Home » About » Media » What’s New

What’s New

Solar Freedom: What does a solar-powered community look like in Michigan in 2050?
May 21, 2015


The sun warms our skin and brightens our mood, especially in Michigan. With photovoltaic technology (PV), the sun has the powerful potential to reduce air pollution, improve our health, well-being and quality of life. Unleashing the power of the sun will enhance our communities and will help us take responsibility for our global impact.

“Solar freedom” starts with living lightly — eliminating energy waste. Imagine our buildings using at least 50% less energy and as much as 80% less than in 2005. Imagine buildings that are super insulated, with equipment and appliances that use a fraction of the energy compared to today, while providing the same or better service. These buildings are full of natural light and fresh air, with views of nature — lifting our spirits and inspiring creativity. Imagine our cars, trucks and delivery vehicles are built with super-light-weight, high-strength materials that allow them to travel a great distance, powered quietly by electricity.

Solar freedom is fulfilled when much of our remaining power needs are met by the sun. Imagine PV discretely located on private and public property across the community, primarily on rooftops and interconnected to the grid. Those with good solar access are generating power in excess of their use and earning extra income from the sale of electricity. Those without solar access are buying power at a much lower cost per kilowatt-hour than they paid to the old utility. Due to the fixed cost of PV installations and free solar resource, electricity cost per kilowatt-hour is now predictable. Imagine the batteries in our vehicles helping to balance when power is available on the grid. They are an integral part of our power storage system with smart controls that allow them to discharge any excess power, earning income for the vehicle owner.

With PV distributed across the community on rooftops, integrated into building facade materials and at a few select ground-mount locations, the waste from long transmission distances is also eliminated. The generation of power is close to the users, within the community. At the same time, regional interconnection is maintained so power is still available if local generation is interrupted. A combination of solar PV, wind, biomass, geothermal, passive solar, solar thermal, and our greatly reduced energy needs result in clean renewable energy.

Why by 2050? In 2009, the Michigan Climate Action Council’s (MCAC) Climate Action Plan  “proposed GHG reduction goals for Michigan are to achieve a 20% reduction of GHGs below 2005 levels by 2020 and an 80% reduction below 2005 levels by 2050.” For Michigan, redirected investment can simultaneously invigorate our economy, protect our natural resources, create energy independence and improve public health and our way of life. In the book Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2011), Amory Lovins and the Rock Mountain Institute outline in great detail how this can be done with the technology that is already commercially available, by 2050.

Electricity from PV is a local solution to power generation, located on private and public properties with solar access. Communities are in direct control over how and where it is integrated to meet their local power needs. Solar freedom is power independence.

Bonnie Scheffler Bona, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Clean Energy Coalition, Project Manager
734.585.2774 x.12

Support your Ann Arbor community bike share, ArborBike
May 19, 2015


Help support ArborBike, Ann Arbor’s community bike share program, by becoming a sponsor or donor of the program. As of June 1st, ArborBike will have 14 stations and 125 bikes positioned throughout the downtown and University of Michigan campus areas, allowing students, residents, and visitors alike to conveniently and inexpensively get around Ann Arbor.

ArborBike soft-launched in September 2014 and is owned and operated by Clean Energy Coalition, an Ann Arbor non-profit, in partnership with the University of Michigan, the City of Ann Arbor, and TheRide.

Sponsorship Opportunities
We are currently offering opportunities for Ann Arbor area businesses to advertise on our bikes and/or stations as well as receive discounted membership rates for employees.

Visibility Sponsorships
–  Brand our bikes and/or stations with your company logo
–  Put your brand behind clean, green, healthy transportation

Employee Benefits Sponsorships
–  Offer employees quick transportation for lunch trips & in-town meetings
–  Incentivize your colleagues to get active and be healthy with annual membership discounts

Download the sponsorship packet for more information on options and pricing. If interested in becoming a sponsor, contact Heather Croteau, ArborBike Operations Manager, at HeatherC@cec-mi.org or 734-585-5720 x38.

Donation Opportunities
Donations are another great way to show your enthusiasm and support for ArborBike. We welcome any amount and appreciate your support of ArborBike! If you are interested in donating, fill out our Donation-by-Mail Form or donate online. Thank you!


ArborBike’s final eight stations to be installed end of May
May 19, 2015

ccrb kiosk

The much anticipated full system launch of ArborBike has arrived. The final eight bike share stations will be installed May 26th-29th, bringing the total system size to 14 stations and 125 bicycles throughout the downtown and university campus areas. The first six stations were installed on University of Michigan and Ann Arbor District Library property back in September 2014.

