The Renewable Energy Tour informs and inspires planners

The Renewable Energy Tour informs and inspires planners

A bus tour of Michigan’s renewable vitality tasks for volunteer planning commissioners {and professional} planners this summer season sowed seeds which might be nonetheless bearing fruit. About 30 planners visited the Chihuahua County Photo voltaic Collector and the Isabella Wind Venture in Clare on a tour curated by the Ann Arbor-based Ann Arbor Basis. Michigan Planning Association (MAP) and funded by the Michigan Division of Setting, Nice Lakes and Vitality (EGLE) as a part of the Catalyst Communities Program.

Planners go to the Photo voltaic Park Complicated in Chihuahua Prefecture. (Picture courtesy of Kathleen J. Klein-Hudson)

Rob Stanford, a grasp planner with the Livingston County Division of Planning, discovered the experiment so helpful that he was impressed to repeat it simply two months later, with the assistance of fellow planners Kathleen Klein Hudson and Scott Barb. The trio invited greater than 25 city council members and planning commissioners from rural Livingston County communities just lately contacted by photo voltaic corporations searching for non-public lease agreements.

“I assumed it will be a singular alternative if we in Livingston County Planning had been capable of arrange planning commissioners and trustees from Conway, Kohukta and different Western tier communities to go to the power in the same manner,” Stanford mentioned. “This journey has taught me a lot about this expertise, and I needed to have the ability to share it with as many leaders in our area people as doable.”

Dr. Sarah Mills, Professor and Senior Venture Supervisor on the College of Michigan Graham Institute for SustainabilityJune tour organized. For seven years, Mills has helped communities throughout the state think about vitality in land use planning, zoning, and different policymaking. The tour was the ultimate half of a bigger collaborative undertaking that Mills and her group led together with their colleagues at Michigan State University Extension (MSU-E), in partnership with MAP and supported by EGLE.

First, MSU-E and UM Graham employees had been developed “Planning and Zoning for Solar Energy Systems,” A information to serving to Michigan communities turn out to be photo voltaic prepared by addressing photo voltaic vitality methods of their insurance policies and rules. Then, the undertaking group educated native authorities officers and planning commissioners via webinars and in-person workshops in Could and June 2022. Lastly, the group invited the webinar and workshop individuals to the tour. The aim was to demystify renewable vitality sources for these concerned in figuring out their websites.

A complete undertaking embodies the cascading impact of small efforts ensuing from massive intentions. For EGLE, serving to communities with siting issues is a necessary a part of reaching the MI Wholesome Local weather Plan’s aim of a affluent, carbon-neutral future for Michigan. Plans are underway to offer focused coaching in a minimum of two different Michigan areas that participated in the identical coaching that impressed Stanford and his colleagues. Mills plans to supply a handbook for different organizations and municipalities searching for a training-of-trainer curriculum for renewable vitality, and neighboring states comparable to Indiana have already expressed curiosity.

“Sarah Mills is a good instructor,” Stanford mentioned. “I feel the entire expertise opened lots of eyes and relieved among the prejudices and fears that beforehand existed with our locals. It helped them see that with good rules, correct planning, zoning strategies and instruments, the undesirable elements of growing Photo voltaic vitality, and it shouldn’t be dangerous to you or your neighborhood.”

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