Clean Energy Project:

Net Zero COMMUNITIES

Through our Net Zero Communities work, your support empowers our Solar on Schools program which aims to help schools set renewable energy goals, implement solar on their facilities, and adopt renewable energy into their curriculum. Through this program, we are educating the next generation about clean energy and climate change while also reducing actual carbon emissions from schools. Additionally, we empower local governments with policy and technical advice to support their transition toward a clean energy economy.

 

A “Net Zero Community can be achieved in a variety of sectors including energy production, transportation, and agriculture, through a combination of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and adopting clean energy sources. Many communities have set carbon neutrality targets, with the aim of achieving this goal by 2050 or earlier, including the State of Michigan.

The Solar on Schools program helps to address the climate crisis and builds awareness about proactive steps that local communities can pursue while educating the next generation of climate leaders. Switching to solar energy and committing to 100% renewable energy can benefit schools in several ways. It can help to save money on energy bills, reduce carbon emissions and improve the environment, provide educational opportunities for students, improve local air quality, and engage the community around environmental issues. By making a commitment to renewable energy, schools can demonstrate leadership in sustainable practices and create a culture of environmental awareness among students, staff, and the wider community. We are working with several school districts pursuing 100% renewable energy, including Petoskey Public School and Pellston Public Schools!

In addition, with Groundwork’s support, Traverse City became the first city in Michigan to commit to 100% clean energy for its electrical supply, with a goal of making the transition by 2040. Petoskey has also committed to 100% clean electricity and chose a completion date of 2035.

Groundwork was an important partner in helping both Traverse City and Petoskey to see feasible ways of reaching their 100% goals, which helped give city commissioners in both towns the confidence they needed to vote for this important and visionary goal. Groundwork is providing ongoing support to Petoskey and Traverse City as these communities pursue their climate goals through pursuing building electrification policies, community solar projects, and advocacy for integrating energy efficiency measures and renewable energy production into city facilities.

For more information about our Net Zero Communities program, please contact Groundwork Climate and Clean Energy Specialist Liv Rollinger.

 

Take Action!

  • Contact Groundwork for advice and resources on how to convince local decision makers.
  • Speak at public meetings, with clear purpose and solid data to promote your initiative locally.
  • Team up with others passionate about community solar and building electrification—advocacy is not a solo endeavor!

Strategies for Reaching 100% Clean Energy Commitments

Zero-carbon electric heat for homes: Rural Electric Co-ops Lead Way

Social sustainability & community benefits in renewable energy projects

Tim Werner

"Our new solar array will help Traverse City meet its 100% clean energy goal. This wouldn’t happen without Groundwork."

— Tim Werner, Traverse City Commissioner