Energy Efficiency for Low-Income Communities, New Electric School Bus Legislation 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:

A New Direction for Low-Income Energy Efficiency in SE Michigan

We have talked about the barriers to energy efficiency for low-income communities and some efforts to address those structural challenges. A new effort in DTE’s service territory could aid these efforts by providing valuable data that will be publicly available.

Groups including the attorney general, the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council reached a settlement agreement with DTE that includes increased funding for multi-family, income-qualified energy waste reduction programs, as well as a requirement that the utility conduct extensive studies to determine where households need the most help.

For example, under the settlement, DTE will conduct a “Low-Income Needs Assessment” that will “seek to quantify the historic coverage of existing low-income energy programs, identify gaps in coverage, characterize the eligible population, and consider prioritization scenarios for future program delivery.” Overall, the research is focused on determining which geographic areas should be prioritized and how to select households for different types of efficiency measures, such as HVAC upgrades and insulation.

“DTE Electric will publicly share its summary of the results of its research,” the settlement provides.

Bill Aimed at Electric School Buses Introduced

Legislation introduced into both chambers of the state legislature on Feb. 2 would expand opportunities for school districts to purchase electric school buses and infrastructure, including EV chargers, to allow them to use electric buses.

The two bills in question are House Bill 5721, introduced by Rep. Christine Morse (D-District 61) and Senate Bill 859, introduced by Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-District 13). School districts are allowed to maintain sinking funds, financed by taxes, and use those funds to pay for school building repairs or new computers. The bill would allow districts to use these sinking funds to buy electric buses or related infrastructure.

This legislation can position Michigan’s schools to better take advantage of an unprecedented level of funding for electric mobility. The Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act established, among other competitive grant opportunities, a $5 billion grant and rebate program for the replacement of existing school buses with clean and zero-emission buses, with 50% of the funds reserved for zero-emission buses and 50% for clean and zero-emission buses. 


What’s Next for Economic Development and Advanced Energy?

In last week’s State of the State Address, Gov. Whitmer emphasized the jobs and economic growth that will come from GM’s decision to invest $7 billion to expand its Michigan presence with more EV production. A key factor in that decision came from $666.1 million in incentives from the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) fund recently created by the state legislature.

That leaves about $333.9 million remaining in the SOAR fund, leading to the question: where will that money go, and will it also develop advanced energy industries?

Josh Hundt of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation recently told MLive that “ten projects are in the pipeline” for potential SOAR incentives, and that those projects “would create 22,000 jobs and bring $70 billion in investment to Michigan. While Hundt did not disclose further details about these projects, supporters of SOAR in Lansing want more tax incentives to combine with SOAR to encourage specific types of companies to invest in Michigan.

Specifically, sponsors of the SOAR legislation are proposing a bill that would create an R&D tax credit specifically for companies in “the advanced automotive, semiconductor and life sciences industries,” as reported by MiBiz. The bill, House Bill 5601, is sponsored by Rep. Matt Hall (R-District 63). 

“We started the process of putting Michigan in a place to compete across the country for major manufacturing projects” and he hopes HB 5601 “will be part of a second wave of legislation here that continues in that spirit of working together — putting politics aside — to put Michigan in the best place possible to land the jobs of tomorrow,” Hall said at a recent House Tax Policy Committee hearing

New Member

Rivenoak Consulting, Inc

Rivenoak Consulting, Inc. is a firm that services the areas of Policy Advocacy; Energy Advocacy; Expert Testimony & Research and Analysis.     

Renewing Members

Barton Malow

Barton Malow offers construction services in energy generation using a variety of different contracting methods to suite needs that include EPC, Construction Management, Self_Perform Services, and General Contracting. We specialize in Combined Heat and Power, Biomass, Utility Grade Solar, Wind, and Environmental Projects.

Form Energy

Form Energy is developing a new class of cost-effective, multi-day energy storage systems that will enable a reliable, secure, and fully-renewable electric grid year-round.

Hemlock Semiconductor (HSC)

Hemlock Semiconductor Operations (HSC) is a leading provider of ultra-pure polycrystalline silicon and other silicon-based products used in the manufacture of semiconductor devices, solar cells and modules. At HSC, we’re passionate about silicon-based technology and its unique potential to connect and energize the world we share. HSC’s polysilicon enables customers to produce high-tech electronics and solar energy, and our efficient manufacturing process delivers products with an ultra-low-carbon footprint. HSC began operations in 1961.


