Ann Arbor's Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU)

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​​​ 301 E. Huron Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Staff Directory​​​


Dr. Missy Stults,
Sustainability and Innovations Director



Join a free virtual session about the SEU on August 21. Click on the date for details and to register.


​​​What is a Sustainable Energy Utility?

The Ann Arbor Sustainable Energy Utility is an opt-in, supplemental community-owned energy utility that provides 100% renewable energy from local solar and battery storage systems and networked geothermal systems installed at participating homes and businesses in the City. 

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The SEU provides 100% clean, reliable, resilience, locally built, and affordable energy – energy built by the community for the community. 

​​​​What value would an SEU provide? 

An SEU is an innovative municipal utility that focuses almost exclusively on energy generation at the point of energy use. Because of this, the Ann Arbor SEU will be:

  • Resilient – Through a diverse mix of energy generation and the use of energy storage, subscribers to the SEU will still have power even when disasters disrupt the traditional energy grid.
  • Reliable – Focusing on generating energy at the source of use minimizes the need for distribution systems (e.g., poles and wires), which are currently the most vulnerable part of the existing energy system. This means that SEU generated energy will be more reliable (and resilient) than energy from a traditional utility.
  • Clean – The SEU will only generate power from renewable energy sources such as solar and geothermal systems. This means that every electron provided by the SEU will be from a clean energy source – one generated in our own community.
  • Local – The SEU is all about generating energy locally – in our community, on our roofs, in shared spaces, and under our feet. You can't get more local than that!
  • Supplemental – The SEU does not replace the DTE grid. Instead, it supplements it, ensuring that residents have more options in how they get their energy.
  • Optional – Residents have a choice to participate (or not) in the SEU. No one will be required to take service from the SEU but everyone will have the choice to participate in at least some of the SEU's offerings. By providing choices, we are diversifying our energy options and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of clean, healthy energy systems.
  • Affordable – The proposed SEU provides access to clean energy at rates cheaper than what we currently pay for dirty electricity and offers energy storage solutions for less than the average cost of a whole-house generator, helping to make clean energy options affordable to more residents.
  • Community-Owned – The SEU is a municipal utility and, as such, will be a community-owned asset. ​

What service​s could an SEU provide?

As a municipal utility, the Ann Arbor SEU could deliver an array of services and benefits to help the community save energy, adopt clean energy options, and improve health, including:

  • ​Improved energy reliability and resilience via the installation of solar and energy storage systems on homes and businesses.
  • Sustainable heating and cooling through the installation of  networked geothermal systems.
  • Indoor air quality improvements through appliance replacement programs.
  • Robust energy waste reduction (efficiency and weatherization) programs that save residents money while improving comfort, safety, and health.
  • Microgrids or the sharing of solar energy between neighboring households and businesses.
  • Community solar programs that provide residents the benefit of solar (and other energy systems) installed in shared areas of the City.
  • Energy justice initiatives to ensure that everyone in the community has the benefit of the clean energy economy.
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​​What services might the SEU offer at the start?

The SEU will provide solar and battery storage, energy waste reduction (efficiency and weatherization) programs, and beneficial electrification support for individual households and businesses. Over time, these offerings will grow to include shared energy solutions for multiple neighbors (e.g., microgrids) as well as networked geothermal for sustainable heating and cooling. 

​How do I enroll in the SEU?

The City is currently registering interest in the Ann Arbor Sustainable Energy Utility. If you are interested in enrolling in the SEU and/or getting more information about when programs will be offered, please fill out this form. ​

What are the next steps for the proposed SEU? 

City Council has approved placing the SEU on the November 5, 2024 ballot. The question that will be presented to the voters is: 

The City of Ann Arbor proposes to create within its boundaries an opt-in, publicly owned Sustainable Energy Utility (“SEU") to (i) supply, generate, transmit, distribute, and store electricity, heat, cooling, light, and power (solely from renewable sources); and (ii) provide energy-related services.  The SEU could, for example, provide individual or networked rooftop solar panels, heat pumps, geothermal systems, or batteries to customers to supplement existing utility services. The SEU will be fee-based. This proposal does not authorize new taxes.

Shall the Charter be amended to authorize the City to establish, construct, own, and operate an opt-in Sustainable Energy Utility? 

 

If this vote passes, the City will immediately begin the work to create and formally launch the SEU. If the vote does not pass, the City will continue its other programs to advance our clean energy, climate, and equity goals (to learn more about these initiatives, please see: www.a2gov.org/sustainability). 

Want to learn more? 

Want to learn more and/or still have questions? Check out these resources for a deeper dive into the proposed SEU:

​Still have questions?

Please send your questions to [email protected]. ​​ ​​