- Newsletter (385)
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:
Direct Cash Payments for Renewable Projects Gain Ground
Among the many federal policies proposed this year to support the growth of advanced energy, one idea that is gaining traction is allowing renewable energy projects to claim direct cash payments in lieu of tax credits. As S&P Global Market Intelligence recently reported, more members of Congress are coalescing around the policy as a way to more efficiently grow the amount of clean energy.
A letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-MD, from dozens of lawmakers earlier this month said that “given continued and projected tax equity constraints, and to maximize utilization by the broadest range of stakeholders, it is important that a direct pay option be available where there are project financing challenges.”
Offering direct payments as an alternative to tax credits would have a number of benefits. For example, it can be difficult for tax-exempt power companies, like public power institutions, to use tax equity financing, as the article points out. Direct payments in lieu of tax credits could also help more projects get financing because it would provide another financing option and reduce the need for project developers to chase a limited amount of tax equity investors.
On a related note, at the state level, Michigan EIBC and several member companies have been talking with the State Tax Commission and a Large Scale Solar Workgroup about how to revise Michigan’s property tax structure for large solar projects.
MPSC Calls for More Energy Storage Pilots
The Michigan Public Service Commission’s (MPSC) new call for utility storage pilot programs is all about figuring out the best way for energy storage projects to provide a variety of services for the grid and capture the value of those services
“This is a step towards more action that can give us more specificity on what kind of storage we need to support clean energy,” Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman said in an interview with Utility Dive about the MPSC’s announcement.
Michigan utilities have done storage pilot programs in the past, but now pending regulatory changes from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the regional grid operator the Midcontinent Independent System Operator will likely soon expand energy storage’s role in electricity markets and ability to provide multiple services in wholesale, retail and ancillary markets, all at the same time.
The MPSC now wants to see Michigan utilities explore how to use storage in ways that have not really been done in this state before. For example, the MPSC mentioned that one strategy a pilot could explore is aggregation of multiple small energy storage resources so with their combined capacity, the projects can meet minimum capacity requirements to participate in MISO markets.
While these ideas show promise, it is also important that the state does not “run into doing pilots forever,” Sherman said in the interview. The energy storage roadmap that Michigan EIBC and the Institute for Energy Innovation are currently working on for the Michigan Department of Great Lakes and Energy will have many more ideas and proposals for how to increase the role of storage in the state.
Schedule Available for 9th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala
We are so excited about the 9th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on September 14, 2021 at The Eastern, Detroit, MI, featuring keynote speaker Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II! There will be an outdoor area for the event, and attendees can choose to remain outdoors without missing any of the Gala.
Tickets are available here. RSVP soon as we expect this event to sell out.
During the gala, we celebrate the individuals and businesses who have worked to grow Michigan’s advanced energy sector in 2021. Advanced energy business leaders and experts, legislators, state and local government officials, and other key decision-makers will be in attendance, and attendees will get to enjoy amazing food from Detroit area food trucks, good company and networking at this premiere outdoor/indoor event!
Sponsorship Opportunities Update:
We invite you to become a sponsor of Michigan EIBC’s premier annual Gala event. We will be hosting a VIP Cocktail Reception with Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II and other VIPs, for those sponsors at the Gigawatt + Megawatt sponsor level. Please let us know if you are interested in this exclusive opportunity! Sponsors will benefit from networking with advanced energy industry leaders and experts. For information on sponsorship opportunities and benefits contact Brianna Gerard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated Event Timeline:
5:00p – 6:15p | Cocktail hour + Networking (open bar + food trucks serving)
6:20p – 7:30p | Keynote Speaker + Awards Program
7:30p – 8:00p | Continued Networking + Dessert & Coffee/Tea Bar
8:00p | Event Concludes
Please note that the health and safety of our staff and guests is of utmost importance to us. Attendees of Gala are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the start of the event. The CDC defines fully vaccinated as two weeks after receiving a second shot of a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Additionally, as recommended by CDC guidance, Michigan EIBC strongly encourages that all attendees wear masks while indoors.
LT. GOVERNOR GARLIN GILCHRIST II
Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II has dedicated his career to solving problems. An engineer by training, he uses thoughtful innovation, progressive reform, and efficient modernization of policies and programs to make the work better for hardworking families. From spearheading campaigns for equality and justice to harnessing technology to solve real problems, his focus has consistently remained on serving the public and getting things done.
As part of the Whitmer Administration, Lt. Governor Gilchrist II has sought to address injustice and inequality across our state at every level, his approach to addressing disparities is deeply rooted in fact-based practices, science, and connecting with individuals across Michigan.
The Watt Level
ecobee Inc. was founded in 2007 by Stuart Lombard with a mission to improve everyday life while creating a more sustainable world. Since launching the world’s first smart thermostat, ecobee has helped customers across North America save more than 17.6 TWh of energy, which is the equivalent of taking all the homes in Las Vegas off the grid for a year. Today, ecobee continues to be an independently held company that innovates with smart home solutions that solve everyday problems with comfort, security, and conservation in mind. With ecobee’s award-winning products, including the SmartThermostat with voice control, Haven smart monitoring solution, and SmartCamera with voice control, ecobee continues to encourage SmartOwners to imagine what home could be.
Michigan CAT Power Systems is Michigan’s premier provider of turnkey Combined Heat & Power (CHP or Cogen) systems. We have the expertise to optimize a CHP system for your facility and the boots on the ground to make sure you get the most out of your investment. Plus, as your Caterpillar dealer, only we can offer best in class CAT power generation equipment that is built in the USA.
Michigan CAT is also recognized as a leader in providing landfill solutions. Decades of leadership in converting landfill gas to viable energy mean millions of “green” kilowatts provided. Our CHP; Landfill customers include operations across the nation-with hundreds of generators operating in diverse applications.
