Farewell to Amy Butler, DOE Transmission Initiative, 2022 Schedule of Events 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:

Farewell to Sustainability and Clean Energy Champion Amy Butler Kennaugh

All of us at Michigan EIBC are very sad to learn this week of the passing of Amy Butler Kennaugh, the first sustainability director at Michigan State University and an important member of the Michigan EIBC community.

Amy passed away Jan. 8 in Eaton Rapids, surrounded by her loving family.

“Since her arrival… in 2018 as MSU’s first sustainability director, Amy met with hundreds of students, faculty and staff to develop relationships and break down silos to transform how Spartans think and act in developing sustainable practices.” Melissa Woo, executive vice president for administration and chief information officer at Michigan State University, wrote about Amy.

Before MSU, Amy worked as the executive director of the OU INC and Clean Energy Research Center at Oakland University. In that role, she was inducted into Michigan EIBC’s Energy Innovators Hall of Fame at our Michigan Energy Innovators Gala in 2015. Amy also previously served as director of the Bureau of Energy Services in the Department of Labor and Economic Growth and chief of the Environmental Science and Services Division in the Department of Environmental Quality.

Amy’s passion for sustainability, the environment, and Michigan’s future were palpable to all who worked with her. She will be sorely missed from the Michigan EIBC community.

You can leave condolences for her family at www.millsfuneral.com.

DOE Asking for Stakeholder Help on Initiative for National Transmission Network

The U.S. Department of Energy has officially launched its “Building a Better Grid” initiative aimed at catalyzing a national network of high-capacity transmission lines to make more renewable energy development possible, and it wants feedback on how to pursue this enormous project. 

notice issued by the DOE this week unveils the first steps of the initiative, including engaging with governmental entities, regional transmission organizations, regulators, utilities and other stakeholders on identifying where to build new transmission lines and leveraging existing venues that drive transmission development. Toward that end the agency is conducting a Transmission Needs Study and establishing a $2.5 billion revolving fund to make loans for and otherwise facilitate such projects. The procedures for how that fund will work are still in the works.

The agency encourages interested parties to contact the DOE Office of Electricity with feedback and questions by going to https://www.energy.gov/oe/office-electricity or emailing ElectricityDelivery@hq.doe.gov.

Preview of Michigan EIBC Events in 2022

Our schedule of events for 2022 is coming into focus, including public convenings focused on a variety of topics, Legislator Energy 101 sessions for Michigan EIBC members and state legislators and staff, networking events for Michigan EIBC members and our Annual Conference and Gala. Stay tuned for more details and we look forward to seeing many of you in 2022!


7 – Legislator Energy 101

14 – Energy Storage Public Convening


26 – 10th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Conference Kellogg Center, MSU, East Lansing, MI

27 – Michigan EIBC Member Lobby Day


18 – Legislator Energy 101

23 – EV Public Convening


23 – Energy Storage Roadmap Public Convening

Later in the year

August 4 – Michigan EIBC Member Networking Event

September 28 – 10th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala, the Eastern, Detroit, MI

October 24 – Built Environment Public Convening  

Walker-Miller’s Brown Appointed to Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board

Earlier this month Gov. Whitmer appointed Dr. Brandy Brown, chief innovation officer for Michigan EIBC member Walker-Miller Energy Services, to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board for a term running from January 2022 to October 2025.

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board finances projects that protect natural resources and outdoor recreation sites, such as trails, public access to lakes and rivers and wildlife habitat.

Dr. Brown joined Walker-Miller after serving as climate and energy advisor for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (Michigan EGLE), where she was recently succeeded by former Michigan EIBC VP Cory Connolly.

The appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.

Congratulations Brandy!  


Michigan Energy News

  • With the right federal policies, Michigan can keep growing as a hub for EV innovation, Environment Michigan’s Eve Lukens-Day writes in the Lansing State Journal.
  • The University of Michigan announces $5 million in efficiency measures across its three campuses including LED lighting projects and HVAC improvements.
  • Novi-based startup Our Next Energy (ONE) says its experimental battery has twice the range of a Tesla EV battery.
  • The project to build a tunnel between Detroit and Windsor is using DTE’s MIGreenPower program to attribute 10% of its energy use to renewables, with plans to increase to 100% by 2030.
  • Spending $5 billion to make local infrastructure like dams and sewers more resilient against climate change impacts is the “financially smart” move, state Rep. Abraham Aiyash writes.
  • A bill introduced to the Senate Agriculture Committee would give a tax incentive for gasoline with higher amounts of blended biofuels

National Energy News

  • The departures of major environmental policy advisors to President Biden is raising questions about the future of the administration’s energy and environmental efforts.
  • Long-duration compressed air storage developer Hydrostor gets a $250 million private equity investment from Goldman Sachs.
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has denied a license application from small, advanced nuclear reactor developer Oklo, citing “significant information gaps.”
  • A proposed $2.5 billion transmission line that would deliver 2,100 MW of wind power from the Midwest to the PJM Interconnection region by running underground along railroad rights of way is facing obstacles from “outdated’ PJM regulations, developer Direct Connect Development Co. says.
  • Many West Virginians are excited about the prospect of bringing in advanced energy jobs after electric bus maker GreenPower Motor Co. announces plans for a manufacturing facility in that state.
  • A startup has designed hardware and software that uses game theory to manage distributed energy resources on microgrids.


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 matt@mieibc.org. 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.”


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.”  

NOVI Energy

Position: Project Engineer, Novi, MI

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.

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. 

New Member

Ebee Management Company
 Who We Are: Since the inception of PACE in 2009, Ebee and it’s executive team have played a key leadership role in building the C-PACE industry. Ebee is the nation’s leader in C-PACE consulting services, recognized nationally for operational efficiency and a streamlined transaction process. The firm is committed to helping implement C-PACE programs across the U.S., structuring and brokering financing for more than 75 C-PACE transactions in 5 states. Ebee is your financing source for energy and water efficient retrofits, redevelopments, and new construction of commercial property.
What We Do: Ebee facilitates C-PACE funded projects by acting as a financial intermediary for commercial and industrial developers. The firm custom designs project packages by performing energy model and audits, financial analysis and structuring, and then funds the transactions through trusted public and private investor relationships. We offer our clients the most cost effective and appropriate fix, never compromising integrity and quality, to deliver a state-of-the-art energy savings solution. Our proprietary process and unique energy financing program offers clients the opportunity to afford a complete energy savings project and achieve positive cash flow from their facility upgrades.  

Michigan and National Energy Events

 On Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) will host its second Annual Summit: To 5 Million and Beyond: Community Solar’s Pathway to Success. Register now for the annual summit.


Michigan EIBC member Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University is now accepting applications for its C3 Accelerator. Apply here by Jan. 10, 2022. C3 is a growth stage Accelerator with up to $1.6M in funding in the form of grants, investments, and services to support the product development and scaling of Cleantech, Climatech, and Circular Economy technologies.

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. An RFP Development Meeting will be held on Jan. 18Here is the registration link. 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.

The Federal Highway Administration is seeking comments on the implementation of its EV Charging Program. Find more information here. Comments are due Jan. 28, 2022.

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: 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.

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.