Energy Storage Interconnections Keep Growing Faster, Upcoming Michigan EIBC EV Convening and Gala

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 Strong Residential Market Drives Energy Storage Interconnections in 2018

Over 760 MWh of energy storage were interconnected in 2018, up 44.9% from 2017, with residential energy storage showing particularly strong growth at 500.1%, according to the Smart Electric Power Alliance’s 2019 Utility Energy Storage Market Snapshot.

Released in August, the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) report surveys utilities and other sources to determine the amount of energy storage interconnected to the U.S. grid in 2018.

Policies in states like California, Hawaii and Vermont drove the growth in residential storage by incentivizing customers to install behind-the-meter battery systems, the report said. There were also new programs in other parts of the country, including the Midwest. Dairyland Power in Wisconsin, for example, last year announced a behind-the-meter, customer-sited battery storage pilot program.

Of the 760.3 MWh interconnected last year, residential storage was 175.5 MWh, non-residential storage was 189.9 MWh and utility-supply was 394.9 MWh. Non-residential and utility-supply grew by 34.9% and 11.3%, respectively.

Out of 211 utilities surveyed by SEPA, 94 had at least one energy storage installation in their service territory by the end of 2018. Notably, of those 94, 24.5% reported deploying their first-ever storage project that year, up from 22% in 2017.

Energy Vault: Energy Storage At Great Heights

Last week an energy storage startup called Energy Vault received $110 million in capital investment from SoftBank Vision Fund. But Energy Vault’s technology is very different from the battery-based storage technologies that are being installed more frequently across the country. The startup’s technology – a nearly 500-foot tower of concrete bricks, utilizing the force of gravity to release kinetic energy – can “produce dispatchable and baseload power at a price that is competitive with carbon-based sources,” according to Energy Vault.

It is important to note that the technology is not yet proven in the commercial field and the only initial project is a “quarter-scale demonstration installation” in Switzerland. So it is difficult to evaluate Energy Vault’s idea against existing storage solutions. But the startup claims that their tower, when combined with wind energy and solar PV, will achieve a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) below 6 cents per kWh (For comparison, Lazard’s most recent LCOE estimates put utility-scale solar PV plus lithium-ion battery storage at somewhere between 10.8 and 14 cents per kWh).

As explained in a Youtube video, a six-arm support crane, powered by electricity, sits at the top of the tower of 35-ton bricks–each brick consisting of a steel baseplate with concrete and a recycled rock and concrete mixture. As the arms lift bricks into the sky, the elevation serves as a store of energy. To release energy, the crane simply allows the brick to fall back to its base and kinetic energy is produced as a result.

Energy Vault says the technology can achieve its competitive costs through low operating costs and a modular and scalable design. Several towers can be run from one control center, allowing the individual plants to be unmanned. A plant can be scaled from 20 MWh to 35 MWh to 80 MWh storage capacity depending on how many bricks are added to the tower.

As an energy storage solution, Energy Vault says its plant will have 90% round-trip efficiency. The investment from SoftBank will be used to build more demonstration projects to put these claims to the test.

Michigan EIBC to Partner with Clean Fuels Michigan on Upcoming EV Convening

The Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC) and Clean Fuels Michigan invite you to attend the 9th EV Convening of the series on Tuesday, September 17 from 11:45 am to 2:30 pm in downtown Lansing. The topic is Vehicle Electrification in the Transition to Advanced Mobility: Private Sector Solutions.
Building from previous convenings, this ninth installation will focus on private sector challenges and solutions to driving vehicle electrification. Expected topics will include the future of gas stations and car dealerships, automotive manufacturing, and private sector fleet decisions. Register for the convening here.

Save The Date for the Michigan Energy Innovators Gala November 14

Michigan EIBC’s 7th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala will take place on Thursday, November 14 from 5:00 to 9:00 pm at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. During the gala, we celebrate businesses and individuals who are working to grow Michigan’s advanced energy sector. Advanced energy business leaders, state officials, MPSC staff, and legislators will be in attendance. Awards will be handed out at the event, and only Michigan EIBC members are able to nominate and vote for award winners. Sponsorship opportunities are available and can be found on our websiteRegistration is also open should you wish to purchase individual tickets.

Renewing Members


Powerhome is an American company, headquartered in Mooresville, North Carolina that specializes in solar energy and roofing services. We were founded in 2006 as Rescomm and in 2014 made the decision to rebrand ourselves as Powerhome Solar & Roofing. This change reflected our vision and the direction we wanted to take the company. That direction has helped us grow our company to consist of over 100 passionate employees and still counting. We have also grown outside of North Carolina and currently operate in South Carolina as well as Michigan. In 2015 and 2016, Solar Power World magazine listed Powerhome as the No. 7 overall solar installation company in the U.S. We are also very excited that in 2016; We installed more solar energy systems than any other company in North and South Carolina. Our strong growth is consistent with our vision to innovate both in how we operate our company and the level of service we offer our customers. This means that we are one of the few companies that do “everything.” Among our primary services, the company designs, permits, finances, sells, installs, maintains and monitors solar energy systems and panels for residential, commercial, utility, and government applications. We also sell, design, and install full roof applications for commercial and residential clients.

