C-PACE Bills Advance, Consumers Energy IRP and Rate Case: This Week in Advanced Energy 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:

C-PACE Bills Advance Out of Committee

The Michigan House Energy Committee on June 22 advanced HB 5011 and HB 5012the recently introduced bills to expand and improve commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing in Michigan.

The same day, Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman published an article in Crain’s Detroit Business that explained the impetus for the C-PACE legislation in the context of the energy efficiency gains both Michigan and the country in general need to make a bigger dent in emissions. Even though investments in efficiency more than pay for themselves, the upfront costs are a hurdle. “It’s a classic short-term vs. long-term problem, Sherman writes. “The long-term savings dwarf the short-term costs, but people live in the short term, while the long-term picture is foggy and uncertain.”

C-PACE is a proven method that incentivizes lenders to provide new sources of financing to help property owners overcome these hurdles. But Michigan’s “highly restrictive statute”—as Michigan EIBC member Lean & Green Michigan President and General Counsel Todd Williams said at a hearing last week—limits the scope of projects that can use C-PACE. Sherman explains the specific provisions of the bills, introduced by Reps.Yousef Rabhi and Felicia Brabec that would expand C-PACE. If these bills are ultimately passed into law, “above all, Michigan could meet its emissions reductions goals at a reasonable cost while still growing its economy because the growth would materialize in highly efficient, lower-emitting projects,” she writes.

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Testimony Scrutinizes Current Consumers Rate Case Proposal

 Consumers Energy released its new integrated resource plan this week, which notably accelerates the planned retirements of several coal-fired power plants largely by adding solar and existing natural gas capacity. We will be evaluating the IRP and examining whether it moves toward renewable energy and storage as fast as it could. 

Consumers Energy is already in the midst of an electric rate case that, like the IRP, will shape the utility’s use of advanced energy technologies. This week Michigan EIBC and the Institute for Energy Innovation (IEI) argued in testimony submitted as part of the rate case proceeding that Consumers Energy needs to move toward a permanent EV program that anticipates the growing EV trend as well as a bring-your-own-device customer battery storage program that has more competitive pricing options. 

Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman’s testimony called for the extension of the utility’s PowerMIDrive EV charging infrastructure program for another three years. But, Sherman argued, the number of planned EV models is growing so fast that Consumers Energy needs to be thinking farther ahead. EV adoption rates will likely be even higher than the utility is projecting in the rate case (a Consumers Energy witness provided figures projecting 84,000 EVs in the service territory by 2030, which is greater than 20% year-over-year sales growth).

Sherman told the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) that it should require Consumers Energy to take a number of steps to better prepare, such as including an analysis of the net effects of EV adoption and charging in the service territory in all electric rate cases moving forward, and making the utility’s charging infrastructure rebate program more focused on incentivizing charging where it can provide services for the grid and thus benefit non-EV-driving customers.

Justin Barnes, director of research at EQ Research, submitted testimony on behalf of Michigan EIBC and IEI regarding the utility’s proposed home battery storage pilot program. Consumers Energy wants to install 2,000 home battery units at 1,000 homes over a three-year period from 2022 to 2024. Furthermore, the utility has proposed that participating customers pick from the options of a battery owned by the utility, or a battery owned by the customer directly or by a third-party provider.

But this proposal “is heavily skewed to benefit Consumers and not the Company’s ratepayers,” Barnes said in his testimony. The utility-owned option is far more expensive than the more competitive, bring-your-own-device option, even based on the utility’s own projections. The MPSC should scrap the utility-owned option and Consumers Energy should reconfigure its proposal to be more attentive to customer benefits like expanding the number of ways customers can get value from their batteries, Barnes said.  

Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman Interviewed On Job Impact of Electrification

 Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman was interviewed by Public News Service for an article about a new Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) report that tallied the economic impacts of the Biden administration’s American Jobs plan, including the proposed $274 billion for transportation sector electrification.

“We’re getting a lot more companies who are building the batteries for electric vehicles, building up that supply chain here,” Sherman was quoted as saying. “Obviously, the automakers work with a huge network of suppliers. And so, I think there’s a lot of opportunities for job growth.”