Samsung Renewable Energy is a renewable energy development arm in Samsung Group, and has developed and completed 1.7GW solar and wind PPA projects in US and Canada.
White Pine Renewables
White Pine is a full-service solar developer that finances, builds, owns and operates solar projects and provides solar consulting services.White Pine serves public entities, businesses and landowners. Our clients want to positively impact their financial position while participating in the solar evolution.
Windemuller provides advanced technical and design services throughout Michigan and beyond. The company was established in 1954 as an electrical contractor and has since expanded into automation, communications and IT, electrical services, outdoor utilities, and renewable energy. Within those categories, we have worked on projects relating to Healthcare, Data Centers, Oil and Gas, Pharmaceuticals, Industrial Manufacturing, Life Sciences, Agricultural, and Public Works.
From sophisticated security systems for the government, to controls and automated processes for environmental cleanups or responding to emergencies on an industrial site, Windemuller is responsive and innovative. We offer a 24 hour service department that’s available 365 days a year.
With Branch offices located in Southern, Mid and Northern Michigan, Windemuller also has satellite offices in Big Rapids, Kalamazoo, Petoskey and Whitehall. Visit our Locations web page for more information.
At its heart, Windemuller is about our people and the people we serve. We are more than 200 individuals strong and serve thousands of customers of all sizes within industrial, government, municipal, and commercial entities.
Michigan Energy News
- Michigan Radio’s Stateside talks to MPSC Chairman Dan Scripps and Michigan Environmental Council Program Director Charlotte Jameson about grid reliability in Michigan and how it is related to climate change.
- Michigan is 15th-highest among the 50 states in terms of annual wind energy generation.
- Recent power outages across Michigan show the need for performance-based regulation, according to the Citizens Utility Board of Michigan.
- Ford’s Van Dyke Transmission Plant in Sterling Heights has reinvented itself as a producer of components for EVs.
- Michigan AG Dana Nessel calls upon DTE and Consumers Energy to automatically issue bill credits to customers affected by prolonged outages.
- A wedding in Farmington Hills is able to get the party back on following an outage with the help of the battery from a Ford F-150 hybrid.
National Energy News
- “A robust suite of distributed resources” can be both as reliable as and cheaper than fossil fuel-burning generation, implying that New York state need not keep certain plants online, according to the Northeast regional director for Vote Solar.
- The U.S. Department of Energy is giving zero-emissions vehicle company Nikola a grant to study quickly refueling heavy-duty fuel-cell-electric trucks with hydrogen.
- Xcel Energy is considering using small modular nuclear reactors from NuScale Power to keep nuclear in its capacity mix in the future.
- Research suggests that solar projects have little to no impact on values of nearby properties.
- Connecticut regulators finalize rules governing an expansion of battery storage and EVs as part of the state’s grid modernization plan.
- Vistra adds a 100 MW/400 MWh expansion to its battery storage facility at Moss Landing in California.
We are debuting a new section of the newsletter for Michigan EIBC members to post job openings in advanced energy fields. If you have a job announcement you would like in the newsletter, please send a paragraph describing the position and a link to apply to Matt Bandyk at email@example.com. Please include in the email a specific end date for the job posting.
Energy Sciences LLC
“As an energy engineer with Energy Sciences, you will join our team of degreed and licensed
engineers, scientists, and energy efficiency professionals to meet the energy use challenges of commercial and industrial facilities. We are looking for experienced and talented technical
team members to assist our clients, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, in
identifying energy-savings opportunities, reducing waste, and saving money. You will play a key entrepreneurial role on a team in an exciting, start-up environment that is dedicated to driving our vision of a sustainable and socially responsible energy future.”
Inovateus Solar is hiring for several positions in South Bend. Check out the company’s LinkedIn page for more information.
Powerley’s Director of Product Solutions acts as the organization’s leader over a variety of strategic functions within the organization, including its utility product strategy, market research and product success in the field. The individual will act as a catalyst for collaboration within the organization between key disciplines, ensuring alignment on strategy, while relying on deep-dive investigation and data analysis to derive key insights that will spur innovation and path forward for the company.
NOVI Energy is growing, and they need your help. This month, they announced a joint venture with Osaka Gas USA to develop over 1000 MW of solar power generation facilities, enough solar and storage to power more than 150,000 homes with clean, affordable energy while creating good-paying jobs. This is one of several exciting projects NOVI Energy is developing! Learn more about their company and available Project Engineer positions. See open positions here.
Michigan and National Energy Events
Michigan EIBC’s 9th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala will be held in Detroit on Sept. 14. Buy tickets here.
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.
State of Michigan DNR is going big in solar with projects in the ground, others in development and additional ones being planned. DNR has released a Request for Proposal for Prequalification Program for Renewable Energy PPAs: www.michigan.gov/sigmavss. Use “Guess Access” to get the RFP. A previous round of pre-qualifications netted solar companies that then were able to bid on a portfolio of DNR solar projects in Southwest Michigan. Another portfolio in the Northern Region is in the works for later this year. Only companies who pre-qualify can bid on future DNR solar projects. Please direct all correspondence to the Solicitation Manager, Laura Gyorkos at gyorkosL@michigan.gov
Consumers Energy Company is planning to seek competitive bids in response to a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) from participants in the MISO Energy Market in accordance with the Company’s Proposed Course of Action in its Integrated Resource Plan. Enel X North America, Inc. will administer the solicitation and anticipates formally releasing the upcoming RFP and associated documents late September 2021. Questions pertaining to this RFP or the proposal submittal process can be sent via email to Enel X by way of CECIA.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.