Energy planning tool developed to help analyze UP energy issues

Published: May. 23, 2017 at 7:11 PM EDT
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Michigan Energy Options (MEO) and Five Lakes Energy have recently released the State Tool for Electricity Emissions Reduction (STEER) for the Upper Peninsula to model energy usage and assist in the energy planning and economic development for this region of Michigan.

The tool automatically calculates the least-cost clean energy plan given policy options, load and price forecasts. It uses publicly available data for existing electric generating units in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. All data, inputs and formulae are visible to user and can be modified, designed to meet a balance in ease of use for the use while maintaining a high level of analytical rigor.

“This analysis is timely given the growing perception among energy experts that the U.P., though a part of Michigan, is an island unto its own when it comes to generation resources, transmission and distribution and, related, the unique challenges it is facing,” said John Kinch, Executive Director of MEO.

Through funding from the State of Michigan Energy Office, MEO and Five Lakes Energy originally created the STEER-UP tool as an open-access integrated resource planning model for analyzing strategies to implement the Clean Power Plan. Though the implementation of the plan has been stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court, STEER should still be relevant to energy planning for the Upper Peninsula, according to David Gard of Five Lakes Energy.

STEER-UP employs data that includes energy generator level data, hourly data for renewable resources, and energy efficiency options as represented in energy efficiency potential studies. In addition, the output of the STEER model identifies specific projects in which to invest or renewable resource installation to build, for least cost carbon mitigation.

Results from STEER-UP can help facilitate access to data and inform broad conversations across the Upper Peninsula and beyond about important public policy, energy planning and economic development issues and decisions.