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Traverse City commissioner urges energy providers to switch to green energy sooner

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Ben Jodway
The Michigan Climate Action Network conducted a press conference about their newly released report on Tuesday, March 22. Tim Werner (top right) said he wants to work with energy providers to keep Michigan green, but he needs their help.

Cities in Michigan are moving towards green energy to reach Michigan’s climate goal of being carbon neutral by 2050, but some city commissioners say this might not be feasible if energy providers don’t play ball.

A new report from Michigan Climate Action Network released on March 22. It highlights cities in Michigan that are taking steps toward carbon neutrality or renewable energy.

During a press conference, Traverse City Commissioner Tim Werner said when he approached Consumers Energy to decrease carbon usage, their power plant just switched from coal to fossil fuels.

“Local communities like ours need the freedom to move quickly to renewable energy sources," he said. "It will also reduce dangerous pollution in our air and water, protect the Great Lakes, and improve the health and safety of our residents across the state.”

Werner wants to work with utility companies to make carbon neutrality in his city a reality, he said.

"Local communities are at the forefront–even ahead of the game–when it comes to addressing the climate crisis. But we can’t go it alone," Werner said.

A Consumers Energy plans to end coal use by 2025 and have net zero carbon emissions by 2040, spokesperson Josh Paciorek said. The company met with community leaders including Traverse City about solar power and going green.

DTE Energy did not comment, but they want to be carbon neutral by 2050, according to their website.