- Newsletter (345)
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:
Coalition of Businesses Calls for Vote on Distributed Generation Cap Legislation
This week 21 businesses and organizations signed a letter sent to Rep. House Energy Chair Representative Joseph Bellino that urges him to hold a vote on HB 4236, which lifts the cap on rooftop solar.
“There are no engineering, regulatory, or safety reasons to limit the booming solar industry in Michigan,” the letter states. The cap only serves to stifle and harm businesses who want to be able to create jobs and spur economic activity in our state.”
Also this week, Michigan EIBC publicly refuted claims DTE and Consumers Energy made to the media that HB 4236 shifts costs onto non-DG customers—even though the Michigan Public Service Commission’s (MPSC) has found that cost-shifting is not occurring.
“Unfortunately, DTE and Consumers Energy have fought solar energy advancement for years and continue to block this new industry from making Michigan a solar leader,” Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman said in a press release in response. “Make no mistake, DTE and Consumers Energy are asking the legislature to do their bidding after regulators under both the current and the previous administration have denied their attempts to place unwarranted and unfair fees on solar customers. Michigan EIBC will be holding the utility companies accountable and working to ensure any policies encourage, and do not hinder, the solar industry.”
Signatories to the letter were: Association for Businesses Advocating Tariff Equity, Coalition fo
Community Solar Access, D2 Solar, ecojiva, Elevate Energy, Four Elements Energy, GEM Energy,
Homeland Solar, Inman Solar, Inovateus, Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, Michigan Energy Options, Michigan Solar Solutions, Newman Consulting Group, Oak Electric, Peninsula Solar, Pivot Energy, Solar Energy Industries Association, Sunrun, The Green Panel, and Vote Solar Action Fund. HB4236 is currently pending before the House Energy Committee.
Michigan Faces A Key Choice on Building Energy Codes
This year is a particularly important one for energy efficiency and electric vehicle (EV) and distributed generation readiness in Michigan’s building stock. Michigan will adopt a new model building code for the first time in six years. Michigan EIBC and our members will be participating in the building code revision process to ensure that efficiency, electrification and EV/distributed generation readiness remain at the forefront. A webinar held by the Michigan Environmental Council last week laid out the next steps in this process and why the decision of which code to adopt matters so much for MIchigan’s overall progress toward cleaner energy.
The director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) will adopt either the 2018 or 2021 model of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). “We should prioritize pushing for the adoption of the 2021 IECC, which is estimated to be about 10% more efficient than the 2018 IECC,” Diana Burk, project manager at New Buildings Institute and one of the speakers at the webinar, said. The 2021 version’s improvements over the 2018 version include a provision that allows jurisdictions to adopt a model for zero energy home designation.
NBI has created a Building Decarbonization Code that they are proposing as an overlay to the 2021 IECC that makes it go even further toward increasing efficiency and cutting emissions from buildings. For example, it prioritizes electric equipment so that it is easier for new buildings to move toward all-electric systems (read our piece in Greentech Media from last year about the exciting opportunities around building electrification). NBI’s overlay also “incorporates code solutions to the inclusion of key electrification technologies including solar, electric vehicles, battery storage, and demand response and is designed to enhance building-grid integration,” according to the organization.
The bolder elements of the 2021 IECC has led to backlash from home builders and other groups that generally want laxer codes. Typically when more efficient codes are put forth, builders say they are unrealistically expensive, explained Isaac Elnecave, policy specialist at Passive House Institute U.S, explained during the webinar. But those claims have proven to be exaggerated again and again, he said. “Once code is in place, actual costs are lower than predicted costs because practitioners look for least-cost methods to comply,” Elnecave said.
The gains from progressively more efficient codes have been substantial, demonstrating why it is important to adopt the 2021 IECC. Energy code progress from 2009 to 2018 saved Michigan $308 million and the greater Midwest $2.5 billion, according to a Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance study cited by Burk.
The next steps before LARA makes its decision are to hold more meetings with the Michigan Construction Code Commission and the Bureau of Construction Codes. Michigan EIBC’s new Director of Research and Policy Grace Michienzi is excited to participate in this process along with Michigan EIBC members to help make new buildings ready for the advanced energy transition.
Michigan EIBC Explained in New Video
With help from our intern, Lesley Ortega, we’ve created a video describing Michigan EIBC that is now posted on our website and on YouTube. The video provides a great overview of what Michigan EIBC is all about, as well as testimonials from representatives of member companies Ranger Power and PACE Loan Group, and an appearance from Gov. Whitmer.
Energy Development Partners (EDP) , based in Rhode Island with offices in Germany, the Dominican Republic and Mexico have developed over 482 MW’s of solar projects. USA clients include Brown University, The University of Rhode Island, regional utilities, municipalities and state agencies. EDP’s financing partners are well established energy infrastructure groups including AES, Goldman Sachs, Constellation New Energy and others.
ChargePoint is the largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network, with a growing global presence across North America, Europe, and beyond. The company offers a diverse portfolio of charging solutions for fleets and in every category EV drivers charge, at home, work, around town and on the road along with a suite of software and cloud services designed to optimize the user experience and make driving electric more seamless than ever. With more than 108,000 places to charge on its network and the mobile app (available on iOS and Android) that enables drivers to easily find available charging stations, start a charging session, receive status updates regarding their charging sessions, and more; ChargePoint is effectively serving the rapidly growing EV driver community.The software also provides analytics, pricing, and energy management along with many other services. ChargePoint drivers have avoided more than 89 million gallons of gas, which translates to over 298 million kgs of greenhouse gas emissions. Independent owners and operators of ChargePoint stations in Michigan have deployed over 1,500 charging spots from Monroe to Marquette.
