Advanced Energy Manufacturing, DTE’s Renewable Energy Plan and More

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:

Article Shows Critical Role of Advanced Energy Manufacturing

Everyone is talking about the value of domestic manufacturing in the midst of the pandemic, so Michigan EIBC wanted to bring attention to its members engaged in manufacturing, and provide the background on how this industry developed.

“The advanced energy manufacturing industry is an asset we can tap into at times like these, but it is important to realize that this industry is not here by accident,” Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman writes in an article published by Energy News Network. “Building it up required many deliberate policy choices that were supported by the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council and others over a number of years.”

Read the whole piece here

DTE’s Renewable Energy Plan Important for Michigan’s Energy Future

Earlier this month the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approved DTE Energy’s integrated resource plan (IRP). Michigan EIBC had been a vocal participant in the long review process for DTE’s plan, and, among other issues, had pointed out that the IRP failed to include a competitive bidding process for new renewable energy resources.

After a number of revisions, the MPSC found that there was insufficient evidence in the IRP proceeding to allow for the approval of new electric supply resources. As a result, many of the issues from the IRP that most affect Michigan EIBC members have shifted to DTE’s renewable energy plan. This separate filing, which DTE has revised at the MPSC’s behest, includes details about the results of requests for proposals that identified new solar and wind projects for the utility.

As Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman wrote a few months ago, simply performing an RFP is not enough – there needs to be best practices for how to conduct a technology-neutral, fair and objective bidding process so competition among third-party developers can lead to the discovery of the most economic options for providing energy and capacity to DTE and its customers. The competitive bidding process described in the revised renewable energy plan unfortunately did not meet the criteria for best practices in several ways. For example, DTE did not use an independent administrator to design and run the evaluation process to ensure fair assessment of all of the bids.

The MPSC did, in its order approving the IRP, note Michigan EIBC’s call for a formal workshop developing best practices for competitive procurement for renewables. Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman will soon be filing expert witness testimony on the revised renewable energy plan that will continue to drive the conversation forward and toward a fair and objective process that takes full advantage of the dynamic advanced energy market of project developers. 

Earth Day Virtual Mini Conference Looks At Future of Advanced Energy Sectors

 The April 22 Earth Day Virtual Mini Conference showed that, as serious as the COVID-19 pandemic is, there are still fundamental tailwinds behind advanced energy that in the long term will propel it forward. “The clean energy sector is well positioned to be a major part of economic recovery,” Ian Adams of Clean Energy Trust, one of the featured speakers, said. Ryan Katofsky of Advanced Energy Economy talked about the underlying trends in favor of renewable energy, EVs and more. For example, EVs are close to reaching price parity with internal combustion engine vehicles, he said. 

There are also plenty of Michigan-specific accomplishments to celebrate for Earth Day. Commissioner Dan Scripps, another panelist, pointed out that over the past 10 years, no other state has moved up more in the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s rankings of the 50 states for energy efficiency. Amy Butler of Michigan State University talked about how advances in energy efficiency measures have allowed the university to become a leader in cutting its emissions footprint across its campuses. Finally, Dr. Brandy Brown, climate and energy advisor at EGLE, discussed the concept of “triple bottom line,” a framework that jointly takes into account the social, environmental and economic impacts of energy policy.

We look forward to more informative virtual events in the coming weeks!  Sponsors

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IEI Virtual Energy 101 Session on COVID-19 and the Advanced Energy Industry

On May 4, the Institute for Energy Innovation is holding a virtual meeting for legislators and legislative staff on COVID-19 and the Advanced Energy Industry. Panelists will include Michigan EIBC member companies working in energy efficiency, energy usage, solar, and energy storage. This virtual meeting is for Michigan state legislators, legislative staff, and Michigan EIBC members only.

Members will receive a Zoom link through email. State legislators and their staff can contact us to receive details in order to join. 