“We are excited to move forward with ArborBike’s full launch and install the remaining eight stations,” said ArborBike operations manager Heather Croteau. “We’ve already seen steady use of the current six stations – with 369 members and 631 trips taken since our re-launch in March 2015. We can expect the new stations will increase these numbers and we encourage everyone interested to visit ArborBike.org to learn about our membership options and station locations.”

ArborBike’s vendor, B-cycle will be installing 2 stations each day with all stations active by the evening of May 29, 2015.

Installation will occur according to the following tentative schedule; Tuesday: one station at the North Quad dormitory on State & Washington and one station near Walgreens on N. University & State; Wednesday: one station near Bank of America on Washington & Main and one station located near the Shapiro Undergraduate Library at S. University & E. University; Thursday: one station at City Hall and one station at Kerrytown; Friday: one station near Elbel Field at S. Division & Hill and one station placed on S. University & Washtenaw near Mighty Good Coffee. For a full map of ArborBike’s locations, visit arborbike.org/map.

“These final installations represent the culmination of three years of intensive planning and meetings with a multitude of individuals, community partners and stakeholders. It’s amazing to see this program come together and we are so thankful to be able to offer this service to the community,” said Heather Croteau.

The official ArborBike Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will be held on Friday, June 5, 2015 from 11:30am – 1pm at one of ArborBike’s stations located on S. University and E. University across from Ulrich’s Bookstore and Espresso Royale. All are invited to attend and celebrate bike share in Ann Arbor. Representatives from the University of Michigan, City of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, and Ann Arbor City Council will all share a few words.

Like other bike share programs, ArborBike is meant to be used for quick trips and checkout time is limited to keep the bikes in circulation.

Members are able to take unlimited 60-minute trips during a day without additional charges. For each additional 30 minutes on a trip over 60 minutes, it costs $3.

Annual and monthly memberships must be purchased online at ArborBike.org, while 24-hour passes are sold directly at station kiosks.

The normal membership rates are $65 for an annual pass, $10 for a monthly pass, and $6 for a 24-hour pass. There also are discounted rates for U-M employees and students, and group discounts for 15 or more annual memberships. If your business is interested in increasing your visibility in Ann Arbor, sponsorship opportunities such as logo placement on the bikes and stations are also available. For more information on how to be a sponsor, visit arborbike.org/sponsors.

Clean Energy Coalition, in partnership with the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority, secured a $600,000 federal grant for capital costs for the program, and the city of Ann Arbor is providing $150,000 in matching funds over the first two years.

U-M has pledged $600,000 to help cover operations for the first three years, with memberships and other sponsorships expected to cover remaining costs.

ArborBike is excited to offer this service to the community and hopes to expand in the coming years to add additional stations and bikes to Ann Arbor. If you have suggestions on where you would like to see future stations, email your ideas to info@arborbike.org.

Clean Energy Coalition Seeks Full-time Project Associate
May 8, 2015

We’re hiring!

Clean Energy Coalition seeks an energetic and self-motivated Full-time Project Associate to assist with developing, implementing, and evaluating innovative clean energy projects in the building and transportation sectors. The Project Associate will work closely with residents, businesses, and local officials to promote Clean Energy Coalition’s projects and programs.

Please see the linked position description for details and information on how to apply.

A changing energy world: how resilient are you?
May 4, 2015

climate resiliency

Our world is changing before our eyes. In the summer of 2012, India experienced the largest blackout in history, affecting about 670 million people – roughly 10% of the world’s population. In November of 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, considered one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall, tore through the central Philippines, killing nearly 6,000 people and displacing more than 3.6 million. Closer to home, dramatic temperature changes including the record-setting polar vortex and unseasonably warm temperatures followed by frost are significantly damaging Michigan crops, jeopardizing the future of our state’s farmers. We can count on paying more for fuel as well, with the cost for a gallon of gas projected to reach $5.38 in Michigan by 2018. But it’s not all bad news. Emerging technologies and a new outlook on our world can help us be more energy efficient than ever before and expand the use of clean energy. 

In this age of extreme weather, dramatically fluctuating fuel prices, and unpredictable power outages, the question is: how resilient are you? Come see Clean Energy Coalition’s founder and executive director, Sean Reed, as he delivers a presentation on practical lessons he has learned on resilience and the smart energy decisions we can make in both our personal and private lives. As Sean will explain, the time is right to seize this opportunity. We can take control of our energy future, but we must act now.

