A Path Forward for PURPA Projects, American Wind Week, Global Renewable Energy Jobs

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:


Consumers Energy Settlement Could Clear Path For Solar Projects

Under the terms of a proposed settlement agreement, Consumers Energy says it plans to connect 584 MW of solar projects to its system before 2024 and contract with those projects under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA).
Consumers Energy, which filed the proposed agreement with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) on Aug. 8, plans to “use commercially reasonable efforts to interconnect” 150 MW of the solar projects each year from 2020 to 2023, allowing the projects to qualify for the federal investment tax credit.

The utility said that renewable energy developers with projects in the interconnection queue that could qualify for a PURPA contract have 30 days from the MPSC’s final approval of the agreement to sign the agreement and become a party to the settlement framework. Michigan EIBC will continue to monitor for the MPSC’s decision on this proposed settlement.

The settlement emerged from negotiations between the utility and parties to the Consumers PURPA case including the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), several Michigan EIBC member companies and the MPSC staff. Over the last several years so many solar projects were trying to connect to Consumers Energy’s system that a large queue and backlog has built up. Many of these projects were PURPA projects.

American Wind Energy Association Celebrates Industry Milestone

Wind is the single biggest source of renewable energy in Michigan, and since 2017 it has been the country’s largest source of renewable capacity. Since that year, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has honored that milestone with American Wind Week, and the third annual American Wind Week is this week (August 11-17).
AWEA’s efforts come in a banner year for wind development. Wind power projects amounting to 24 gigawatts of capacity are currently under construction in the U.S., up 26% from a year earlier, according to Windpower Intelligence.

Look up the #AmericanWindWeek hashtag on Twitter to read from many different political leaders (including Gov. Whitmer), companies and organizations about how wind power is making a difference in their communities.


Renewable Energy Jobs Continue to Grow Worldwide

Michigan EIBC is a state-focused organization, but its members are part of a global movement toward advanced energy. That international trend has led to the renewable energy sector employing a record 11 million people worldwide in 2018, up from 10.3 million in 2017, according to the new Renewable Energy and Jobs Report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
IRENA is an intergovernmental organization consisting of over 180 countries cooperating on the promotion of renewable energy. IRENA has published this report since 2012, when renewable employment was at 7.28 million jobs and bioenergy (including biomass, liquid biofuels and biogas) was the sector making up the largest share of jobs at 2.4 million. But since 2016, solar photovoltaic has eclipsed bioenergy as the biggest sector. That continued in 2018, with 3.61 million jobs in solar photovoltaics, 3.18 million in bioenergy, 1.16 million in wind energy and 800,000 in solar heating and cooling.
In one of the more interesting developments found in the current report, China was responsible for more offshore wind investment than Europe for the first time. Offshore wind projects from China were worth $11.2 billion in 2018, compared to $3.3 billion for Europe.



Michigan EIBC to Partner with Clean Fuels Michigan on Upcoming EV Convening

The Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC) and Clean Fuels Michigan invite you to attend the 9th EV Convening of the series on Tuesday, September 17 from 11:45 am to 2:30 pm in downtown Lansing. The topic is Vehicle Electrification in the Transition to Advanced Mobility: Private Sector Solutions.
Building from previous convenings, this ninth installation will focus on private sector challenges and solutions to driving vehicle electrification. Expected topics will include the future of gas stations and car dealerships, automotive manufacturing, and private sector fleet decisions. 

Save The Date for the Michigan Energy Innovators Gala November 14

Michigan EIBC’s 7th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala will take place on Thursday, November 14 from 5:00 to 9:00 pm at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. During the gala, we celebrate businesses and individuals who are working to grow Michigan’s advanced energy sector. Advanced energy business leaders, state officials, MPSC staff, and legislators will be in attendance. Awards will be handed out at the event, and only Michigan EIBC members are able to nominate and vote for award winners. Sponsorship opportunities are available and can be found on our websiteRegistration is also open should you wish to purchase individual tickets.

Renewing Members

Four Elements Energy
Four Elements Energy designs and installs solar ( electric, water heating, air heating) and wind renewable energy systems.

Harvest Solar
Since 2006, Harvest Solar’s mission has been to assist residential, agricultural, commercial, and utility customers in becoming more sustainable, efficient and independent with renewable energy. We pride ourselves on partnering with our customers throughout this experience, consistently delivering quality, custom-designed & engineered, cost-effective energy systems.

Magellan Wind
Magellan Wind is an offshore wind developer that develops projects far offshore using floating foundations.

Michigan CAT
Michigan CAT Power Systems is Michigan’s premier provider of turnkey Combined Heat & Power (CHP or Cogen) systems. We have the expertise to optimize a CHP system for your facility and the boots on the ground to make sure you get the most out of your investment. Plus, as your Caterpillar dealer, only we can offer best in class CAT power generation equipment that is built in the USA.
Michigan CAT is also recognized as a leader in providing landfill solutions. Decades of leadership in converting landfill gas to viable energy mean millions of “green” kilowatts provided. Our CHP; Landfill customers include operations across the nation-with hundreds of generators operating in diverse applications.

