Services and support for the clean energy transition

Services

Grand Haven Area Community Energy Plan

See how MEO and 5 Lakes Energy are leading an effort to determine the energy consumption and carbon footprint of the Grand Haven region!

At Michigan Energy Options (MEO), we are dedicated to guiding communities towards realizing the economic, social, and environmental benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy. MEO achieves this mission through three main approaches, including operating utility energy efficiency programs across the state, developing and implementing community-based renewables projects, and providing technical consulting and services. With a keen focus on providing practical, cost-effective solutions to complex energy issues, MEO works with for-profit and nonprofit partners to achieve greater collective impact. Since 2008, we have successfully implemented over 90 programs, making a positive impact on the communities, residents, and businesses we serve.

ENERGY PROGRAMS

MEO has a strong commitment to helping communities across the state of Michigan realize the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy. In recent years, our work in both the Lower and Upper Peninsulas has taken us to all 83 counties in the state.

With our partners, MEO operates a range of energy programs that help individuals, businesses, and communities adopt more sustainable practices. These programs are designed to address complex energy issues that communities face by providing practical, cost-effective solutions that help create long-lasting, positive change.

Since 2008, we have had the privilege of reaching more than 2 million people in Michigan through our programs. This has allowed us to make a significant impact on the economic, social, and environmental health of communities throughout the state. Our approach is centered on collaboration, and we work with a variety of partners, including non-profits, for-profits, utilities, and government agencies, to create the greatest collective impact possible.

Lansing Board of Water & Light
Since 2011, MEO has been delivering the Lansing Board of Water & Light’s (BWL) Hometown Energy Savers® residential “energy waste reduction” programs. Our work with the state’s largest municipal electric utility has been bringing electricity and dollar savings to BWL customers through programs such as financial incentives for high efficiency products, appliance recycling and low-income direct installs.
Utility Energy Efficiency Programs
MEO and our partners have been providing energy efficiency programming to utilities across the state since 2011.  Our team can provide everything from à la carte appliance  recycling and income qualified programs to a full suite of residential and commercial programs that include incentives for beneficial electrification, HVAC, renewable energy, energy audits, lighting, and more.

Community Projects

At MEO, we believe in the power of local solutions to drive positive change. We understand that there is a renewed interest in all things local – local economy, local foods, and local energy. Communities across the state are looking for ways to revitalize downtowns with thriving local businesses and food options, and to support local energy that is sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective.

MEO is dedicated to helping communities achieve these goals through our expertise in driving projects that promote greater energy efficiency in buildings and increase the generation of renewable energy, such as solar power. We work closely with local businesses, non-profits, and government agencies to develop practical and cost-effective solutions that help communities meet their energy needs while supporting local economic growth.

Our commitment to local solutions extends to all areas of our work. We believe that by supporting local solutions, we can strengthen local economies and create more sustainable communities. By working with local partners, we can tailor our programs to meet the unique needs of each community we serve, ensuring that we are delivering the greatest impact possible.

Community Solar
MEO offers community solar services that make solar energy accessible and affordable to individuals, businesses, and communities. Our East Lansing Community Solar Park project is Mid-Michigan’s first community solar park, with 1,000 solar panels generating clean, renewable energy. We handle project development, financing, construction, and maintenance to make the process hassle-free. Our commitment to community engagement and expertise in renewable energy allows us to customize solutions to meet each community’s needs.
Energy Planning
MEO’s holistic energy planning services are designed to help communities develop and implement sustainable energy strategies that reduce costs, promote energy efficiency, and increase the use of renewable energy sources. Our community-based approach means that we work closely with local leaders, stakeholders, and residents to identify and address the energy needs and goals of a community. We assess energy use and investigate efficiency measures and renewable energy options, such as solar and wind. Our goal is to empower communities to make informed decisions that benefit the environment and economy locally.

Technical Consulting

MEO offers a range of technical consulting services to help clients make informed decisions about their energy use and efficiency. Our experienced team is well-versed in basic to highly technical energy audits of buildings, energy consumption studies and modeling, and renewables adoption. We are proud to have earned the highest level of certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for our headquarters in East Lansing, which reflects our commitment to sustainable building practices.