Join us for SPARK’s Michigan Energy Forum on RESILIENCE!

Thursday, May 7th, 5pm-7pm
Ann Arbor SPARK
330 East Liberty St. (lower level)
Ann Arbor, MI 48104 (map)

Register for the event here.
(Registration closes 24 hours before the event.)

Incentives Available for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
April 1, 2015


Through the Michigan Energy Office’s Electric Vehicle Charging Station Project, $20,000 in incentive funding is available to Michigan small businesses, municipalities, or not-for-profit organizations considering electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Four workshops will be held throughout the State to cover the process for applying for charging infrastructure and installation incentive funds. Presenters will discuss:

  • how to estimate EV charging demands,
  • the process of citing and installing a station,
  • financing options, and
  • the requirements to apply for the available funding.

In order to be eligible to apply for funding, your organization must attend one of the four workshops.


Click here to listen to project associate Heather Croteau talk about the program on WJR’s Powering Michigan’s Future!


Grand Rapids

Aquinas College
Wege Student Center, Loutit Room
1607 Robinson Rd SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Tuesday April 14, 2015
9:00am – 12:00pm ET
Click here to register


Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor DDA
150 South Fifth Ave Suite 301
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Thursday April 16, 2015
9:00am – 12:00pm ET
Click here to register



EVITP Facility
2277 E 11 Mile Rd Suite 1
Warren, MI 48092

Wednesday April 22, 2015
9:00am – 12:00pm ET
Click here to register



Western Michigan University
Office of Sustainability, Meeting Room
2529 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008

Wednesday April 29, 2015
9:00am – 12:00pm ET
Click here to register

Low-Interest Financing Available for Energy Efficiency Projects in Rental Housing
March 31, 2015

Prepare your properties for Michigan’s long, cold winters by making energy efficient upgrades that will save you money and make your tenants more comfortable. Investments in energy efficiency not only reduce your maintenance costs, but they also improve the marketability of your properties by attracting and keeping tenants.

The a2energy Loan Fund for Rental Housing offers eligible rental property owners access to low-interest financing for energy efficiency retrofits, such as insulation, air sealing, HVAC upgrades, and select ENERGY STAR products.

The Loan Fund provides:

  • Financing for up to $8,000 per property
  • Interest rates between 2% and 3.5%, with reduced rates available for certain project types
  • Terms between 12 and 36 months

In order to qualify, properties must:

  • Contain 1-4 units
  • Be located in Washtenaw County
  • Complete an energy audit prior to performing work
  • Be in compliance with local rental housing inspections
  • Use contractors authorized by Michigan Saves

For more information and to see if you qualify, visit a2gov.org/loanfund

Sign up here to receive more information on how to apply for the program, or contact:

Allison Skinner
Project Manager
734-585-5720 ext. 16

ArborBike is Back!
March 19, 2015

arborbike logo

What better way to celebrate the first day of spring than by riding around town or running your errands on an ArborBike?

Stations will go live Friday, March 20, 2015 and remain active until late fall 2015. There are currently 6 active stations around the University of Michigan campus and downtown at the Ann Arbor District Library with a total of 45 bikes available for use.

Anyone interested in becoming an ArborBike member can visit arborbike.org. Memberships are available as a day-pass, month-pass, or annual pass. ArborBike members can checkout a bike at any station and ride, free of usage fees, for up to 60 minutes. At the end of the 60-minute period, users must return to a kiosk. If desired, users can then immediately check a bike back out and continue riding. Additional user fees are only incurred on rides over 60 minutes in length. As a bike share system, ArborBike is meant to encourage short trips in and around the downtown and campus areas.

The 2014 ArborBike season closed with 293 users and 690 trips taken over the 2 months that the bikes were available. The 2015 season is expected to see a dramatic increase in ridership, due to the extended length of the season and a scheduled expansion early summer 2015.

Eight additional stations are scheduled to launch throughout downtown Ann Arbor at the end of May 2015 with a ribbon-cutting event in early June 2015. The installation of these remaining stations will bring the station count to 14 and the available bikes to 125. To check out the locations of the stations, visit arborbike.org/map.

