- Target: 100% renewable energy for electricity, heating and transportation
- Status: In progress
- RES: Windpower, solar energy and geothermal.
- Implementation: Leelenau Township is located on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, and is well known for its cherry industry and for summer tourism. In Northport, a small village with an area of 1.65 square miles located near the tip of Leelanau Peninsula, a group of local leaders had decided that the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy were worth the effort to transition the township to 100% renewable energy. To enable the township to achieve this target, local university students and activist leaders began working together in 2014 to develop a Renewable Energy Community Plan. This effort would involve the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) Master’s Project Team with the Northport Energy Action Taskforce (NEAT). NEAT is a local non-profit, all volunteer, community based organisation that advocates and pursues actionable renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Its members include senior retired professionals, farmers, government committee members, and others with influence in the community.
The Renewable Energy Community Plan focuses on educating the public and garnering community support to accelerate efforts in becoming a resilient, energy self-sufficient and energy efficient community. It lays out a design and method of implementation for a model which other small Michigan communities can successfully emulate. The basis of the Leelanau model is the initial energy target of meeting the Leelanau-Northport's 30 million kilowatt hour annual electricity demand with renewable energy sources. Next is to expand the Plan to include the heating and transportation sectors.
Renewable power installations already implemented in the township include a community wind turbine that helps power a local wastewater treatment plant, the solar powered Northport Creek Golf course, and other solar energy systems planned for local agricultural operations, wineries and government facilities. Some residents have installed renewable energy and efficiency upgrades in their homes, as well as geothermal units for heating and cooling. Among the financing models being explored in the Plan are community owned projects like a community solar farm in which multiple community members may own a stake in the system.
- Population: 2,017 (2017)
- Area: 227.6 sq mi (589.4 km2)
- Link: https://www.northportenergy.org