Detroit Zoological Society Chief Life Sciences Officer Scott Carter discusses the zoo’s decision to be powered by 100% Michigan-made renewable energy through a DTE Energy program at the Detroit Zoo Aug. 22.

Detroit Zoological Society Chief Life Sciences Officer Scott Carter discusses the zoo’s decision to be powered by 100% Michigan-made renewable energy through a DTE Energy program at the Detroit Zoo Aug. 22.

Photo by Sarah Wojcik


Zoo announces it will be fully wind-powered

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published September 4, 2019

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ROYAL OAK — In January 2021, the Detroit Zoological Society will be 100% powered by Michigan-made renewable energy through DTE’s MIGreenPower program.

The energy will be generated from two mid-Michigan wind parks that are scheduled to come online in late 2020. Called Isabella 1 and Isabella 2, they will be the largest wind parks in the state when they are operational.

DTE is currently building the parks due to demand from large customers. Other large customers that have signed on with MIGreenPower so far include Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and the University of Michigan.

“MIGreenPower is a voluntary renewable energy program that DTE launched in April of 2017 with many residential and small business customers,” DTE Senior Communications Specialist Cynthia Hecht said. “In January of 2019, we got approval from the Michigan Public Service Commission to launch a large-customer MIGreenPower program.”

By switching to 100% renewable energy, the zoo will offset 7,425 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to the carbon dioxide sequestered by 8,740 acres of U.S. forests in one year, according to a press release.

“Our commitment to sustainability is integrated into everything we do, from our environmentally responsible operations to our community wide programs,” Ron Kagan, Detroit Zoological Society executive director and CEO, said in a prepared statement. “Joining MIGreenPower is a major step for us, as our power needs significantly exceed what we can produce on-site. This program helps reduce our carbon footprint while also supporting local, Michigan-made renewable energy.”

The DZS has won four green awards for its sustainability measures and is nationally recognized as a leader in environmental education, according to a press release.

Scott Carter, Detroit Zoological Society chief life sciences officer, said other environmentally friendly initiatives by the zoo include an anaerobic digester, which converts animal waste and food scraps into compost and energy; permeable pavement; solar/electric hybrid golf carts; and a Smartflower, a solar panel system that generates more than 4,000 kilowatts of electricity per year.

The zoo has also eliminated the sale of single-use plastic water bottles, plastic bags and lids, as well as worked with DTE to install energy efficiency upgrades in more than 50 of its buildings, he said.

Carter stressed the importance of conservation and sustainability.

“We are excited to welcome the Detroit Zoological Society to MIGreenPower as we all work together to protect our planet for our children and future generations,” Jerry Norcia, president and CEO of DTE, said in a statement. “The Detroit Zoo joins other well-known Michigan institutions … and more than 8,300 individual residential and business customers who are using MIGreenPower to make a positive impact on the environment.”

The Detroit Zoo is located at 8450 W. 10 Mile Road, west of Woodward Avenue.

For more information about the zoo, visit www.detroitzoo.org or call (248) 541-5717.

For more information about DTE or the MIGreenPower program, visit www.dteenergy.com.

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