Michigan Energy Options (MEO), along with partners Elevate Energy and SunStore Energy, is proud to be supporting the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in its efforts to incorporate renewable energy into its operations. DNR is the first state agency in Michigan to embark on such a goal.
MEO and its partners are providing a comprehensive range of services to help DNR achieve its renewable energy goals. This includes conducting a thorough solar feasibility study of dozens of DNR properties and facilities across the state, creating request for proposals (RFPs) for large-scale and distributed solar projects, and developing an “Energy Transition Plan” for the state agency—the first of its kind in the State of Michigan government.
One of the key strategies being developed is to deploy solar on marginal lands using environmentally friendly best practices. This will help reduce or even eliminate the DNR’s energy costs, while also maximizing revenue from leasing properties for renewable energy projects across their land holdings of 4.6 million acres.
The first phase of this multi-year contract includes the installation of distributed solar at the Oden Fish Hatchery, located near Petoskey. This will include solar panels on its visitor center and adjacent isolation building. DNR received support for the visitor center solar from the Frey Family Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Charlevoix County Community Foundation, along with donations from the Friends of Oden.
Looking ahead, DNR anticipates releasing two RFPs in the summer of 2020 for land leases for utility-scale projects at former mining sites in the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. These marginal-land sites could potentially support more than 100 megawatts of solar power. To help prepare prospective solar developers for these opportunities, MEO, along with the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, provided an informational webinar in May 2020.
MEO is excited to be at the forefront of this groundbreaking project and looks forward to continuing to work with DNR to incorporate renewable energy into its operations. With this initiative, Michigan is taking a significant step forward in its transition to a more sustainable future.