Jackson, Michigan Mayor Derek Dobies unveiled the city’s vision for a “Smart Energy District” in downtown Jackson to promote sustainable and low-carbon city solutions. The city hopes the district will act as a hub for new technologies that help buildings and businesses use less energy and rely on clean energy sources. Mayor Dobies said the project “launches Jackson to the forefront of that green energy movement.”
The city has partnered with its electric company, Consumers Energy, for the project, which encompasses a four-square-block area near the Consumers Energy headquarters. The electric company will collaborate with developers in designing and building energy efficient buildings for the downtown district, install solar panels and battery storage systems to generate and store clean electricity, and deploy electric vehicle charging stations around the district. Consumers Energy is hoping to generate 40% of the district’s energy needs from on-site renewable energy generation systems — part of the city’s wider 2040 Clean Energy goals — 15 to 20 years early, while also reducing carbon emissions by 90%.
“We are excited to add to the comeback story of our city, which is home to our headquarters, and help Jackson continue to attract new development,” said Patti Poppe, Consumers Energy’s president and CEO. “The new Smart Energy District will be a beacon for all of Michigan that Jackson is a vibrant, innovative place to live and do business.”
The company has released a Request for Information for entrepreneurs and high tech companies interested in deploying energy technologies within the district. “We want to connect with the companies, technologies, business models and innovative solutions that will meet our community’s energy needs,” Poppe said. “We are striving to provide clean energy and to put Jackson, Michigan on the map as a magnet for energy innovation and the top ideas in the world.”
The Jackson Smart Energy District follows a similar project in Grand Rapids. In 2017, Consumers Electric partnered with Rockford Construction and the city of Grand Rapids to establish a 10-block renewable energy district in the city’s downtown. The Circuit West project included rooftop solar and storage solutions, electric vehicle charging stations and increased Internet access in the area.