As we work to tackle the climate crisis and eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels, there is no doubt that renewable energy sources, particularly solar energy, must be at the forefront of our nation’s strategy. John Kinch, executive director of Michigan Energy Options based in East Lansing, MI, is focused on making this a reality.
Throughout his time at Michigan Energy Options, Michigan’s longest tenured energy-focused organization, John has gained experience and expertise when it comes to implementing renewable energy solutions that benefit the communities in which solar projects are built. The organization’s focus on community-based energy projects — like the solar project John and his partners helped build in East Lansing — has been a core tenant of its work as Michigan Energy Options looks to reduce fossil fuel consumption and help put the state on a path towards a carbon-free future.
Along with his work for Michigan Energy Options, John works for the State of Michigan and major utility companies, advising on how renewable energy solutions can be implemented to produce tangible results in the fight against climate change. Holding a PhD in Environmental History, John recognizes how urgent the crisis is, and believes that solar energy energy must be a key part of our strategy.
For John, building back better and greener means taking advantage of the historic opportunities in front of us to invest in solar energy, building solar projects in unused or underutilized spaces such as parking lots and former industrial sites, both to move the needle on carbon emissions as well as accommodate our growing populations while protecting our precious natural spaces. With promising developments in the fight against climate change at the state level with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Healthy Climate Plan, John believes that we can capitalize on these opportunities at the federal level as well by passing President Biden’s Build Back Better Act to invest in clean energy solutions that produce tangible results for people and communities.
“We have some real immediate challenges when it comes to resiliency and adaptation. Climate change is a crisis that is not just immediate, but it is a long term crisis. I don’t think we are ever going to get ahead of it unless we really actively think about how we empower communities to develop approaches, to develop funding, to develop mindsets that encourage more renewable energy development.”