Samsung Renewable Energy
Samsung Renewable Energy is a renewable energy development arm in Samsung Group, and has developed and completed 1.7GW solar and wind PPA projects in US and Canada.



Michigan Energy News

  • Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel calls upon the Michigan Public Service Commission to make structural changes to billing so as to relieve the burden on customers during long power outages from disasters.
  • Recent blackouts have led to a debate about how to improve reliability in DTE’s service territory.
  • Utilities and automakers need to work together on the best policies to encourage electric vehicles, Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe writes in Fortune.
  • Michigan is joining other states in a lawsuit against the Trump administration over weakened rules on power plant emissions.
  • Petoskey officials are studying whether to build a solar array at the city’s former landfill site.

National Energy News

  • Congratulations to Michigan EIBC member POWERHOME Solar for being named No. 100 on Inc. magazine’s latest edition of its annual list of the 5,000 fastest growing private companies in the U.S.
  • Utility investment into high-capacity batteries, some as large as shipping containers, will help support wind and solar power in coming years, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Energy Vault, a startup working on a unique energy storage technology that uses a tower made up of huge cement bricks to store energy generated by wind and solar, recently raised $110 million.
  • Renewable mandates lead to measurable health benefits in Rust Belt states by causing low-emitting wind and solar to displace coal power, according to a peer-reviewed study.
  • Ohio solar manufacturer First Solar is using a customized training program, developed in conjunction with a local community college, to upgrade their employees’ skills and increase retention.
  • If less than 1% of agricultural land was converted to solar panels, it would satisfy global electric demand, according to a study from Oregon State University.
  • Energy storage capacity costs of $20 per kilowatt could support renewables generating 100% of electricity, according to new research.
  • The growth of renewable energy is leading utilities to shift more from traditional demand response to distributed energy and load flexibility.

Michigan Energy Events

Advanced transportation advocacy group Forth is holding a networking reception at the Michigan Beer Company at 5:00 pm on Sept. 10 following the Electric & Hybrid Technology Expo in Novi. RSVP here.

Michigan EIBC’s 9th EV Convening is on Sept. 17 at the Michigan Municipal League in Lansing. 

Michigan Energy Options is holding a Summer Solar Webinar Series. On Sept. 19, Marta Tomic of Vote Solar will discuss community solar projects.

The Battery Show’s North America 2019 conference on Sept. 12 to 19 in Novi will feature exhibitors and speakers covering all stages of the advanced battery supply chain. Learn more here.

For those interested in all sustainability issues, tickets are now available for the Rise Up & Drawdown Michigan conference at DeVos Conference Center in Grand Rapids on Sept. 25. Also see the exhibitor opportunity listed below.


National Energy Events

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s U.S. Commercial Service is holding Discover Global Markets: Powering & Building the Middle East & Africa in Houston, Texas from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. This event is for companies who want to learn how to enter the renewable energy, electricity infrastructure, construction, engineering, transportation and oil & gas sectors in the Middle East & Africa. There is also the opportunity to pre-schedule meetings at the event with U.S. commercial diplomats. Learn more here.

Register here for Advanced Energy Now | West, Advanced Energy Economy’s regional energy policy conference, to be held Oct. 16 to 17 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Energy Storage North America’s 2019 Conference & Expo is in San Diego from Nov. 5 to 7.

The U.S. Commercial Service has also organized the Clean Energy and Zero Emission Vehicle Technologies Trade Mission to Mexico from November 18 to 23. This one-week trip for U.S. companies involves one-on-one meetings, conferences, roundtables, a networking reception and OEM and tier 1 plant visits with the automotive and clean energy industry in Mexico. Contact U.S. Commercial Service Mexico Energy Industry Specialist Claudia Salgado at claudia.salgado@trade.gov. The U.S. Commercial Service is also offering free consultancies for Michigan EIBC members interested in these business sectors in Mexico.



As part of Gov. Whitmer’s new initiative for greater use of renewable energy and efficiency in state government, the Department of Technology, Management and Budget has released a request for proposals for an Audit, Design and Construction Consultant for the implementation of an energy savings project at the Michigan Department of Corrections at its complex in St. Louis, Mich. Those who want to be considered must submit a questionnaire by 2:00 pm on Aug. 29. Go here to learn more.

The Michigan Energy Office’s Small Manufacturers Energy Waste Reduction Incentive Pilot is offering rebates of up to $15,000 per company for small manufacturers that can implement energy efficiency activities between Oct. 1, 2019 and July 31, 2020. There is a 100% minimum match requirement. Click here to learn more about eligibility and apply.

Click here to learn more about reserving an exhibitor table at the Rise Up & Drawdown Michigan conference in Grand Rapids on Sept. 25.