- 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:
After Pressure from Michigan EIBC, Consumers Energy Set to Raise DG Cap to 2%
On Friday November 20, Consumers Energy publicly committed to voluntarily increasing their distributed generation (DG) cap to 2%. “We plan to consider doubling our limited distributed generation (DG) incentive program for customers who want to install rooftop solar generation in Michigan starting Jan. 1, 2021.” Consumers Energy said in a statement to customers. “Through this voluntary step, we continue to support customers who want to install rooftop solar generation and be paid for excess energy generated.”
“Today’s decision by Consumers Energy to raise the distributed generation cap to two percent is good news for Michigan families, small businesses and the booming Michigan solar industry,” Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman said. “This commonsense decision will protect Michigan small businesses and jobs in the solar industry and shows the current solar cap is arbitrary, unnecessary and an impediment to job growth. We call upon the Legislature to permanently eliminate the restrictive solar cap across Michigan.”
This news comes one day after Consumers filed a letter with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) announcing that the utility had reached the 1% net metering (NEM) cap for residential and commercial solar installations.
Practically, for solar installers and customers, this means that Consumers will institute a waiting list until January 1, 2021 for applications received after the 1% cap was reached. As of January 1, the distributed generation program will reopen with outflow credited at the new DG tariff rate and with an overall program cap of 2%.
Over the last year, Michigan EIBC and our members have fought to eliminate or increase the DG cap. Recent articles in MiBiz and Michigan Radio highlighted the negotiations at the legislature and the economic harm that will result in communities if the caps are not increased. A November 13 mLive article gave a good overview of the issue and got the perspectives of Mark Hagerty from Michigan EIBC member Michigan Solar Solutions and Ken Zebarah of Michigan EIBC member Harvest Solar. “We’re worried about losing jobs and a thriving set of businesses that have been doing really well in the last few years,” Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman told mLive.
Despite today’s win, the fight is not over — Michigan EIBC members still need the legislature to lift the DG cap and solve this problem across the state to protect jobs in the solar industry over the long-term.
Click here to send a letter to your legislators asking them to take action to lift the DG cap.
Statement Regarding Michigan DHHS Order On COVID-19
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’s recent order limiting indoor gatherings is a sober reminder of the continuing toll the COVID-19 pandemic is having on friends, family and members of our community. As was the case with the shutdown order this spring, Michigan EIBC believes the utmost precautionary measures should be the top priority for all advanced energy work at this time.
Outdoor construction is not affected by the order. Indoor work can continue but must be conducted with strict adherence to social distancing guidelines and use of personal protective equipment.
Several weeks ago, new laws (PA 237 and PA 238) were passed in Michigan that have important implications for this order. Provisions of these laws grant immunity to liability from a COVID-19 claim for persons, businesses and nonprofits who act in compliance with federal and state statutes related to COVID-19.
We hope all Michiganders stay safe through this latest order and beyond.
Meet Our Interns – Ari Cohen
Over the next few weeks we will be introducing the Michigan EIBC interns who work behind-the-scenes on research projects for us.
First is Ari Cohen, a junior at the University of Michigan who is pursuing a double major in Earth and Environmental Sciences and Program in the Environment. He has been working for us since November 2019 on a research report on how to increase funding options for behind-the-meter projects that traditionally lack sufficient funding.
A native of Bloomfield Hills, Ari’s studies intersect between the environment and business. He is a member of the inaugural cohort of The Erb Institute Undergraduate Fellows Program, which promotes collaboration amongst students from the Ross School of Business and Program in the Environment majors. “Early on in college I recognized the role I was playing in contributing to the climate crisis,” Ari says. “Michigan EIBC allows me the opportunity to play a part in enacting the positive social, environmental and political changes that are required to combat all aspects of the climate crisis.”
Following graduation, he is interested in education, research or policy advocacy roles in the renewable energy and energy storage industries.
Michigan Energy News
- Isabella Wind named 2020 Project of the Year by Michigan EIBC.
- Consumers Energy CEO Patti Poppe leaving company for Californnia.
- Orion Renewable Energy Group is making plans to construct a solar project in Goodland Township.
- Governor Whitmer moves to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5.
National Energy News
- Michigan EIBC member Plunkett Cooney has been named one of the best law firms in the country for 2021 by Best Lawyers.
- As prices continue to fall, Xcel Energy issues bill credits to Minnesota customers who volunteered to pay extra to support wind energy. (Energy News Network)
- General Motors CEO Mary T. Barra announces plans for 20 new electric vehicle models in the U.S. by 2025: “We are all-in to establish leadership in electric vehicles.” (New York Times)
- A Senate committee advances a bipartisan pair of nominees for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, though it’s not clear if they’ll get a full Senate vote. (The Hill)
- Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Sam Randazzo was not at Wednesday’s commission meeting following an FBI search of his home earlier this week. (Columbus Dispatch)
- Energy developer Invenergy launches construction of a five-phase, 1,310 MW solar complex spread across three Texas counties, and big-name commercial customers already are signing up. (Greentech Media, Chicago Business Journal)
Michigan and National Energy Events
- Due to the number of events that have been canceled or postponed due to the pandemic, we are sharing some online webinars and tutorials on advanced energy topics that may be of interest.
- 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.
Indiana Michigan Power Company has issued two Request For Proposals (RFPs) to obtain up to 450 MW of solar or wind energy resources. Proposals are due Jan. 15, 2021.
The Green Task Force is requesting that non-profit and faith-based organizations fill out a brief survey to assess readiness for solar projects.
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.