Clean Energy

Clean energy includes renewable energy sources that have lower emissions and/or lower environmental impacts than conventional coal, petroleum and other fossil fuels.(1) Solar, wind, geothermal, biomass (2), and hydropower energy can displace fossil fuel energy and reduce pollutant emissions.(3)  Moreover, clean and renewable energy can help transform the energy and physical landscape in Detroit, and promote economic revitalization.  While Detroit’s location is not ideal for wind power generation, wind power-generated electricity can be obtained from distant facilities, as encouraged by renewable portfolio standards (RPS).  Ongoing clean energy initiatives include: the Michigan Renewable Energy Portfolio, the Clean Power Plan, the Detroit Climate Action Collaborative’s work around greenhouse gas emissions, and the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign.  Several local businesses supplement their energy use with solar or wind energy, for example, IKEA, the Detroit Zoo, the Detroit-Wayne County Metro Airport, and the Sugar Law Firm.  Additional clean energy sources appropriate for Detroit include much greater use of photovoltaic (PV) panels, heat pumps, and bioenergy.

1. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Energy and Environment. Available: [accessed 3-2-16] and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).  State and Local Climate and Energy Program. Available:  [accessed 3-2-16].

2. Although biomass is sometimes considered a form of clean energy, it can be a significant contributor to greenhouse gases and other harmful air pollutants (see Section for details).

3. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS): Cleaner Power Plants. [accessed 3-2-16]. 

Contact CAPHE

Alison Walding
Project Manager
Community Action to Promote Healthy Environments

University of Michigan School of Public Health
1415 Washington Heights
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029