As a company, esaSolar is dedicated to changing the future of energy by providing simplified solar energy solutions. With over 15 years of experience, we specialize in a range of project development services for utility scale solar energy applications.ESA is an industry leading solar developer which has developed, engineered, constructed, and operated more than 100 utility solar farms across the U.S. and Europe. With over 1 GW of projects between development, construction and operating assets, ESA has managed virtually every aspect of a solar project from start to finish.
Key Capture Energy identifies, develops, constructs and operates energy storage solutions to foster greater deployment of renewable energy, create a more stable electric grid, and provide value to all ratepayers.
Established in 2011, Peninsula Solar is pioneering the installation of state of the art energy products. Thorough understanding of the trade combined with a dedication to best installation practices has driven the company’s advancement into the forefront of a regional solar and energy storage revolution.
Uplight is the leading provider of end-to-end customer-centric technology solutions dedicated solely to serving the energy ecosystem. More than 80 utilities around the globe use Uplight solutions to power their customer energy experience. Uplight was established in 2019 by combining the acquisitions of EEme, EnergySavvy, FirstFuel, and Ecotagious with Tendril’s data analytics platform and Simple Energy’s consumer engagement marketplace. Uplight creates a more sustainable future by empowering customers in a way that the sum is greater than the parts—bringing together all of the pieces of customer energy action management, residential and commercial.
Michigan Energy News
- The debate over the possible closure of the Line 5 pipeline is being framed as a debate over how quickly the state and country should transition away from fossil fuels.
- A federal plan to improve transmission line infrastructure can help prevent renewable energy projects from being canceled in Michigan due to inadequate grid capacity, writes state Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids).
- “The fastest and surest progress we can make toward reducing Michigan’s greenhouse gas footprint is to make the most of energy efficiency and demand response opportunities throughout the state,” says Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy Director Liesl Eichler Clark.
- The utilities’ announcement that they want to raise the solar cap is a “smokescreen” covering up their opposition to rooftop , Michigan Environmental Council Director of Legislative Affairs Charlotte Jameson said.
- The University of Michigan Office of Sustainability says it will soon buy about half of its purchased energy from renewable sources.
National Energy News
- Community choice aggregation is moving from a strategy for localities to reduce their energy bills to a route for communities that want to move more aggressively towards carbon emissions reductions.
- The Biden administration faces a tough balancing act with its goals on land preservation on one hand and expansions of wind and solar power on the other.
- Some experts say the administration needs to put a bigger emphasis on climate adaptation.
- Hydrostor is working on 1,000 MW of long-duration, compressed air energy storage in California.
- Arizona regulators reject a proposal to require 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.
- Southern California Gas has partnered with a startup in hopes of finding cheaper ways of producing “green hydrogen.”
Michigan and National Energy Events
The 25th Michigan Energy Providers Conference 2021 at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island from July 29-30 will provide a unique perspective of the future of energy and related policy needs in Michigan, and offer an opportunity to build relationships with others in the industry. CDC guidelines will be followed and all proper protocols will be taken to ensure a safe event. Conference registration will open soon.
The PlugVolt Battery Seminar 2021 in Plymouth, Mich., has been postponed from July to the new dates of Oct. 5-7. The conference will feature “technical tutorials on fundamental materials’ challenges for electrochemical energy storage, opportunities and challenges with solid-state batteries, best design practices for cell engineering, battery modeling and health monitoring, second life design considerations for energy storage, etc.,” as well as a tour of A123 Systems in Novi. Registration is open here. The U.S. Energy Storage Association Annual Conference & Expo (#ESACon21) will convene December 1-3 in Phoenix to bring together buyers, sellers, investors, and leaders in the energy storage industry for an event focused on driving deals and business in the energy storage industry. The #ESACon21 is a must attend for anyone looking to expand their business, invest in, or develop partnerships in the energy storage industry. Learn more here. Gov. Whitmer created the Council on Climate Solutions as an advisory body to help formulate and implement the MI Healthy Climate Plan. The council is holding a series of meetings throughout the year on various topics related to cutting Michigan’s CO2 emissions and recommending solutions for communities disproportionately affected by climate change. Go to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy Office of Climate and Energy website to learn how to join these meetings.
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.
Groundwork Center is seeking a Clean Energy Program Specialist to support Groundwork’s Clean Energy Program in northern Michigan. The application is due May 10. Read more about the position and how to apply here.
Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) is seeking applicants for the 1 Hotels Fellowship, due by May 15. E2 says: “the 1 Hotels Fellowship at E2 is designed to support early to mid-career businesspeople who seek to tackle pressing environmental issues through projects that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Six selected fellows will receive $20,000 each and work with E2 staff to implement their projects for the 2021-2022 program cycle.” Learn more here.
Centrepolis is launching its new C3 Accelerator, funded in part by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, New Economy Initiative and the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator. The accelerator will offer a total pool of $275,000 in funding including grants, equity-free interest-free investments, and services to support product development and scaling of cleantech, climatech, and circular economy technologies. A portion of these investments will be dedicated to support ventures led by women, people of color, veterans and other underrepresented entrepreneurs. Applications are due May 31, and can be submitted through this link. 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.