STEER Upper Peninsula Tool

Through funding from the State of Michigan Energy Office, MEO and Five Lakes Energy originally created the STEER-UP tool as an open-access integrated resource planning model for analyzing strategies to implement the Clean Power Plan. Though the implementation of the plan has been stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court, we believe STEER is still relevant to energy planning for the Upper Peninsula.

The tool automatically calculates the least-cost clean energy plan given policy options, load and price forecasts. It uses publicly available data for existing electric generating units in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. All data, inputs and formulae are visible to user and can be modified, designed to meet a balance in ease of use for the use while maintaining a high level of analytical rigor.

STEER-UP employs high resolution data: generator level data, hourly data for renewable resources, and energy efficiency options as represented in energy efficiency potential studies. In addition, the output of the STEER model identifies specific projects in which to invest or renewable resource installation to build, for least cost carbon mitigation.

Results from STEER-UP can help facilitate access to data and inform broad conversations across the Upper Peninsula and beyond about important public policy, energy planning and economic development issues and decisions.

Fluency with Excel is necessary to work with the model, but users with a range of power systems expertise can use it to create and test scenarios. Please note, this is a large Excel file and may take several minutes to download.

Click here to download the STEER-UP tool.

We are still refining the tool, updating data sets, and welcome any feedback on its usefulness and functionality. For comments, questions, or a demonstration on how to use the tool, please contact Michael Larson.

Potential Solar Development on Brownfields

Brownfields are sites in which the redevelopment or reuse of the property may be complicated by the presence or perception of contamination. The EPA cites the redevelopment of brownfields into solar generators as one of the most adaptive reuses of such sites, providing multiple benefits. 

Using this mapping tool, local officials, solar developers, utilities and others can locate brownfields and retired industrial sites within the Marquette and Houghton regions, and view the solar potential and related attributes of each site, such as acreage, proximity to transmission and substations, and site ownership. All data is approximated and is not intended to replace a detailed, site-specific assessment for solar development. Data was gathered from public sources, local officials and federal and state agencies. A State of Michigan Energy Office grant made this research project possible.

MEO’s brownfield tool utilizes the mapping engine and layer function of Google Maps to provide easy visualization of U.P. brownfields. The tool is not an exhaustive inventory of potential sites. The map consists of a series of symbols and colored lines generated over the Marquette and Houghton regions. Users can refer to the key (the green schoolhouse in the middle of the map) for guidance of symbol references. The map can also be downloaded into Google Earth, when you click to view the map in full size.

View previous project highlights below.
  • MSU Executive MBA Social Impact Project

    Michigan State University happens to sit across the street from our East Lansing Office and our nonprofit has had a long, mutually beneficial relationship with this premier research institution. From employing MSU graduates and interns at MEO to collaborating on ambitious projects to create regional sustainability, Michigan State has been a critical resource for a nonprofit with limited resources. MEO is currently benefiting from a team of MSU Executive MBAs, who have selected us to be the focus of their “social impact” project for the next couple years. Together, we are examining ways a nonprofit can harness best business practices to be more effective at creating social good.

    MEO Contact: John Kinch

  • Consumers Energy 'Energy Savers' Pilot

    Launched in 2014, this innovative pilot focuses on helping owners of affordable multifamily housing make deeper energy efficiency upgrades to their properties to improve their bottom line and the quality of life for their tenants. Too often, in the rental-housing sector, neither the property owner nor the tenant is motivated to make energy efficiency investments because the incentive is “split” between them. Partnering with MEO are Elevate Energy, which pioneered this program in Chicago, Consumers Energy and CleaResult.

    MEO Contact: Brandon Malaski

    More on Consumers Energy ‘Energy Savers’ Pilot.

  • Mid-Michigan Energy Study

    A region-wide study of energy usage with
    recommendations for greater energy efficiency

    How much energy is consumed in buildings in the Mid-Michigan Region and is this energy used efficiently? And why does this matter to the economic, social and environmental future of this region? MEO’s study attempts to answer these questions and more.


    This study provides a comprehensive portrait of energy usage in the built environment in the Michigan counties of Ingham, Eaton and Clinton with particular focus on a 20-mile transportation corridor between downtown Lansing and the village of Webberville.

    The intention of this study, as with others like it across the country, is to gather, or “aggregate,” all the energy consumption (primarily sourced from electricity and natural gas) in a single year— in our case, 2012. That total then becomes the “baseline” from which the region can measure future annual consumption patterns whether these are steady, increasing or decreasing.The study includes data sources, references, methodology, recommendations and conclusions.


    *Download and read the FULL REPORT.
    *Download and read the ABRIDGED REPORT.

    Online Regional Energy Planning Tool

    This companion project to our study allows decisions makers and stakeholders to model different future energy scenarios, taking into account changing economic growth and demographics, among other categories, over the decades to come.This tool, we believe, is extremely useful to comprehensive Regional (Community) Energy Planning.

    Our study and tool were made possible, in part, from a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development “Sustainable Regional Planning” grant, as well as local matching support. The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission administered the grant from 2012-2015.

    MEO Contact: Henry Love