- Newsletter (315)
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:
Gov. Whitmer’s New Economic Agenda Includes Policies for Advanced Energy Jobs
Early this week Governor Whitmer proposed an economic agenda based on $2.1 billion in federal stimulus. “The agenda includes several steps that will position Michigan’s economy for more growth and more jobs in the industries that are driving the transition toward advanced energy, like electric vehicles (EVs), energy storage, wind and solar energy and energy efficiency,” Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman was quoted as saying in a MiBiz article about the agenda.
The state has already developed a strong network of companies in these fields, as shown by Michigan EIBC’s membership, and the governor’s agenda would help Michigan’s competitive position to attract more of these jobs.
Specific elements of the agenda that are of interest to Michigan EIBC include:
-$40 million for an EV Friendliness program, which would speed up state charging infrastructure buildout and accelerate EV adoption and innovation.
-$50 million for a residential improvements program to help both renters and homeowners weatherize and rehab their homes to make them more efficient.
-$100 million on a new siting program that can be used to encourage more manufacturers in the supply chain for clean energy industries and vehicle electrification to locate facilities in Michigan.
These and other parts of the economic agenda will be funded through the American Rescue Plan, taking advantage of already-allocated federal funds.
Michigan EIBC and AEE Comment on How to Improve Reliability and Modernize the Grid
Following back-to-back summer storms that have left hundreds of thousands of Michiganders without power during a heat wave, there is significant concern about how Michigan’s investor-owned utilities can improve electric reliability in the face of increasingly severe weather events. The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) is requesting information from the utilities and stakeholders on how regulations and utility practices should change to adapt to this new reality. One of the biggest questions the MPSC is investigating is how to use performance-based regulation (PBR) to push utilities toward improved reliability. Stakeholders like the Citizens Utility Board of Michigan have called for a PBR regime in which utilities are subject to financial penalties if they do not perform well compared to reliability metrics, pointing to the devastating impact of frequent power outages as evidence that Michigan urgently needs such a solution.
Next week, Michigan EIBC and Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) plan to file comments on DTE’s distribution grid plan that, among several other points, argue for an overarching approach to PBR. These comments come as part of Michigan EIBC’s efforts to ensure that the utility’s distribution plans fully embrace 21st century grid modernization tools and are as open as possible to distributed energy, energy storage, demand response, energy efficiency, and data availability. In June Michigan EIBC and AEE filed similar comments on Consumers Energy’s distribution grid plan.
In the distribution grid plans, DTE and Consumers Energy proposed some approaches to PBR, in which a portion of the utility’s financial incentives would be linked to performance on reliability metrics. These incentives should ultimately benefit customers. For example, the MPSC has ordered the utilities to regularly report on the worst-performing circuits on their systems. Those reports could provide direction for where to make grid upgrades that would lead to lower power outages. Under a PBR regime, the utilities may then receive financial benefits for achieving greater reliability with these upgrades. But customers would be charged for the cost of these upgrades, so there needs to be safeguards and oversight in place to ensure that the benefits of greater reliability to the customers are bigger than the costs of both the upgrades themselves and the related financial incentives.
Michigan EIBC and AEE also encourage the utilities to widen the scope of the potential uses of non-wires alternatives (NWAs). As projects that use demand response, distributed energy and other tools to defer the need for physical grid upgrades become more common, utilities should find a balance between ensuring that projects are safe and ensuring that new projects are interconnected as quickly as possible. AEE and Michigan EIBC also continue to emphasize the need for DTE to make hosting capacity analyses available to the public to help developers and communities determine where to locate DERs and EV charging infrastructure.
RSVP for 9th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala in Detroit
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
Four Elements Energy Inc.
Four Elements Energy designs and installs solar ( electric, water heating, air heating) and wind renewable energy systems.
Inovateus Solar LLC
Inovateus Solar specializes in full-service Turnkey Engineering, Procurement, and Construction, with over 300 MW completed since we opened our doors in 2008. We focus on the Industrial and Commercial markets, as well as utility scale projects. We are family owned and operate primarily in the Midwest. Our Supply division provides all solar equipment needs.
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.
Michigan Energy News
- The stage is being set for a conflict between DTE and the city of Ann Arbor as the city continues to investigate forming its own public utility.
- Gov. Whitmer calls for DTE, Consumers Energy and Indiana Michigan Power to spend more money on tree trimming and grid hardening measures and says that this spending “be financed in a manner that does not add to the customers’ burden.”
- Michigan State University installs transparent solar glass panels on its Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building.
- Michigan EIBC member Bollinger Motors expands its planned lineup of EVs to include commercial trucks.
- The Citizens Utility Board of Michigan argues the state needs regulations that enforce more accountability for utilities following mass power outages.
- Consumers Energy agrees to purchase 30 MW from the under-construction Heathlands Solar project in Manistee County.
National Energy News
- Battery storage’s growth rate is poised to jump again, according to a U.S. Energy Information Administration report.
- Many of the details of the clean electricity program from the House budget resolution are still up for debate and to be determined.
- Supply shortages, insufficient funding and slow turnover could delay the federal government’s effort to switch its fleets to EVs.
- New York state interest groups are split over whether nonrenewable resources like carbon capture and green hydrogen should be eligible for the state’s Clean Energy Standard.
- Architects, contractors and construction companies could significantly reduce the “embodied carbon” in buildings at little extra cost through the use of low-carbon construction methods and materials, according to a report from RMI and global construction firm Skanska.
- Exelon will explore using nuclear energy to produce hydrogen with the installation of a hydrogen electrolyser at its Nine Mile Point nuclear plant.
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.
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.