Stay up-to-date with the latest #ArborBike news by ‘liking’ ArborBike on Facebook or following @ArborBike on Twitter

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Unveils Updated Fleet
October 14, 2014

sleeping bear dunes

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) recently celebrated the successful implementation of a Clean Cities National Parks Initiative project, unveiling a fleet of new electric and propane vehicles. All six vehicles are helping the park to continue its “greening” efforts. The accomplishments were celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony, attended by Clean Energy Coalition.

With funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and technical assistance from Clean Energy Coalition, the National Lakeshore implemented a range of measures to reduce the environmental impact of its fleet. Specifically, the National Lakeshore was able to:

  • Replace aging fleet vehicles with three new plug-in electric vehicles and three propane pickup trucks.
  • Install electric vehicle charging stations and a tire inflation station.
  • Transition the vehicle fleet into a shared-resource motor pool structure.
  • Provide “eco-driver” training to all employees.

As a result of the initiative, the park was able to reduce its fleet vehicle emissions by nearly 20 percent and promote the benefits of alternative fuels and fuel-efficient driving habits with its more than 1.3 million annual visitors.

The ribbon-cutting event included remarks from National Lakeshore staff, Clean Energy Coalition staff, and elected officials. Event guests had the opportunity to view the new vehicles and charging station in the visitor center parking lot.

This change comes after several years of working with Clean Energy Coalition to help the park reduce its carbon footprint. The park hopes the move will inspire visitors to do their part to reduce their emissions both at the park and at home.

For more information on this Clean Cities initiative, contact:

Josh Rego
Ann Arbor Area Clean Cities Coordinator
734-585-5720 ext. 25

Question of the Month
October 14, 2014

CC Question of the Month

Question of the Month: What are the new credit allocations that were established under the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE)’s Alternative Fuel Transportation Program (Program) earlier this year? How can I help spread the word on these new Energy Policy Act (EPAct) compliance pathways?

Answer: DOE issued a final rule on March 21, 2014, that establishes credit levels for additional means by which covered state and alternative fuel provider fleets operating under the Program’s Standard Compliance option may earn credits. These credits may be used toward compliance with a fleet’s alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) acquisition requirements. DOE promulgated the rule pursuant Congress’ direction, set forth in Section 133 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.


The new credit allocations address the acquisition of various types of electric drive vehicles and allow covered fleets to earn credits under Standard Compliance for some vehicles that do not meet the EPAct 1992 definition of an AFV. Newly eligible vehicles include the following (with their credit allocations):

  • Certain hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) – one-half credit
  • Plug-in electric vehicles – one-half credit
  • Fuel cell electric vehicles – one-half credit
  • Neighborhood electric vehicles – one-fourth credit

Medium- and heavy-duty HEVs are also eligible for one-half credit after a fleet has met its light-duty AFV acquisition requirements.


Acquiring the electric drive vehicles noted above is not the only new way to earn credits under EPAct Standard Compliance. Fleets may now earn credits for investments of their own funds (not grant funds or other monetary awards) in qualified alternative fuel infrastructure. For every $25,000 invested, a covered fleet may earn one credit, with a limit of five credits available per fleet per model year for private infrastructure investment, and ten credits per fleet per model year for public infrastructure investment.

Other Investments

Fleets may also earn credits for investments in alternative fuel non-road equipment and/or emerging technologies associated with the Section 133-identified vehicles. The credits for non-road equipment are similar to infrastructure – one credit for every $25,000 invested and a maximum of five credits may be earned per fleet per model year. Emerging technologies investments will earn a covered fleet two credits for the initial investment of $50,000 and one credit for every $25,000 invested thereafter, with a limit of five credits per fleet per model year.

Fleets may begin taking advantage of these new credit allocations for their efforts undertaken in model year 2014 and future model years.

How Can You Spread the Word?

Are you aware of any covered utility or state fleets that are building new fueling infrastructure?

  • Inform them they can earn EPAct credits.

Do you have an EPAct covered fleet stakeholder that needs an extra push to buy or lease HEVs?

  • Let them know that certain HEVs are now eligible for EPAct credits.

Do you or your stakeholders have questions regarding EPAct compliance?

  • Contact the Regulatory Information Hotline: regulatory.info@nrel.gov or 202-586-9171.

Note that covered fleets are currently compiling their Program reports for model year 2014 (September 1, 2013 to August 31, 2014) activities, which are due by December 31, 2014.

For more information, refer to the following resources:

For more information on how this may impact your fleet or community, contact:

Laura Palombi
Business Development Director
734-585-5720 x22

Next Page