2021 Policy Priorities and More in Michigan EIBC News

Welcome to the weekly newsletter of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC), the business voice for advanced energy in Michigan. Here’s what’s new this week:

A Look Ahead To 2021 Policy Priorities

This year looks to hold some significant changes for advanced energy. A new administration in the White House has some feeling optimistic that administrative and legislative policies might provide opportunities for the advanced energy industry. At the state level, the MI Power Grid Initiative will reach key milestones, and ideas on how to reach net zero emissions by 2050 will be needed. At the same time, the pandemic will continue to present a challenge.

As we consider all these factors, Michigan EIBC has set its policy priorities for 2021, which fall into four broad categories: Encourage Cost-Effective Advanced Energy Deployment, Encourage Energy Efficiency and Demand Response, Encourage Energy Innovation and Technological Advancements and Electrify Everything.

Encourage Cost-Effective Advanced Energy Deployment: The barriers for customer-sited generation systems need to be reduced by eliminating caps on distributed generation and valuing energy from distributed generation systems fairly and equitably. We also support enabling community solar projects in Michigan, expanding commercial PACE financing and improving taxation and permitting for renewable and energy storage projects. For larger customers including industrials, standby and demand charges need to be reconsidered. Looking ahead, we support policies that will encourage increased deployment of energy storage.

We will also continue our work at the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) crafting streamlined interconnection rules and more transparency, such as access to important data about grid conditions and authorized customer data.

Encourage Energy Efficiency and Demand Response: We support updating Michigan’s building code to encourage increased energy efficiency and building electrification, expanding low-income energy efficiency programs and extending energy efficiency standards for municipal and cooperative electric utilities beyond 2021. Demand response programs should also be expanded, and the implementation of time-varying electricity rates will give utility customers greater incentives to pursue demand response.

Encourage Energy Innovation and Technological Advancements: We support ensuring that non-wires alternatives and distributed energy resources are able to provide valuable services, including as evaluated through utility planning processes. We also support performance-based regulation as a method to align incentives and encourage utilities to seek out innovative approaches to grid modernization.

Electrify Everything: Michigan EIBC supports steering more funds from the Volkswagen settlement toward EVs and increasing the number of EVs in our state fleets. Michigan EIBC also supports several policies that would foster a competitive EV charging station market, such as adding language to state building codes to encourage the construction of EV-ready buildings and parking lots and establishing tax credits for small businesses to install EV charging infrastructure. But electrification does not stop at transportation. We also need to grow the use of electric heating systems, such as ground-source heat pumps and air-to-air systems. 

Welcome Tanya Paslawski to IEI and Michigan EIBC 

We are excited to announce that Tanya Paslawski, in her role as a senior consultant at 5 Lakes Energy, is working with the Institute for Energy Innovation (IEI) and Michigan EIBC as director of strategic initiatives. She will be applying her over two decades of experience in various energy policy positions to cutting-edge research and energy policy development. 

One of the first major initiatives Tanya will be working on is IEI’s project to develop an energy storage roadmap for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. This roadmap will lay out the potential benefits to customers, the environment and grid from optimal deployment of energy storage in Michigan, create a community of stakeholders to support storage market opportunities and develop policy recommendations to encourage storage deployment.

In her career Tanya has held various policy positions, working with state regulatory commissions and legislatures, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and, most recently, as president of the Michigan Electric and Gas Association. She also has served on several non-profit boards including Advancing Women in Energy.

Tanya has a law degree from Michigan State University College of Law with a concentration in Environmental and Natural Resource Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Oakland University. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and President of the Energy Bar Association Midwest Chapter. Tanya is also co-founder and facilitator for Advancing White Anti-Racist Education.




Meet Our Interns – Joy Yakie

The next Michigan EIBC intern we would like to introduce you to is Joy Yakie, a recent master’s graduate of the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS). With funding from the Porter Family Foundation, Joy is working with Dr. Brandy Brown at the Office of Climate and Energy to support the implementation and execution of the Governor’s Climate Executive Directive.

Joy, who started with us in November, is from southern Nigeria. She moved to the U.S. to attend college at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. Before continuing her studies at U of M, Joy took a year for a fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where she worked with a team of chemists quantifying organic compounds in serum samples of the US population. 

She became interested in interning for Michigan EIBC as an opportunity to learn about the energy business from experts in the field. When asked where she hopes her career leads, Joy says that she envisions “additional academic and professional work experience through research and engagement with the most vulnerable and marginalized communities on the emerging issues that threaten our sustenance.” 

