authorized another 9.3 megawatts of solar power.

Cherry Republic founder Bob Sutherland will describe why his company has committed to 100% renewable energy and discuss why companies need to take the lead in catalyzing climate solutions. Sutherland has also made significant donations to support renewable energy beyond his company, for example offering financial support to farmers wanting to install solar arrays, donating to the Glen Lake Schools solar array and supporting climate change organizations.

Glen Lake Schools Envirothon team decided to convince the school to install a solar array to help provide carbon-free energy and to provide a fantastic tool for education and job training. The school administrators gave it the green light and the school board agree to pay a portion, but the coach and students had to raise $20,000 to cover the costs. With the help of Groundwork’s SolaRISE program, the students met their fundraising goal. The array will be installed soon!

The evening is a special community event connected to Groundwork’s Michigan Clean Energy Conference, May 21–23. The conference brings in clean energy thought leaders and influencers from Michigan and beyond—people from fields of business, finance, policy and advocacy—to propel clean energy forward in the Mitten State.