One of our specialties is solar energy, which is a complex and evolving technology requiring ongoing maintenance and management to ensure optimal performance. Our technical consulting services include real-time system monitoring and analytics, exceptional project management and decision-making, scheduled and unplanned maintenance protocols, and access to a network of trades such as electrical, landscaping, and mechanical professionals who can troubleshoot any issues that arise.

Whether you are a business owner, municipal leader, or community member, MEO’s technical consulting services can help you navigate the complexities of energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions. Our team is dedicated to providing the highest level of service and expertise to our clients, and we are committed to advancing sustainable energy solutions that benefit both communities and the environment. Please contact us to learn more about how we can help you achieve your energy goals.

Renewables Feasibility Assessments
MEO offers comprehensive energy feasibility assessment services to organizations interested in integrating renewable energy into their operations. One recent success is our collaboration with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). MEO and partners helped the DNR achieve its renewable energy goals by conducting a thorough solar feasibility study of dozens of DNR properties and facilities throughout the state, creating request for proposals (RFPs) for large-scale and distributed solar projects. Our renewables feasibility assessment services include site analysis, project development, energy modeling, and financial analysis to ensure that our clients have the information they need to make informed decisions about integrating renewable energy.
Project Management

MEO provides project management services for a variety of renewable energy projects. Our team works closely with clients to develop and implement comprehensive plans that ensure projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the highest standards of quality. Our services include project planning and scheduling, risk management, resource allocation, project monitoring and reporting, and ongoing operations and maintenance. Our team also helps clients navigate the regulatory landscape, identify financing options, and ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Whether you are looking to develop a single building project or a large solar farm, MEO has the expertise and resources to help you achieve your renewable energy goals.

"MEO's expertise and project management were critical to the success of our renewable energy project. Their considered approach helped us to understand the complexities of integrating renewable energy, and ultimately led to a more impactful solution that exceeded our initial energy goals."
Clara Guggemos

Community Energy Specialist

Clara joined MEO in August 2021 and currently works as the Community Energy Specialist for the Lansing Board of Water & Light’s Hometown Energy Savers program. Clara is pursuing degrees in energy management and building construction through the Lansing Community College Alternative Energy Program. In their free time, Clara enjoys embroidering, mountain biking, and kayaking.

Jen Tucker
Senior Community Development Manger Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Jen serves the Upper Peninsula as the Community Development Manager at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.  With over 12 years of experience working in community development in the UP, and over 19 years of experience as a snow shoveling resident of the region, she works to achieve Yooper status.  She is armed with experience working at the local, county and state level, and has enjoyed a wide variety of other professional opportunities including wildland firefighting, instructing earth science courses, fundraising, and event planning. Jen attended Northern Michigan University for Environmental Conservation and Eastern Michigan University for Urban and Regional Planning. Jen spends most of her free time outside in the Great Lakes State, playing with her dog Peete, watching football, and working on her house. Her passion for music and cooking keep her thinking creatively and trying new things in all aspects of her life.

Nick Occhipinti

Affairs Director
Michigan League of Conservation Voters

Nick Occhipinti is the State Government Affairs Director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.  Nick has a broad range of environmental policy experience having served as the Policy and Community Activism Director for the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC), worked as a staffer for the Chair of Hawaii’s State Senate Energy and Environment Committee, in Lansing for the Granholm administration, and at the Rocky Mountain Institute.  He has also worked directly in communities as a field organizer for the Obama campaign in 2008 and as a Corps Member for AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and a Masters degree in Public Policy.

Abby Corso
Chief Program Officer Elevate Energy

Abigail is the Chief Strategy Officer at Elevate Energy, located in Chicago, Illinois. In this role, she oversees Elevate’s strategy in developing new programs nationwide from energy efficiency, solar, and planning including building up Elevate’s existing dynamic pricing and flagship multifamily building retrofit programs. Prior to this role, she served as Chief Program Officer and Director of New Market Initiatives, and was responsible for expanding Elevate’s affordable multifamily energy efficiency programs into new markets outside of the Chicago region including Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Oregon. Prior to joining Elevate Energy in 2012, Abigail was a Managing Director at the Delta Institute where she managed Delta’s sustainability consulting and industrial pollution prevention and energy efficiency program areas which included developing energy efficiency loan products for various Midwest initiatives.