Invenergy is North America’s largest independent, privately held renewable energy provider. The Company develops, owns and operates large-scale renewable and other clean energy generation and storage facilities in North America, Latin America, Japan and Europe. Invenergy is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. In Michigan, Invenergy developed and constructed the 133-turbine Gratiot County Wind project and has several additional projects under advanced development.

ITC Holdings Corp.

ITC Holdings Corp., the nation’s largest independent electricity transmission company, has two operating subsidiaries in Michigan: ITC Transmission and METC (collectively, ITC Michigan). The systems comprise 8,700 circuit miles of transmission line serving the majority of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. ITC’s focus on transmission and grid development drives operational excellence and delivers superior value for customers, communities and other stakeholders.

Mackinaw Power

Mackinaw Power is developing new renewable energy projects to provide power for the Great Lakes at competitive prices. Mackinaw Power also uses its experience within the wind industry to work with a variety of companies in Michigan to increase the supply chain for renewable energy technologies in the Midwest. In 2003, Mackinaw Power acquired the assets of Bay Windpower, which developed the Great Lakes’ first privately developed wind power project. Mackinaw Power plans to be a catalyst for sustainable economic growth, environmental stewardship, and energy security. We are working to build sustainable communities to provide clean, affordable wind powerby harvesting the area’s wind resources. Mackinaw Power is investing in Michigan’s future generations. We look forward to working with you to create renewable power that protects our Great Lakes, public health, and farm land.

Pine Gate Renewables LLC

Pine Gate Renewables is a U.S.-based developer, owner and operator of utility-scale solar farms. Pine Gate owns and operates 250 MW around the country and has a development pipeline of 800+ MW. Based in Charlotte, NC with an office in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, Pine Gate Renewables’ mission of providing locally generated renewable solar power for communities nationwide is centered on utility-scale sites from 2 – 100+ MW. The company specializes in land origination, project development, project financing and asset management. Pine Gate Renewables is committed to the broad transformation of our nation’s energy model by making community-based solar an option for everyone.  

Ranger Power

Ranger Power is a solar energy development company. Led by an experienced team, the company is committed to working closely with landowners to bring new investment and clean energy to their communities.  


SustainabiliD is a woman-owned, service-disabled veteran operated, Detroit-based diverse small business working with gamechangers to equitably solve the climate crisis. 

Warner Norcross + Judd

The firm provides client-focused, proactive legal and business counsel to clients of all sizes – from startups to Fortune 500 companies to closely held businesses and high net worth individuals. With more than 230 attorneys working in 14 industry groups and 27 specialized practice areas, Warner can meet the legal needs of clients operating throughout North America and around the world.

Windemuller Electric, Inc.

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

  • Israeli startup Electreon will build a wireless EV charging system along a mile-long stretch of road near Ford’s new EV hub in Detroit. Partners in the project include Michigan EIBC member NextEnergy, the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Michigan Office of Future Mobility and Electrification and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
  • Climate change is hurting production of Michigan’s valuable fruit crops
  • Debate is heating up over proposals to block Michigan localities from banning natural gas hookups in new homes and businesses.
  • GM will buy electricity from renewable energy projects owned by Consumers Energy to power three plants.
  • The Natural Resources Defense Council weighs in on the draft MI Healthy Climate Plan.
  • The Michigan Climate Action Network says the state of Michigan should target 100% renewable electricity by 2030, rather than the current plan for 50% by that year.

National Energy News

  • The Biden administration is pushing the U.S. Postal Service to change course on a contract to spend billions on new trucks of which only 10% would be electric.
  • Washington, DC is implementing a new law that requires EV charging infrastructure in new and refurbished commercial and multi-unit buildings in the city.
  • The Great Lakes Impact Investment Platform, launched by an alliance of U.S. and Canadian officials, is trying to match lenders to energy projects like household energy efficiency retrofits, coal mine reclamation, and utility-scale solar development across the Great Lakes region.
  • There is a push to reform community solar regulations in California, where community solar has failed to take off despite the state’s otherwise-friendly climate to rooftop solar.
  • A lithium-ion battery project wins a contract for long-duration storage in California, showing the range of that battery technology.
  • Indiana Michigan Power submits an integrated resource plan to Indiana regulators that includes plans for over 2 gigawatts of renewable power and 60 megawatts of battery storage.


Job Board

Attention Michigan EIBC members: 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 Please include in the email a specific end date for the job posting.

