Local governments seek Grand Haven-area residents’ viewpoints on community energy planning

A series of December open houses sponsored by local governments aims to determine what energy issues concern Grand Haven area residents.

Open houses will be on:
  • Dec. 12, 5-7 p.m. Central Park Place, 421 Columbus Ave., Grand Haven.
  • Dec.13, 8-10 a.m., City Hall, 17520 Ridge Ave., Ferrysburg.
  • Dec. 13, 5-7 p.m., Township offices, 13300 168th Ave, Grand Haven Township.
  • Dec. 20, 6-7 p.m., virtual Zoom meeting.
The open houses are intended for residents, business owners, students, government officials, and community leaders. They are part of a larger community energy planning process, which will culminate in May.

“We absolutely need to hear from the people living here,” said John Kinch, executive director of Michigan Energy Options, the nonprofit contracted to lead the work. “What energy issues are people interested in? Solar? Efficiency? EVs? What energy trends do people want to learn more about, like electrification? What issues are people most concerned about? Resilience? Affordability? Impacts of climate change over the next 10, 20, 30 years?”

The timing for such a discussion couldn’t be better, Kinch says. Unprecedented federal funding is available for communities to reduce energy usage, adopt more renewables, and boost their clean energy transition.

This energy planning is a collaborative effort driven by the cities of Grand Haven and Ferrysburg and Grand Haven Township.

Create a vision for energy consumption 

Michigan Energy Options will determine the area’s current “carbon footprint” and sources of emissions. Then, with community input, it will recommend pathways to reduce emissions.

“With the emphasis on long-term sustainability and wise energy usage, this community energy-planning project will help Grand Haven area residents and city staff understand how we use energy now, where we have opportunities to improve, what the possibilities are for new and better technologies, and how we can better invest in our own future,” says Grand Haven Mayor Bob Monetza. “This outreach is critical. Only by engaging with our citizens and soliciting their ideas can we expect to make a difference.”

Grand Haven Township Manager Bill Cargo says he’s excited about the collaborative approach. 

“This community energy planning marks the beginning of a comprehensive process by engaging residents, businesses, students, and leaders to shape the energy landscape of
our region,” Cargo says.

Ferrysburg Mayor Richard Carlson agrees.

“Ferrysburg residents are encouraged to participate and to let your voices be heard in this regional effort,” Carlson says. 

Refreshments and giveaways will be available at the open houses. 

More information about the Community Energy Plan is at https://grandhaven.org.

Those who can’t  make one of the in-person opening houses can sign up here for the virtual Zoom meeting on Dec. 20 from 6-7 p.m.

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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.