Ambitious Renewable Energy Standard Proposed, Cost Declines Spur Energy Innovation 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:

New Bills Would Require 100% Renewable Energy for Michigan by 2050

On Jan. 23, state Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) and state Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) announced they are introducing legislation that would gradually increase Michigan’s clean energy standard. Under the bills, Michigan utilities would have to use renewable sources to generate 25% of their energy by 2025, 50% by 2032, 75% by 2040 and 100% by 2050.

Currently, Michigan has a renewable portfolio standard under which utilities must use eligible technologies to generate 15% of their energy by 2021. The eligible technologies include wind, solar, biomass, hydroelectric power, geothermal electric and heat pumps and anaerobic digestion.

Several other states have already passed 100% clean energy standards, although the timelines vary. Connecticut and New York are requiring 100% by 2040, California, New Mexico, Washington and Hawaii by 2045 and Maine and Puerto Rico by 2050, according to a recent UCLA study

Experts Envision A Grid Dominated By Renewables, Storage and CHP

Fifteen years ago, analysts at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory were trying to calculate how renewable generation could eventually provide 20% of U.S. energy. Not even two decades later, achieving 20% seems obvious, and NREL is looking toward 100%. 

“The declining cost of wind and solar and now batteries makes it conceivable to consider 100% renewables,” NREL Principal Energy Analyst Paul Denholm said in a recent post on the organization’s website.

Due to an 80% drop in the price of lithium-ion batteries over just five years, energy storage can increasingly provide the backup support for renewables that allow wind and solar to be deployed even faster. The drive to more renewables will also provide millions more jobs than come from conventional energy sources today, according to a recent study.

Combined heat and power (CHP) systems have similarly grown in deployment. CHP allows large energy users like manufacturing facilities, hospitals and campuses to be run more efficiently, saving money and decreasing emissions. An example of how renewable energy and CHP can work together can be seen at Michigan EIBC member Michigan CAT’s CHP engine installed at Bell’s Brewery, which runs along an anaerobic digester to help the brewery lower its emissions and energy costs.

The cost declines and innovation in renewables, storage, CHP and electric vehicles will all be explored further at the Institute for Energy Innovation’s Energy 101 Lunch & Learn session on Jan. 28 in Lansing. Panelists will include representatives of Michigan EIBC members Clarke Energy, eCamion Inc., Michigan Energy Options, and Ventower Industries. RSVP here (note that this event is for Michigan state legislators, legislative staff, and Michigan EIBC members only.) 

Early Bird Discount Available for 8th Annual Energy Innovators Conference

The 8th Annual Energy Innovators Conference, April 22 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing, is likely to be our most popular event of the year. So don’t wait to get Early Bird 10% discounts on individual tickets, available only through Jan. 31. Get your tickets at this link, and use the promo code ENERGY2020 at checkout.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available. Find more information here.

Stay tuned for details on panelists, the keynote speaker and the schedule for the 2020 conference. 

Michigan Energy News

  • Gov. Whitmer appoints 21 Michiganders to the state’s first Environmental Justice Advisory Council, including IEI board member Keith Cooley and Michigan EIBC board member Carla Walker-Miller, CEO of Michigan EIBC member company Walker-Miller Energy Services.
  • Under a legal settlement, Tesla will be able to deliver its EVs to buyers in Michigan.
  • Among the states, Michigan ranks somewhere in the middle of the pack when it comes to EV charging stations.
  • Consumers Energy and DTE are partnering with Missouri University of Science & Technology on a grant for research into hydropower modeling that could improve operations at pumped storage facilities like the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant.
  • Consumers Energy settles a case with Michigan regulators over allegations that the utility did not timely respond to thousands of notifications of digging projects that could affect underground pipelines.
  • Michigan joins attorneys general from several other states to oppose the rollback of federal regulations on disposal of coal ash.
  • A 150-MW solar array project is proposed to be built in southeastern Michigan.

National Energy News

  • Minnesota environmental groups are opposed to the state spending a portion of the funds from the Volkswagen emissions cheating settlement on diesel and alternative fueled vehicles.
  • A Southern California company is offering EV charging stations with amenities like car washes.
  • States and advocacy groups are pushing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reconsider its recent major ruling on the “minimum offer price rule” that the opponents argue will hurt renewable energy development.
  • New York state is making moves to become the manufacturing hub for the developing U.S. offshore wind industry.
  • California plans to spend over $500 million over four years on incentives for customers to adopt behind-the-meter storage.
  • Climate change will pose risks to the operation of many U.S. power plants, according to a report from Moody’s.

Michigan Energy Events

The Institute for Energy Innovation’s next Energy 101 Lunch & Learn session is Jan. 28 in Lansing at the Michigan House Office Building, focusing on “Cost Declines and Technological Innovations in Advanced Energy.” RSVP here. This event is for Michigan state legislators, legislative staff, and Michigan EIBC members only.

Michigan State University’s Institute of Public Utilities is holding the 15th Annual Michigan Forum on Economic Regulatory Policy, a one-day conference that makes participants eligible for continuing education credits, on Feb. 21.

On Feb. 24 Michigan EIBC is holding a Networking Meeting at Phoenix Contact’s Ann Arbor office for a tour and discussion of e-mobility and technology. Please get tickets here.

National Energy Events

Infocast’s Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit is in San Diego from Feb. 4 to Feb. 6, 2020.

The CLEANPOWER 2020 expo, organized by the American Wind Energy Association, will be in Denver from June 1 to 4, 2020. See registration options now.


 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.