Michigan Energy News

  • An MiBiz article quotes Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman about how the recent executive order on online notarization helps renewable energy developers keep working in the current crisis, as we first discussed in this newsletter.
  • Western Michigan University’s public radio station recently interviewed Dr. Sherman and Michigan EIBC VP of Policy Cory Connolly about the necessity of raising the distributed generation cap for the future of the rooftop solar industry in Michigan.
  • A new MPSC report finds significant growth in the amount of renewable energy projects planned as “qualifying facilities” under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), driven by Consumers Energy’s agreement to interconnect 584 MW of PURPA projects.
  • Attorney General Dana Nessel joins in a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Department of Energy on what the AG calls new roadblocks for energy efficiency standards.
  • GM says it plans to have all of its southeast Michigan operations powered by renewable energy by 2023. 
  • “Despite the global pandemic, corporations are making long-term investments in low-cost renewable energy,” Dr. Sherman is quoted as saying in a Crain’s Detroit Business article about GM’s recent moves.
  • The Upper Peninsula Energy Task Force’s recommendations sent to Gov. Whitmer include the creation of a “customer storage incentive program” for propane and increased funding for weatherization projects to make UP homes more efficient.

National Energy News

  • NextEra Energy plans to spend $1 billion on energy storage in 2021.
  • Minnesota rooftop solar installers are continuing to perform their work with new social distancing precautions.
  • Wind was the leading source of new electric-generating capacity in the U.S. in 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, at 9,100 MW out of nearly 23,000 MW of capacity.
  • Utilities are having to adapt quickly to keep electricity supply stable during the pandemic.
  • According to the Conservative Energy Network, there are encouraging signs for energy stimulus coming out of Congress.
  • Legislators in Delaware are considering increasing the state’s renewable energy portfolio standard from 25% by 2025 to 40% by 2035.
  • Microsoft wants to go carbon-negative by 2030 with the help of technology to suck carbon out of the air.

Online Resources

Due to the number of events that have been canceled or postponed due to the pandemic, we are sharing some online events, webinars and tutorials on advanced energy topics that may be of interest.

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.

The Small Business Association of Michigan has many online resources including Youtube webinars and daily video briefings about COVID-19 and how small businesses in Michigan can cope.

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. 

Michigan Energy Events

The Mid-America Regulatory Conference, an association of regional organizations of utility and regulatory agencies from 14 states, is holding its annual meeting in Grand Rapids on June 21-24

On July 21-23, 2020 PlugVolt will be hosting its next Battery Seminar in Plymouth, MI (USA), featuring an entire day of in-depth technical tutorials presented by renowned professors from several US universities on Day 1, followed by Days 2 and 3 with industry subject matter experts presenting on Automotive and Stationary Storage applications respectively. Attendees will also get an exclusive opportunity to tour A123 Systems’ new Novi, Michigan (USA) facility.

The NetZeroBuild Summit 2020, bringing together the key stakeholders involved in the Midwest’s value chain for net-zero construction in residential, commercial, academic and government buildings, is in Novi from August 25-26 (New dates due to delay related to the coronavirus.)  

National Energy Events

The Midwest Solar Expo, previously scheduled from May 19-21 in Minneapolis, has been postponed.  


The Environmental Research & Education Foundation is welcoming grant applications for “projects and research addressing any area of integrated solid waste management, with priority given to research aimed at increasing sustainable solid waste management practices.” The deadline for a short pre-proposal is May 1.

5 Lakes Energy is seeking to hire a full-time campaign coordinator for the Land and Liberty Coalition, a Midwest regional collaborative fighting at the local level for the successful siting of renewable energy projects. Click here for the full job description including responsibilities, qualifications, and application instructions.

Ann Arbor Public Schools have an RFP for an electric bus charging station.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has two new RFPs related to renewable energy projects at the Oden Fish Hatchery. The RFPs are published on the state’s online bidding portal. Search for numbers 20*1376 and 20*1377 (Note: These RFPs have been put on hold until further notice).

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources also plans to publish a RFP for leasing state forest land to utility-scale solar arrays. Go to the online bidding portal and use commodity code 91018 – Energy Systems, Solar Installation Systems.

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 to find out more information including how a building can apply.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service is seeking applications for its Rural Energy for America Program, which makes loan guarantees and grants available for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency, energy audits and more. The deadlines to apply for renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grants are Oct. 31, 2019, and March 31, 2020, while applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round. Find out more here.

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.