City partners with the community on energy and sustainability efforts

Published on August 29, 2018

Photograph of a solar farm

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The City of Grand Rapids is teaming with business and community leaders to ensure the city stays on the cutting edge of energy and sustainability. Through the recently formed Energy and Sustainability advisory committees, leaders from a diverse set of businesses, nonprofits and educational and governmental institutions are working with City staff, Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and city commissioners on shared strategies. 

Each committee meets every other month and is comprised of individuals who have been appointed by Mayor Bliss. A list of the Energy Advisory Committee participants is HERE. The Sustainability Advisory Committee members are listed HERE. Mayor Bliss is joined by Second Ward Commissioner Ruth Kelly and Third Ward Commissioner Nathaniel Moody on the Energy Advisory Committee and by Second Ward Commissioner Joe Jones and First Ward Commissioner Kurt Reppart on the Sustainability Advisory Committee.

“It’s great to see so many people and organizations come together around energy and sustainability,” Mayor Bliss said. “This work is incredibly important, and the City can’t do it alone. We are grateful for all of our partners.”

The Sustainability Advisory Committee is focused on evaluating and analyzing the City’s Sustainability Plan and laying the foundation for how the City engages the community on its next sustainability plan. During its first few meetings, the committee has learned about the City’s sustainability history, Sustainability Plan and the Good for Grand Rapids initiative, which is managed by Local First. Committee members also have shared their respective organization’s approach and commitment to sustainability.

The Energy Advisory Committee is focused on creating a comprehensive energy management plan that includes a renewable energy strategy, energy efficiency strategy for municipally owned facilities and a broader climate/greenhouse gas emissions plan. The committee has reviewed and provided feedback on initial proposals for achieving the City’s 100 percent renewable energy goal as well as renewable natural gas production opportunities at the Water Resource Recovery Facility’s biodigester. Committee members also have provided input for developing energy goals included in the City’s Transformation Plan Phase IV.

“These efforts will have both short- and long-term benefits for not only the City and our partner organizations but also for the entire community,” said Alison Waske Sutter, the City’s sustainability manager. “Working together, we will make sure that our city continues to be a leader in energy and sustainability.”

Both committees are supporting the City’s participation in the Zero Cities Project, which is a three-year project to develop a policy roadmap toward a zero net carbon building sector by 2050.

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