Michigan Energy News

  • The Detroit Zoo says it will use DTE Energy’s MIGreenPower program to buy wind energy equivalent to 100% of its electricity use.
  • Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe promotes the utility’s Clean Energy Plan in a guest editorial.
  • Upper Peninsula Power Co. strikes an agreement to buy energy from a 125-MW solar energy facility in the Upper Peninsula developed by Chandler Solar Project LLC, a joint venture between Michigan EIBC member Orion Renewable Energy Group and MAP Energy.
  • The Michigan Public Service Commission finds that the state’s electricity providers have adequate supplies for the 2022-2023 planning year.
  • Battery cost trends point to EVs becoming as affordable as conventional vehicles in the next five to 10 years, writes Charles Griffith of the Ecology Center in the Detroit News.
  • Major automakers are showing signs of dividing into camps: one, including Ford, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota, continue to pursue hybrid electric vehicles, while the other, including GM and Volkswagen, are dropping hybrids and focusing purely on fully electric vehicles.
  • DTE gas customers will pay less while DTE electric customers will pay more as the result of a settlement agreement approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

National Energy News

  • A review of integrated resource plans filed by utilities around the country reveal several trends shaping the future of the U.S. electricity system.
  • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers creates a new state agency with the goal of achieving carbon-free energy by 2050.
  • Minnesota is an example of a positive policy framework for EVs, as explained in an interview with Bonnie Datta, Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs and Market Development, Americas and Southeast Asia at Michigan EIBC member Siemens.
  • Overall range, price compared to a conventional vehicle and lack of local charging infrastructure are the three biggest reasons why people would not buy an EV, according to a recent survey.
  • Utility Dive takes a deep dive into what models for electricity pricing could prevail over the next couple decades.
  • Colorado signs on to zero emission vehicle mandates, joining California and nine other states.

Michigan Energy Events

Advanced transportation advocacy group Forth is holding a networking reception at the Michigan Beer Company at 5:00 pm on Sept. 10 following the Electric & Hybrid Technology Expo in Novi. RSVP here.

Michigan EIBC’s 9th EV Convening is on Sept. 17 at the Michigan Municipal League in Lansing.

Michigan Energy Options is holding a Summer Solar Webinar Series. On Sept. 19, Marta Tomic of Vote Solar will discuss community solar projects.

The Battery Show’s North America 2019 conference on Sept. 12 to 19 in Novi will feature exhibitors and speakers covering all stages of the advanced battery supply chain. Learn more here.

For those interested in all sustainability issues, tickets are now available for the Rise Up & Drawdown Michigan conference at DeVos Conference Center in Grand Rapids on Sept. 25. Also see the exhibitor opportunity listed below.

National Energy Events

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s U.S. Commercial Service is holding Discover Global Markets: Powering & Building the Middle East & Africa in Houston, Texas from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. This event is for companies who want to learn how to enter the renewable energy, electricity infrastructure, construction, engineering, transportation and oil & gas sectors in the Middle East & Africa. There is also the opportunity to pre-schedule meetings at the event with U.S. commercial diplomats. Learn more here.

Register here for Advanced Energy Now | West, Advanced Energy Economy’s regional energy policy conference, to be held Oct. 16 to 17 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Greentech Media’s Power & Renewables Summit is in Austin, Tex., on Oct. 29 to 30. Topics include clean energy mandates, post-subsidy scenarios, East Coast offshore wind, distributed energy resource participation in wholesale markets and more. Go here to register.

Energy Storage North America’s 2019 Conference & Expo is in San Diego from Nov. 5 to 7.

The U.S. Commercial Service has also organized the Clean Energy and Zero Emission Vehicle Technologies Trade Mission to Mexico from November 18 to 23. This one-week trip for U.S. companies involves one-on-one meetings, conferences, roundtables, a networking reception and OEM and tier 1 plant visits with the automotive and clean energy industry in Mexico. Contact U.S. Commercial Service Mexico Energy Industry Specialist Claudia Salgado at The U.S. Commercial Service is also offering free consultancies for Michigan EIBC members interested in these business sectors in Mexico.


As part of Gov. Whitmer’s new initiative for greater use of renewable energy and efficiency in state government, the Department of Technology, Management and Budget has released a request for proposals for an Audit, Design and Construction Consultant for the implementation of an energy savings project at the Michigan Department of Corrections at its complex in St. Louis, Mich. Those who want to be considered must submit a questionnaire by 2:00 pm on Aug. 29. Go here to learn more.

The Michigan Energy Office’s Small Manufacturers Energy Waste Reduction Incentive Pilot is offering rebates of up to $15,000 per company for small manufacturers that can implement energy efficiency activities between Oct. 1, 2019 and July 31, 2020. There is a 100% minimum match requirement. Click here to learn more about eligibility and apply.

Click here to learn more about reserving an exhibitor table at the Rise Up & Drawdown Michigan conference in Grand Rapids on Sept. 25.