News Release

Consumers Energy Announces Plans to Showcase Technology, Promote Hometown with New Jackson Smart Energy District

Jackson, Mich. Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Smart Buildings, Solar Panels Part of Downtown Development Vision

Consumers Energy today joined Jackson’s mayor in announcing the vision for a Jackson Smart Energy District, to promote the next generation of energy technology -- potentially including solar panels and battery storage -- that will continue making downtown Jackson an attractive place to work, live and innovate.

The new Jackson Smart Energy District will encourage development in the energy provider’s Michigan hometown and provide a hub for new technologies that make buildings use less energy and rely on clean energy sources. The district is bordered by Louis Glick Highway, Michigan Avenue and Blackstone and Jackson streets.

“We are excited to add to the comeback story of our city, which is home to our headquarters, and help Jackson continue to attract new development,” said Patti Poppe, Consumers Energy’s president and CEO. “The new Smart Energy District will be a beacon for all of Michigan that Jackson is a vibrant, innovative place to live and do business.”

Poppe announced plans for the Jackson Smart Energy District during the first State of the City Address by new Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies on Tuesday night.

“With leaders like Patti Poppe, Consumers Energy continues to be a strong corporate citizen that is invested in not only rebuilding our city, but doing so in a cleaner, greener manner,” Dobies said. “Consumers Energy’s announcement today cements that commitment and launches Jackson to the forefront of that green energy movement. We’re excited to partner with them in making Jackson the energy capital of Michigan.”

The Jackson Smart Energy District will focus on embracing future technologies that make for a greener, more efficient energy grid.

The Jackson Smart Energy District vision includes:

  • High-performing buildings – Collaborating with developers that choose to embrace technologies to manage and reduce energy use. Jackson already is ranked fourth among small cities in the nation for ENERGY STAR-certified buildings.

  • Solar panels – Working with property owners to install solar arrays that generate electricity.

  • Battery storage – Using battery technology that can store excess power that’s generated for use at other times. Battery storage helps balance the supply of available energy with customers’ demand.

  • Electric vehicle charging – Encouraging the development of electric vehicle charging stations, making it easier for people who want to power their vehicles from the grid.

Consumers Energy is committed to Jackson’s economic development. It was a founding member of the Anchor Initiative, a collaboration among Jackson businesses and community leaders to promote the downtown area. It also built its Innovation Center downtown on Michigan Avenue, a hub for smart energy and other leading-edge technologies within the company.

“When communities like Jackson win, all of Michigan wins,” Poppe said. “With this energy district, we at Consumers Energy are using our professional expertise and know-how to strengthen the backbone of the home community we serve.”

Consumers Energy last year announced plans for Michigan’s first energy district with the Circuit West energy district in Grand Rapids, a similar effort to pioneer energy technology and attract investment in that community.

Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

Media Contacts: Brian Wheeler, 517-788-2394, or Megan Brown, 517-416-2226