Nathalie Osborn

Senior Energy Consultant

Nathalie Osborn is a natural energizer with a passion for inspiring efficiency, productivity, profitability and teamwork. She provides consultative sales, program management, and strategic business solutions and has assisted clients with implementing over $500M in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainability projects. As co-author of Ignite your Leadership: Proven Tools for Leaders to Energize Teams, Fuel Momentum & Accelerate Results, Nathalie also enjoys sharing keynote presentations, workshops and webinars on her chapter “Powering Personal Energy.”

Dr. Jessica Thompson
Associate Professor Northern Michigan University

Jes Thompson teaches courses in environmental communication and public relations. She is a trained facilitator and earned a graduate certificate in Adaptive Management of Environmental Systems at the University of Utah, where she earned an interdisciplinary doctoral degree in environmental communication. Her research is focused on communication about complex ecological issues, including climate change (check out her TEDx talk). Recent research projects include working with interdisciplinary teams studying climate resilience in Mongolia, ecosystem services in the Gulf of Mexico, and building communication capacity for climate change engagement at National Parks and USFWS Wildlife Refuges across the US.

Mary Ellen Mika

Director of Global Compliance and Sustainability
Steelcase Inc.

Mary Ellen Mika is Director of Global Compliance & Sustainability for Steelcase Inc., the global leader in the office furniture industry. She leads a team responsible for the company’s energy, renewable energy, and climate change response strategies including the development of science-based targets for greenhouse gas emissions; managing compliance with environmental regulatory requirements for products, facilities, and operations including implementation of the company’s ISO 14001 environmental management system and addressing environmental due diligence for potential acquisitions; pursuing product certifications for sustainability and indoor air quality; tracking and reporting waste, water, energy, recycling and composting efforts and setting goals for continuous improvement. Mary Ellen is a LEED-accredited professional and recently served on the Materials and Resources Technical Advisory Group for U.S. Green Building Council. She has a B.S. in Biochemistry, an M.A. in Counseling Psychology, and over thirty years of experience in environmental consulting and industry.

Michelle Jackson
Executive Director Sustainable Community Farms

Michelle Jackson is a fourth-generation farmer and the founder of Sustainable Community Farms. Michelle works hard on behalf of her community with the goal of uplifting the quality of life for those that live, work, and visit the neighborhoods. As the Executive Director of Sustainable Community Farms, she engages her community by organizing and presenting diverse platforms, for community members of all ages to participate in finding solutions to solving community issues. Michelle works collaboratively to transform the urban landscape diverse methods such as compost and compost systems. Michelle also has a passion for working on climate change issues, using her knowledge and expertise to introduce residents to the information needed to help them connect the dots between climate change and their everyday lives. Michelle’s work on climate change and urban farming has earned her an invitation to the White House to speak about Climate Change and its effects on small farmers. Michelle has also earned a seat on the Environmental Justice Work Group, appointed by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of the 13th District.

Chuck Hookham
Executive Director of Program Management CMS Enterprises

Chuck Hookham serves as executive director of project management for CMS Energy’s non-regulated business and other roles and functions like the Storm team. He has over 40 years of international experience in the electric power and other heavy industrial sectors, involved with development, regulatory issues, strategic planning, engineering, construction, and operation of generation, transmission, distribution, and energy storage projects. He recently completed terms on the State of Michigan’s Board of Professional Engineers and American Society of Civil Engineers Board, and is active in many local, city, county, and state groups with clean energy, building codes, and sustainability impacts. His footprint is on many wind and solar projects in the USA, including the first wind/solar/battery hybrid project in Ohio, first microgrid in Michigan, and largest single-unit wind farm in Texas. A registered professional engineer, he enjoys scarce “free” time working on advancing Michigan clean energy/storage via his consulting engineering practice, climbing mountains, participating in many sports, and chasing grandkids. He attended the University of Illinois (engineering) and Eastern Michigan (MBA).