Special Renew Early Offer to Members

 We would like to kick-off the New Year with a special Renew Early Membership Offer for EIBC members. Member companies/organizations that renew early via the Michigan EIBC website between January 1 through February 28 (regardless of your renewal expiration date) will receive one free ticket to the virtual 9th Annual Energy Innovators Conference on April 7, 2021. 

Correction About Sally Talberg

 The Dec. 22 Michigan EIBC newsletter stated that MPSC Commissioner Sally Talberg is moving to Austin. While she is taking a position with the ERCOT Board of Directors, she is not moving out of Michigan. She will be joining the board virtually and traveling to meetings in Austin when safe to do so.

Apologies for the confusion! 

Michigan Energy News

  • The approval of Consumers Energy’s electric fleet program is a bright spot in the MPSC’s order in the utility’s rate case, but at the same time the order cuts the outflow credit for distributed generation, which will harm residential solar customers, Rob Rafson of Michigan EIBC member Chart House Energy tells MiBiz.
  • Over 8,000 customers participated in Michigan’s distributed generation program in 2019, up from a little over 5,000 customers in 2018, according to the MPSC’s latest report on the program.
  • The Michigan to Montana Alternative Fuel Corridor, the result of a three-year U.S. Department of Energy grant starting in 2017, is installing charging stations and fueling stations for compressed natural gas and propane along the highway route from Port Huron to Billings.
  • Black and minority-owned businesses face unique challenges when it comes to financing energy efficiency projects, Energy News Network reports in an article that quotes Carla Walker-Miller of Michigan EIBC member Walker-Miller Energy Services.
  • Energy Secretary-elect Jennifer Granholm reflects how her “commitment to clean energy was forged in fire” during the Great Recession in her tenure as Michigan governor.

National Energy News

  • The automotive companies are making dealerships take steps to be more EV-ready if they want to sell new electric models.
  • The Biden administration may reach out to farmers to help with emissions reductions through steps like expanded conservation programs and a carbon sequestration program that would give farmers credit for putting carbon into soil.
  • The results of the U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia may lead to more ambitious legislation related to renewable energy.
  • Legislation passed in Massachusetts setting a net zero limit on greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is being described as a “roadmap” for decarbonization.
  • The electric truck startup Lion Electric has gone public on the New York Stock Exchange with a specialized purpose acquisition company.

Michigan and National Energy Events

 Register now for the next entry in the UP Clean Energy Series, to be held Jan. 14, titled “Solar Energy Case Studies – Lessons from On the Ground Projects.”

The Michigan Energy Providers Conference has the first of its “MEPC Presents” events scheduled for Jan. 22. The topic is “How to Make Michigan Carbon Neutral by 2050.” Click here for the agenda. There is no registration fee.

The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s 2021 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference will be from Feb. 16 to Feb. 19Register here.

The National Regulatory Research Institute has a three-part webinar series on “The Impact of COVID-19 on Utility Rate Making.”

Due to COVID-19, PlugVolt is offering complimentary access to a webinar series that provides a guide to how to select primary and secondary cells for battery products.

Norton Rose Fulbright regularly organizes webinars featuring experts and executives of major companies, such as this one on the challenges that COVID-19 and low commodity prices pose to the energy industry.

The Clean Energy Group has a huge archive of webinars and presentations related to net metering, energy efficiency, EVs, energy storage and much more.

The Energy Storage Association has a number of upcoming and recorded webinars covering many different facets of energy storage.  


 Centrepolis is offering the Michigan Cleantech Hardware Accelerator program as funded by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. The program supports Michigan-based entrepreneurs and small businesses who are developing cleantech hardware products or processes that provide an energy efficiency or energy waste reduction benefit. Funding can be applied for to support product development and demonstration activities. Contact Dan Radomski dradomski@ltu.edu or visit https://www.centrepolisaccelerator.com/Programs/CleanTech.
Indiana Michigan Power Company has issued two Request For Proposals to obtain up to 450 MW of solar or wind energy resources. Proposals are due Jan. 15, 2021.

The Green Task Force is requesting that non-profit and faith-based organizations fill out a brief survey to assess readiness for solar projects.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s PlanetM Testing Grant gives mobility companies the opportunity to access testing facilities around the state, including Mcity at the University of Michigan. Apply here.

The Detroit 2030 District is a free program that challenges Detroit building owners and managers to reduce wasted energy. Those that achieve the greatest reductions from the prior-year baseline will be recognized at the first annual Detroit Energy Challenge Award Ceremony in 2021. Visit 2030districts.org/Detroit to find out more information including how a building can apply.