Graham Sustainability Institute

Beyond Renewable: Incorporating Social Sustainability & Community Benefits

April 2019

In 2016, Traverse City, Michigan committed to sourcing 100% of the energy used for city operations from renewable sources by 2020. In 2018, the municipal utility Traverse City Light & Power made a similar commitment to 100% renewable sources by 2040. These declarations created opportunities for local energy project development in the region, paving the way for renewables to benefit environmental, social, and economic issues within the community. Renewable energy projects and infrastructure are not new, but communities across the United States are still struggling to find the best models to harness this opportunity, particularly for underserved geographies and communities. 

A team of Dow Fellows worked with leaders and stakeholders in Traverse City throughout 2018 and produced the Beyond Renewable document to highlight the benefits of renewable energy and methods of working effectively with stakeholders, including local government, developers, utility companies and members of the community.

Beyond Renewable, is related to the Dow Masters Fellows team project Making the Case for Renewable Energy in Traverse City. Traverse City recently committed to sourcing 100% of the energy used for city operations from renewable sources by 2020. To help reach this goal, the Groundwork Center is participating in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar in Your Community Challenge to create a model for harnessing the revenue from large, local, utility-scale solar projects. Through this project, the Traverse City Rural Independence through Solar Energy project (or TC-RISE), the Groundwork Center and its partners hope to create a series of solar and efficiency success stories that taken together will help rural and urban communities improve their homes, create jobs, and save residents money. 

Also, see:

2018 Project Report: Making the Case for Renewable Energy in Traverse City

Dow Fellows Program - Masters/Professional Fellows