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LANSING – The Michigan Energy Office (MEO) today announced the kick off of an effort that will develop a roadmap to improve energy efficiency and renewable energy programs for the state’s agricultural and rural residents.

“Michigan’s agricultural sector is one of the state’s top three industries, and 25 percent of the state’s population lives in rural areas,” said Anne Armstrong Cusack, executive director of the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE), of which the MEO is part. “It contributes over $100 billion annually to Michigan’s economy and is second only to California in agricultural commodity diversification.

“Yet, agricultural and rural communities often lag behind in competing for energy efficiency programs. The roadmap that will be developed based on stakeholder input will result in recommendations to improve energy programs to help the agricultural and rural communities save energy and cut their bills. With agricultural production expenses at historic highs, the roadmap will prove to be a useful tool.”

The MEO, with support from Public Sector Consultants and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), will develop a research-and stakeholder-driven roadmap for agriculture and rural communities that supports energy waste reduction (EWR) and renewable energy development.

Its efforts will include:

  • Assessing existing state policies and programs and their effectiveness;
  • Developing a report that will include recommendations for improving EWR and renewable energy programs and services for agriculture and rural customers;
  • Recommending policies and programs that will support EWR and renewable energy development in the agriculture sector and rural communities.