Energy Sciences

Position: Energy Efficiency Programs Outreach Professional, Oak Brook, Illinois

“We are looking for an experienced and talented Outreach Professional to lead the technical sales outreach effort to promote and increase participation in our energy efficiency utilities programs midstream (instant discount) and downstream residential and commercial. As an outreach professional for energy efficiency programs with Energy Sciences, you will join our team of degreed energy efficiency professionals helping utility customers take advantage of incentives to reduce energy use in residential and commercial buildings and industrial processes and plants.”

Lean & Green Michigan 

Position: Associate Counsel, Detroit

Lean & Green Michigan is seeking a motivated and self-directed professional to join the team,
participating in all aspects of the administration of LAGM PACE districts in Michigan. The successful candidate may have experience with local governments, economic development, sales, real estate and/or environmental policy. Knowledge of renewable energy and energy efficiency, attention to detail, and enthusiasm for practicing law and helping deploy energy efficiency and renewable energy in Michigan are all preferred. The deadline for applications is Feb. 4. Send application materials to Lean & Green Michigan President and General Counsel Todd M. Williams at


Position: Technical Program Manager, Mobility, Detroit

“Support NextEnergy’s Mobility practice through the execution of programs designed to accelerate smart, clean, accessible solutions for communities and cities under the leadership of the Director, Technology Development. You’ll work with technology companies, business stakeholders, public agencies, and NextEnergy partners to launch and manage demonstrations of technologies that help demonstrate and commercialize next-generation mobility technologies and business models.”

Ranger Power

Position: Assistant Development Manager

Ranger Power is seeking an Assistant Development Manager to join its development team in its Chicago office.  As part of a small and dynamic development team, assistant development managers are expected to manage varying responsibilities as projects progress through the development process.  As a developer at Ranger Power, you will drive all aspects of project development and strategy, including site prospecting and land acquisition, site analysis, landowner relations, permitting, interconnection, business development, and community engagement and outreach.   


Position: Senior Associate, Market Development and Policy

SunPower is seeking a Senior Associate, Market Development and Policy, to advocate on SunPower’s behalf on state policy with various public service commissions, state legislatures, and state agencies to drive residential, commercial and community solar and energy storage adoption in the Midwest U.S., particularly in Illinois and Michigan. The successful candidate must be a self-starter, comfortable working remotely, and have experience navigating various regulatory dockets, reviewing public comments, and summarizing state legislation. Frequent travel within the Midwest region may be required at times.  Location is flexible, although presence in Illinois is preferred.

Utopian Power

Position: Construction Manager

Utopian Power is seeking a Construction Manager for our growing development company.  The Construction Manager will be focused on all field related project delivery, including hands-on electrical work, contractor supervision and project related travel as required. The ideal candidate has solar installation expertise and the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously. This position will have the ability to grow into a larger leadership position (if desired) with company and personal growth. Please send resume and interest to Job applications accepted until Feb. 4

Michigan and National Energy Events

 The 10th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators will be held April 26 at the Kellogg Conference Center at MSU in East Lansing. Information on speakers and registration will be announced soon.  


EGLE Energy Services is offering $250,000 in grants to small manufacturers in Michigan to implement energy efficiency activities that can be completed by Aug. 31, 2022, with a maximum grant for $25,000 per manufacturer. Application deadline is April 30.

American Electric Power (AEP) is issuing an RFP that “seeks up to 800 MW of Wind resources, 500 MW of Solar resources, and other qualified capacity resources from thermal, standalone storage, emerging technologies, and other capacity resources.” AEP subsidiary Indiana Michigan Power identified the need for supply-side generation in its RFP. The draft RFP will be released Jan. 28, and a pre-RFP stakeholder meeting will be held on Feb. 8Here is the registration link for that meeting.

Consumers Energy has released draft materials for its RFP to be issued in February that will solicit solar and wind generation projects in accordance with the company’s expansion of its Voluntary Green Pricing Program. A virtual pre-RFP stakeholder meeting is scheduled for Feb. 15. This RFP will be administered by Enel X, affiliated with Michigan EIBC member Enel Green Power. According to the RFP administrator, “questions pertaining to this RFP or the proposal submittal process can be sent via email to Enel X by way of In the event others within your organization did not receive this notice and are interested in being added to the RFP listserv, please send a request via email to with contact details for those to be added.”  The Community Collaboration on Climate Change (C4) is seeking a full-time contract position to provide coordination of C4 leadership, organizational representatives, Grand Rapids residents, and the program deliverables.

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: 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

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 to find out more information including how a building can apply.