Community Engagement

Ann Arbor, Mich., City Council Votes In Favor Of Public Power Feasibility Study

Ann Arbor, Michigan’s City Council on Jan. 18 unanimously adopted a resolution initiating a feasibility study for a public power utility.

Ann Arbor for Public Power, a nonprofit grassroots citizen group, has been leading the municipalization effort.

As the resolution noted, the city’s A2Zero climate action plan calls for a transition to 100% renewable power by 2030. Municipalization is a legal and established means to achieve that goal, Ann Arbor for Public Power said, noting that 41 Michigan cities and towns operate public power utilities, and both the state constitution and city charter explicitly enable new ones.

Investor-owned DTE Energy currently serves Ann Arbor.

The City Council resolution directed staff to draft a request for proposals to invite bids from outside consultants to conduct the feasibility study. The study would also include an analysis of alternatives to help Ann Arbor achieve its clean energy goals.

The resolution also authorized the advancing of a sustainable energy utility (SEU). A SEU is a public power utility that would operate alongside DTE to promote rooftop solar, energy efficiency, building electrification, and self-powering micro- and nanogrids.

Ann Arbor for Public Power supports the SEU as a way to accelerate the clean energy transition until the city establishes a public power utility and acquires DTE’s assets.

Ann Arbor for Public Power said it will continue promoting community discussion around municipalization, as it works towards an eventual voter referendum to establish a public power utility to replace DTE.

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