About the Project


The Michigan Clean Energy Leaders Project is a community of young clean energy leaders from across Michigan from different backgrounds, professions, and perspectives.

The Michigan Clean Energy Leaders Project will select and convene 15 talented & accomplished young clean energy leaders from across Michigan in 2020. Participants from different backgrounds, professions, and perspectives will attend two weekend-long retreats in 2020. Each retreat will provide substantive instruction on clean energy topics, foster deep and meaningful personal and professional relationships, and provide opportunities to collaborate on projects to move the clean energy economy forward in Michigan. In between retreats, participants will have virtual programming to build on their experiences at each retreat. At the second retreat, MCEL will reconvene approximately 20 young clean energy leaders from previous cohorts, integrating the 2020 cohort into the broader community.


The Michigan Clean Energy Leaders Project seeks to build a generation of clean energy leaders in Michigan that is diverse, collaborative, and deeply interconnected. Such a community will develop new leaders, help attract and retain talented young professionals, and create a practical community to help drive growth in the clean energy economy.


MCEL is supported by the Cherry Republic, the Institute for Energy Innovation, and a variety of other people and organizations.

MCEL was originally supported by E2, a program of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), through a generous grant from Barry Sternlicht, Founder of 1 Hotels and CEO & Chairman of Starwood Capital Group. For more information, please email


Applicant Criteria & Deadlines

Participant Criteria

Participants must be:

    • Working or volunteering in the clean energy economy (including work on energy efficiency, renewable energy, electric vehicles, and other environmentally sustainable areas)
    • Working in, living in, and/or planning to move to Michigan
    • Able to attend retreats on the following dates:
      • May 14-17 at Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor, Michigan. Participants should arrive the evening of May 14 in Glen Arbor and depart at noon on Sunday
      • August 28-30 at Circle Pines Retreat Center in Delton, Michigan. Participants should arrive at noon on Friday and depart Sunday at noon

Preference will be given to applicants that are:

    • Between the ages of 21 and 35 (exceptions may be made)
    • Demonstrated leadership and/or expertise in Michigan’s clean energy economy
    • Creative with a strong desire to collaborate with others in the clean energy sector

*The final decision on selections will be based on the discretion of the MCEL team and Advisors. Selection will prioritize building a diverse community in every sense of the word.

Applications are due by 11:59pm March 8.

Participants will be notified of their selection by March 13.

While not required, nominations are strongly encouraged.


Project Commitment and Benefits


Participants commit to:

  • Participating in two retreats. The first is May 14-17, 2020 in Glen Arbor, Michigan. The first retreat runs Thursday evening (arrival) through Sunday at noon. The second is August 28-30, 2020 in Delton, Michigan. The second retreat runs from Friday at noon to Sunday at noon.
  • Participating in one call prior to the first retreat and monthly calls in between retreats.
  • Working collaboratively with their peers during and after the program


Participants will receive:

  • Two expenses-paid retreats, including lodging, food, and programming. Limited travel stipends will be available.
  • Deep connections with peers in the clean energy industry
  • Exclusive tours of renewable energy sites
  • Membership discounts to national clean energy organizations
  • Discounted admission to the 2020 Clean Energy Conference hosted by the Groundwork Center
  • Substantive information on the clean energy economy in Michigan
  • Opportunities to promote their own work via Michigan and antional organizations and blogs
  • Other opportunities with project partners over the course of the program