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October News Letter

We’d like to share with you our ongoing journey for Public Power!

Our Goals

Ann Arbor for Public Power is continuing its campaign for a Community-Owned-Utility (COU) for our electrical power, as an alternative to our current Investor-Owned-Utility (IOU), DTE. Strategy 1 of the A2Zero carbon neutrality plan is “power our grid with 100% renewable energy.” There is currently no legal way to do this without establishing our own municipal electrical utility, or “muni.” Currently DTE generates 80% of its electricity by burning fossil fuels, mostly coal. (See more about fossil fuels below.)

Outreach

In September we continued our efforts to reach out to Ann Arbor residents and supporters everywhere (people like you!) to let them know how our campaign is going. To find out more about our goals and how you might get involved, check out our developing website at annarborpublicpower.org. We had a Fundraiser on September 9th, which was very successful; we participated in the City’s Green Fair on October 1st. At both, we enjoyed talking to people about our plans for a muni in A2!

Welcome, Volunteers!

If you want to get involved, contact us at annarborpublicpower@gmail.com. Let us know how you would like to help. For example, you can put up one of our handsome new yard signs on your lawn. For the more ambitious, we are going door to door in Ann Arbor neighborhoods explaining who we are, listening to people’s views, then, if they wish, asking them to sign a petition directing the Ann Arbor City Council to fund a feasibility study. When we sponsor a public event, you can help us talk about our campaign with those who attend. Or if you have a special skill to share with us, let us know! We welcome all to our team of volunteers!

Join our Discord

Want to join the fight for energy justice and democracy in Ann Arbor? Join the discussion in Ann Arbor for Public Power's Discord server! Our Discord server has up-to-date information about our plans and events. To join, send an email to annarborpublicpower@gmail.com with "Discord" in the subject line and we'll send you an invite!

A Feasibility Study

Why are we focused on a feasibility study? We need an objective, rigorous study to determine if there is a net economic benefit (to the city and to ratepayers) to acquiring DTE’s local assets and operating a muni. A consulting engineering company would be hired to determine if an Ann Arbor muni can deliver clean power to residents reliably, and at lower rates. The preliminary feasibility study would cost around $120,000 and take 3-6 months to complete. Ann Arbor’s Energy Commission needs to make a recommendation to City Council to fund a feasibility study.

Energy Commission (EC)

We are asking the Ann Arbor Energy Commission (EC) to pass a resolution recommending that City Council authorize and fund the study. The Energy Commission meets on October 12th, 2021, at 6:00pm. It is virtual and can be accessed by going to https://ctnvideo.a2gov.org/CablecastPublicSite/watch/3?channel=1. (Or go to a2gov.org, click on the Democracy block, and click on CTN, the City’s tv station, to view the broadcast.) The public is invited to comment (three-minute limit per person) at the start of the meeting, and at the end. The call-in phone number (937 6751 6819) will be printed on the screen and restated by EC Chair, John Mirsky. We encourage you to call in if you have an opinion you’d like to share!


At the October 12th Energy Commission meeting, the city manager of Winter Park, FL, will speak on that city’s successful muni. The sustainability director of Boulder, CO, which tried and failed to establish a muni, will also speak. At the November 9th meeting of the EC, Dr. Missy Stults, Manager of the A2 Office of Sustainability and Innovation (OSI), will present a re-conceptualized version of how A2Zero will power its electricity grid. A final decision about a feasibility study resolution will be rendered at the December 14th EC meeting.

The IPCC Report

The recently released report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nation’s body of over 200 scientists, made the startling assessment of the extent to which human activity, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, has altered the climate, such that we now have a Code Red for Humanity. The IPCC warns that the window of climate action is closing fast. DTE’s reliance on fossil fuels until 2050 (and no clear plan to replace them with renewables even by that date) imperils our future. Knowing this, it’s urgent to explore an alternative to DTE in Ann Arbor.

The National Commitment to Fight the Climate Crisis

We follow, and we’re sure you do, too, the struggle going on in the U.S. Congress to address the climate crisis. The so-called Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill for $1.5 Trillion and the Build Back Better (BBB) Bill, currently proposed for $3.5 Trillion, are both in limbo at the time of this writing. Senators and Representatives argue over the content, the cost, and the need for these two bills. We hope both bills pass, and that the money allocated for dealing with the climate crisis remains in the BBB bill.

And so…

 

We have only indirect ways to influence the national political discussion about the bills in Congress. Thus, we choose to double down on our own efforts to do what we can here in Ann Arbor, our home, to explore creating a community-owned-utility that provides 100% renewable energy sources by 2030. 

 

We encourage you to join us on this journey!

Interview with The Robin podcast

Last month, member Greg Woodring did an interview with the hosts of the podcast “The Robin”. Make sure to look out for it on their Apple Podcasts page.

Have questions, concerns, or just want to say hi? Reach out to A2P2 at annarborpublicpower@gmail.com!
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