CMS, a Michigan-based, Fortune 500 energy company, spun out NorthStar Clean Energy, an unregulated utility that builds and operates wind, solar, biomass, energy storage, and natural gas generation projects across the U.S. NorthStar’s long-term vision is to derive energy fully from biomass and use carbon capture and sequestration technology to clean air and create carbon credits. To get there, it needed to secure sufficient biomass feedstock supply — a common issue facing energy utility providers today. On the whole, biomass energy facilities run at only 60% capacity, due to challenges with accessing biomass supply to operate. As a result, many providers resort to coal.

Understanding the role technology can play in enabling an industry-wide transition to clean energy production, CMS partnered with High Alpha Innovation to explore software solutions to address this problem. The result of our venture building initiative was Chuck, a wood waste management platform that enables construction crews to divert leftover wood from work sites to power plants. The AI-driven tool helps construction companies schedule waste pickup to power plants and track the climate impact from their diversion efforts. Using Chuck, construction firms can reduce their operational costs, decrease landfill dependency, improve site efficiency, and contribute to sustainability progress and climate goals.

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