- $3.5 million will support clean development and climate planning through the MiNextCities pilot project in Dearborn, Flint, Marquette.
- Local governments welcome nine graduate students to support sustainability and clean energy projects as Catalyst Leadership Circle Fellows.
- More than 40 communities earn Michigan Green Communities Challenge certification.
- The Community Energy Management Program is providing $90,704 to four communities to reduce their energy consumption.
Dearborn, Flint and Marquette have been chosen for the first phase of a three-year program MiNextCities pilot project to fight climate change, promote resilience, improve infrastructure and accelerate the use of clean energy, smart city technology and efficient mobility solutions.
A $3.5 million grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) will help facilitate the MiNextCities effort by NextEnergy, a Detroit-based leader in deploying smart city, and Public Sector Consultants, a Lansing-based public policy. consulting firm. The three pilot cities were chosen for their diversity in terms of size, geography, capacity, utilities and population demographics, and in line with the goals of the Office of Climate and Energy’s Catalyst Communities initiative, of the MI Healthy Climate Plan and the Office of Environmental Justice Public Advocate emphasizes environmental justice.
“MiNextCities will help develop a framework that Michigan communities can use to implement sustainable measures to address climate impacts,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said. “Flint, Dearborn and Marquette have been chosen for the first phase of a three-year pilot program and I look forward to seeing how they will use this grant to improve infrastructure, boost energy efficiency and promote climate resilience. Together, their actions will help us pursue the roadmap to 2030 outlined in the MI Healthy Climate Plan and create well-paying jobs and economic prosperity for families, communities and small businesses while tackling head-on the climatic changes.
NextEnergy will guide the three cities in developing strategies to:
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Improve mobility and quality of life.
- Increase the attraction and retention of workers and businesses.
- Improve security.
- Stimulate private sector and community investment.
Additionally, the pilot program will develop a community smart city readiness and deployment guide to help other communities tailor sustainability efforts to their own needs and challenges.
Public sector consultants will facilitate stakeholder engagement and program evaluation. MiNextCities will also draw on input and insights from an advisory group of state agencies, nonprofits, community groups, and local project teams. Following consultations with residents and local leaders, MiNextCities will identify solutions and business models for each city, then work with the local community to deploy smart city initiatives.
“It’s a multi-tiered approach that meets Michigan communities where they are and ensures they have the resources and know-how necessary for a just transition to Michigan’s sustainable and clean energy future. “, said Director of EGLE Liesl Clark.
“MiNextCities will make Michigan a leader in deploying smart city solutions,” said Jim Saber, President and CEO of NextEnergy. “Michigan will be one of the first states to fully realize the benefits of next-generation smart energy and mobility solutions.”
“We are delighted to have been selected to participate in the MiNextCities program,” said Karen Kovacs, Director of Marquette City. “The timing is really impeccable, as the city has recently committed to developing a climate action plan, which is in line with many initiatives outlined in the MiNextCities program. We look forward to working with consultants such as NextEnergy and Public Sector Consultants as we move deeper into the ever-changing world of smart cities.
“The City of Flint is thrilled to have been selected as one of three Michigan cities to participate in MiNextCities,” said Flint Mayor Sheldon A. Neeley. “We intend to use this opportunity as a step towards strengthening operational efficiency and improving the quality of life of our residents through the implementation of smart solutions. This is another positive step forward for the City of Flint and for our community.
“The MiNextCities program allows us to tap into our roots as the cradle of innovation to fully realize the potential of next-generation smart city solutions,” said Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud. “Dearborn couldn’t be more thrilled to have been selected and more excited to work with partner cities to chart the way forward.”
Community Energy Management Program
EGLE’s Materials Management Division announces four awards under its Community Energy Management Program (CEMP) totaling $90,704 to Scio Township ($25,000), Indian Community of Hannahville ($18,004), Northwest Michigan Child and Family Services ($25,000), and Bay Mills Indian Community ($22,700). CEMP provides financial incentives to local governments, tribal governments and other public service entities for recommended energy-related implementation projects, from energy audits to renewable energy installations.
Earlier this spring, the program awarded grants to the City of Rockford ($15,000), Beaverton Manor Limited Dividend Housing ($25,000), the City of Rochester Hills ($25,000) and the City of Norway ($25,000).
Catalyst Leadership Circle Fellowship
EGLE’s Catalyst Communities program, in partnership with the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan, has placed nine emerging sustainability leaders with local governments as Catalyst Leadership Circle (CLC) Fellows through July 29 2022.
The CLC scholarship connects passionate students with local governments that are taking the lead in statewide sustainability initiatives. The scholarship will help communities achieve their climate and energy goals while developing a pipeline of passionate and capable students ready to enter the workforce into careers in sustainability after gaining practical knowledge. Fellows will support their host communities with advanced sustainability and clean energy projects.
Fellows work in Meridian Township, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, East Lansing, Traverse City, Holland, Ferndale, and Detroit and will coordinate with the Michigan Municipal League.
Community Energy Management Program
In sustainability news, EGLE is announcing four awards through its Community Energy Management Program (CEMP) totaling $90,704 to Scio Township ($25,000), Hannahville Indian Community ($18,004), Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan ($25,000) and Bay Mills Indian Community ($22,700). CEMP provides financial incentives to local governments, tribal governments and other public service entities for recommended energy-related implementation projects, from energy audits to renewable energy installations. Earlier this spring, the program awarded grants to the City of Rockford ($15,000), Beaverton Manor Limited Dividend Housing ($25,000), the City of Rochester Hills ($25,000) and the City of Norway ($25,000).