The report, AEE’s 2021 Market Report, found that since 2011 there has been an 18% compound annual growth rate in global revenue from the Advanced Transportation sector of the advanced energy economy, a category that includes EVs and the information technology enabling new mobility technologies. For the U.S. specifically, the rate was 17%. Global revenue from plug-in EV sales grew at 59% over the same period.

Electrifying vehicle fleets, including vehicles used for public transit, has positive benefits beyond the economics, Sherman said in the interview. “I think there are a lot of places in Michigan where you have highways cutting through neighborhoods,” Sherman said. “And if we could clean up those diesel trucks that are idling in the neighborhoods, you’re going to positively impact the communities.”  

Join Us In-Person for the 9th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on Sept. 14

We’re excited to network in-person and celebrate individuals and businesses who have worked to grow Michigan’s advanced energy sector in 2021. Advanced energy business leaders & experts, legislators, regulators, state government officials, and other key decision-makers will be in attendance. Join the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council as we celebrate on September 14th, 2021 at The Eastern, Detroit, Mich. 

Keynote speaker and additional details/ticket sales to come in the following weeks.  

Annual awards will be presented at the Innovators Gala. We invite Michigan EIBC members to submit nominations, via link here, for the following categories:

Project of the Year
Business of the Year
Public Official of the Year
Energy Innovators Hall of Fame
Nominations close the end of business on Wednesday, July 7th, 2021.

We also invite you to become a sponsor of this premier annual event. Sponsors will benefit from networking with a broad range of industry leaders from renewable energy, energy efficiency, transportation, and the utility sector. Sponsorship opportunities and benefits can be found here

Please contact Brianna Gerard, Director of Membership & Events, to reserve your sponsorship spot: brianna@mieibc.org.

Event Sponsors

Gigawatt Level

Kilowatt Level

The Watt Level

Renewing Members

Advanced Energy Management Alliance

(National Associate Member)

Advanced Energy Management Alliance advocates for policies that empower and compensate customers appropriately–to contribute energy or energy-related services or to manage their energy usage–in a manner which contributes to a more efficient, cost-effective, resilient, reliable, and environmentally sustainable grid. Our members are providers and customers of Distributed Energy Resources, including Demand Response and Advanced Energy Management, united to overcome barriers to nationwide use of demand-side resources. Our Committees are active throughout North America, federally, regionally, and in states.  

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

Michigan Energy News

  • The public utilities for Holland and Zeeland are buying shares in the 125-MW solar project being built in Calhoun County.
  • Michigan EIBC member the Green Panel opens a new showroom in Kent County.
  • The Sierra Club, the group Flint Rising and 75 Michigan leaders call on Consumers Energy to support an integrated resource plan with greater focus on clean energy than plans of the past.
  • Solar installers with conflicting political views agree that Michigan needs to change its laws on distributed generation.
  • Over 75% of Michigan voters support legislation to create a path for community solar projects, according to a recent poll.
  • Washtenaw Community College joins DTE Energy’s MIGreenPower voluntary green pricing program, the first community college to do so.

National Energy News

  • Residential energy efficiency improvements are best sold as side effects of increasing the overall comfort level of customers, according to an article in Canary Media.
  • Michigan EIBC member Petros PACE Finance closes the largest-ever commercial PACE transaction in the U.S., an $89 million project at a 1.2-million square-foot tower in New York City.
  • EV advocates are concerned about a bipartisan proposal in the U.S. Senate to place a surcharge on EVs to pay for infrastructure spending.
  • Transmission congestion and difficulty matching generation output with local market prices are issues hurting the market value of renewable energy, according to a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study.
  • A proposed bill in Oregon would require Portland Gas & Electric and Pacific Power, the two largest investor-owned utilities serving the state, to cut their carbon emissions by 100% by 2040.
  • New York City has ambitious emissions reductions goals, but though the next mayor will have to follow through if those goals can be realized, environmental and sustainability policy is not heavily factoring into the city’s mayoral election campaign.

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., will feature an entire day of in-depth technical tutorials presented by world renowned professors from Top 50 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 INTERTEK Battery Testing Center of Excellence in Plymouth, MI (USA). The seminar is scheduled for Oct. 5-7, and 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 Lansing Board of Water and Light will issue a Request for Information for electricity storage by the end of September. Vendors can register here.

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.