Kimberly Sterner

Program Support Specialist

Kimberly joined MEO in 2022 and currently serves as the Program Support Specialist. Kimberly is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology. Prior to joining MEO, she worked on programs that assisted low-income individuals in finding necessary local resources. In her free-time, Kim enjoys hiking, landscaping, and spending time around animals.

John A. Kinch, PhD
Executive Director

John A. Kinch, PhD, directs the strategic and daily operations of Michigan Energy Options emphasizing innovative and collaborative projects between the public and private sectors. Kinch is a US Department of Energy SunShot advisor and a municipal-certified solar expert by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He has served on numerous nonprofit and governmental boards, including being chair of the City of East Lansing Commission on the Environment, a member of the Michigan Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards, a Vice President on the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association board and on advisory board for Highland Carbon. Kinch has volunteered at the Grand Rapids Community Food Club, among other social service organizations. He served as the inaugural “Executive in Residence” at Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business in 2022 and continues to guest lecture and teach. He has most recently been appointed to the Grand Haven Sustainability and Energy Commission.

More about John at LinkedIn

Michael Larson
Assistant Director

Michael J. Larson oversees the daily operations of Michigan Energy Options and manages projects across the state. Michael’s duties include clean energy consulting, oversight of utility energy waste reduction programs, and leading MEO’s community engagement on energy issues in the U.P. Michael has a Master of Public Administration and has been working with MEO since 2011. He currently serves as a Commissioner for the City of Marquette and as a board member for Michigan Saves, a nonprofit green bank.

More about Michael at LinkedIn

Brandon Kawalec
Program Manager

Brandon Kawalec joined MEO in 2015 and currently manages the Lansing Board of Water & Light’s Hometown Energy Savers residential programs. Brandon is a Michigan State University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Agriscience. Brandon enjoys bicycling, tennis and golf in his free time.

Angela Marez

Program Manager

Angela joined MEO in 2021 and serves as a Program Manager for Energy Smart, Energy Optimization, and the Lansing Board of Water & Light’s Hometown Energy Savers. Prior to joining MEO, she served as a multi-family Property Manager with experience in tax-credit and low-income programs.  In her free time, Angela enjoys camping, gardening, and raising Monarch butterflies.

Lauren Chapman
Program Coordinator

Lauren joined MEO in May 2019 and currently serves as Program Coordinator for the Lansing Board of Water & Light’s (BWL) Hometown Energy Savers program. Lauren primarily runs the High Efficiency Products rebate program for both BWL and the Upper Peninsula’s Energy Innovations Collaborative program. In their free time, Lauren enjoys reading, board games, horror movies, and spending time outdoors.

Bob Tinker
Technical Energy Consultant

Bob Tinker is a long-time supporter of Michigan Energy Options and a technical consultant for our commercial energy services. Bob is a registered architect in the State of Michigan specializing in energy efficient building design, construction and operations—including the use of solar energy in buildings. He has been partner and president in two architectural firms over his career. Tinker Energy, Bob’s current business, provides commercial energy audits for government and utility programs. Bob maintains a daily yoga and meditation practice to keep his personal energy tuned and focused.

More about Bob at LinkedIn

Nicki Rossi

Program Support Specialist

Nicki joined MEO in October of 2022 and currently serves as the Program Support Specialist.  She feels her position is allowing her to give back in a small way to the community and the environment.  Nicki previously spent 14 years in Property Management as a Multi-Site Community Manager and then went on to work in senior home care, providing care and companionship to elderly clients.  She enjoys being up north with her family and two dogs.  Her northern home allows her to enjoy all that nature provides: bird watching, kayaking, leisurely walks on wooded trails, and, of course, lake life.

Todd Parker
Director of Programs Michigan Saves

Todd Parker is the customer service manager for Michigan Saves, a multimillion-dollar nonprofit organization managed by Public Sector Consultants whose mission is to stimulate and support investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy systems in homes, businesses, and public buildings. He assists homeowners and business owners, oversees a network of authorized contractors, supports new program development and operational management, evaluates and improves quality assurance efforts, and analyzes data on loan trends. Todd wants people to spend as little money as possible on energy, so that they can spend money on the things that truly matter – family, experiences, personal well-being. Todd is a proud alumnus of Michigan State University and the Vermont Law School.