The 11th Hour Project, a program of the Schmidt Family Foundation

Providing an easy and interactive way for people to learn about their utility’s energy mix, and advocate for their preferred sources.

Michigan, Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, Utah

PicMyEnergyMix provided the Clean Energy Now coalition with a fun, innovative new way to engage Michiganders on energy issues affecting them. The response from organizations interested in using the tool grew as the launch began and groups started to see what impact the site was having.
Marissa Luna, Clean Energy Now
The Situation

Polling tells us clean energy is popular across the political spectrum and it’s the power source people most want to encourage. But it’s also the case that electricity generation isn’t a broadly top-of-mind topic.

Energy resource planning and decision-making are often long, behind-the-scenes processes, without easy ways for electricity bill-payers to have a say. And the fact that many utilities publicize renewables, but not their still-heavy reliance on polluting fuels, can make it seem that clean energy transition is farther along than it actually is.

This can all make for situations where utilities’ actions and priorities are out of step with the preferences and values of their customers. And that can slow the overall pace of clean energy transition.

Our Role

Seeing a need for ways to help consumers learn about the energy sources their utility prioritizes – and to communicate their own energy preferences – we imagined a web app called PicMyEnergyMix and worked with Agentic Digital Media to develop it.

Far from the often in-the-weeds world of electricity data, it’s a friendly, colorful way to see a picture of your utility’s current fuel mix for your home, use sliders to re-make the picture to match your energy preferences, and enter your views into a real-time average picture of consumer preferences. The site also lets users email their current vs. preferred energy mix pictures to local officials to help influence an upcoming decision, and you can share your pictures on social media.

We work with local and state-based clean energy advocacy groups to customize PicMyEnergyMix for their use in their states.

The Impact

Groups in Michigan and Colorado used PicMyEnergyMix in 2015. In 2016, groups have begun promoting the tool in Utah, New Mexico and Ohio, with several more states to come. Promotion takes place through email, social media, online ads, blog posts, websites, events, and media.

In Michigan, where seven local organizations took turns with promotion, over 1,400 residents used the tool and it was covered by an influential blog and other media. Overall, 60-75% of those who used PicMyEnergyMix to submit their energy preferences also chose to email their images through the site to local energy decision-makers.

Ohioans are using PicMyEnergyMix to help advocate for bringing back strong state renewable and energy efficiency standards. In New Mexico, it’s being promoted around a utility rate case. It’s flexible based on local contexts.