What We Think

The Power of Microgrids

A basic example of the structure of microgrids - Source

By Grant Faber, SEMREO Intern and UM Student Many people think of renewable energy, like residential solar PV, as a hedge against unreliability of utility-supplied power. In fact, though, most of the solar power (95%) installed in Michigan does not work when the electric grid goes down. This is a safety measure that prevents solar Read more…

Capturing BIG Energy Savings with Small Upfront Costs

A solar PV array at the police station in Brownstone, MI - Source

By Grant Faber, SEMREO Intern and UM Student Saving energy and generating renewable energy can be very expensive. Everybody knows these projects pay off over the long run, but high upfront costs act as a barrier. It usually costs more to buy energy-efficient equipment than more conventional choices (for example, LED lights are more expensive Read more…

The Intricacies of LED Streetlights and Financing

LED Streetlights in Ypsilanti, MI - Source

By Grant Faber, SEMREO Intern and UM Student The case for municipal conversion to LED streetlights in Southeast Michigan is more than clear; according to a University of Michigan study, conversion can save municipalities an average of 55% of their energy costs (“Creating a Plan”). Such a reduction in monthly expenses frees up operating funds Read more…

Southeast Michigan Goes Solar!

Residential solar PV system in Michigan

The Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office recently launched its Southeast Michigan Goes Solar initiative, designed to give regional homeowners easy, simple, and reliable access to a turnkey package of solar panels, installation, and financing for their homes. Here are the key features of the program: Lower costs: SEMREO reduces equipment and installation costs for homeowners by Read more…

Protecting Municipal Energy Efficiency

Power lines in SE Michigan

In the wake of our tremendous success advocating for LED streetlight rates that reward energy efficiency investments, SEMREO is launching a new organization to represent municipalities’ interests in utility regulatory matters and in their direct dealings with utilities. Municipalities in Michigan have too little control over energy costs, providers and technologies. Energy costs can eat Read more…

MPSC Rate Case Victory!

Local LED streetlights

On Tuesday, January 31st 2017, SEMREO’s Michigan Street Lighting Coalition (MSLC) won a long-fought battle on DTE Electric rate case U-18014 that increased the savings gained from LED streetlights compared to older lighting technologies. Below is an example of the savings an “average” municipality with 1,000 DTE-owned streetlights can gain due to MSLC’s advocacy in Read more…

SEMREO Alum Appointed Sustainability Director

An urban farm in Detroit

SEMREO would like to congratulate Joel Howrani Heeres, our former Managing Director, on his appointment as the Director of Sustainability for the City of Detroit! He is the first to have ever been appointed to this role in the newly established Sustainability Office and will work to strengthen Detroit’s economic, social, and environmental well-being. If Read more…

Funding Municipal Energy Projects

Solar panels on a parking structure in Dearborn, MI

The Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office recently collaborated with the Michigan Community Energy Partnership (including EcoWorks Detroit, SEEDS, and Michigan Energy Options) to conduct an Energy Management and Capital Improvement Planning workshop for regional municipal leaders among other officials. The workshop included presentations about Capital Improvement Plans, incorporating energy projects into Master Plans, Ann Arbor’s Read more…

Networking the Region’s Energy Leaders

REO Meeting

Communities that have a solid strategic approach to energy management take more meaningful and lasting steps toward reducing their energy use and reliance on fossil fuels. Institutionalizing attention to energy issues through the development of sustainability departments and public engagement bodies can help communities focus on cutting edge policies for achieving their goals. The Southeast Read more…