Northport Renewable Energy Community Plan (2015)

Client Organization: 
Northport Energy Action Taskforce
Project Location : 
Northport, MI
Summary of Project Idea: 

Our project goal was to develop a community-based 100% renewable electricity plan for Northport, Michigan and surrounding Leelanau Township. The non-profit Northport Energy Action Taskforce (NEAT) sought assistance from SNRE after having facilitated renewable energy and energy efficiency projects since their inception in 2010.

NEAT seeks to transition their community to 100% renewable energy, while creating a template for other small communities to make similar steps. Our team focused on electricity, measured on a net annual basis.

The project consisted of these primary research and engagement areas:

  1. Community engagement in conjunction with NEAT
  2. Household survey to gauge interest in a renewable energy plan and environmental attitudes
  3. Renewable energy resource analyses for wind and PV solar
  4. Energy efficiency analysis
  5. Financial model with regulatory impacts
  6. Plan development using scenarios

With relatively modest - or absent - requirements for reducing carbon emissions at the state and federal levels, community-level action to significantly reduce fossil-based energy use over the coming decades could be an important component to slowing climate change. Northport and Leelanau Township depend on tourism and agriculture, which are both sensitive to severe weather events and longer-term climatic changes. A coordinated transition to renewable energy also means less dependence on volatile fossil energy commodities. A community renewable energy plan can also reinforce a community's identity and strength.  

SEAS Program Areas: 
Conservation Ecology (Aquatic Sciences, Terrestrial Ecosystems, and Conservation Biology)
Environmental Policy and Planning
Sustainable Systems
SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Kim Wolske and Greg Keoleian
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Jeremy Good, MS Sustainable Systems
  • Kate Loshakova, MS Conservation Ecology
  • Kuan-Ho Lai, MS Sustainable Systems
  • Eric Weinberg, MSE/MS Sustainable Systems
  • Yiyao Chen, MS Environmental Policy and Planning
  • Luis Cecco, MS Sustainable Systems
Project Status: 
Past Project