- Newsletter (315)
Governor Gretchen Whitmer to Keynote Michigan Energy Innovators Gala
Michigan EIBC is thrilled to announce that Governor Gretchen Whitmer will be the keynote speaker at the 7th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on Thursday, November 14 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. We’re excited to have her join us to celebrate the accomplishments of the advanced energy industry and the new opportunities that her leadership is creating.
Since taking office on January 1, Governor Whitmer has already demonstrated her commitment to Michigan’s advanced energy economy. She has directed state government to ‘lead by example’ through an executive order to build renewable energy generation at select state facilities. To help enable more solar projects across Michigan, the Governor struck the right balance by allowing solar on farmland while protecting Michigan agriculture. The Governor named advanced energy industry leaders to key leadership positions in the new Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, including former Michigan EIBC President Liesl Eichler Clark and former Michigan EIBC member Dr. Brandy Brown. The Governor also appointed former Michigan EIBC President Dan Scripps and Tremaine Phillips to the Michigan Public Service Commission, new members who have deep experience and knowledge of the advanced energy industry.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer is a lifelong Michigander. She is a lawyer, an educator, former prosecutor, State Representative and Senator. She was the first woman to lead a Senate caucus. But the most important title she boasts is MOM. Inspired by her family, she’s devoted her life to building a stronger Michigan for everyone.
Governor Whitmer was elected to the House of Representatives in 2000 and elected to the Michigan State Senate in 2006 where she served as the Senate Democratic Leader. In the 2018 gubernatorial election, Governor Whitmer won all 83 counties in the primary and won the general election with 53 percent of the vote. Since taking her oath of office, she has put together the most diverse cabinet in our state’s history and has signed executive directives to clean up our drinking water, end discrimination in state government based on sexual orientation and gender identity, secure equal pay for equal work, and expand opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses.
Governor Whitmer and her husband Marc Mallory live in Lansing with her two daughters, Sherry and Sydney. Her three stepsons, Alex, Mason, and Winston all live in Michigan as well. Governor Whitmer earned a bachelor’s degree and law degree from Michigan State University. Born and raised in Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer is honored to serve as Governor of Michigan.
During the gala, we celebrate individuals and businesses who have worked to grow Michigan’s advanced energy sector in 2019. Advanced energy business leaders, legislators, Michigan Public Service Commission staff, state government officials, and other key decision-makers will be in attendance, and 90 minutes has been set aside for networking before the program begins.
RSVP early, as this event will sell out!
Awards will be presented in these categories:
- Project of the Year
- Business of the Year
- Emerging Business of the Year
- Public Official of the Year
Sponsorship opportunities are available for the event and can be found on the Michigan EIBC website.
MPSC Approves Consumers Energy Settlement for Proposed Solar Projects
On Sept. 11, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approved an ex parte settlement on PURPA issues between Consumers Energy, the Solar Energy Industries Association and several Michigan EIBC members.
As a result, developers of projects in the interconnection queue that could qualify for PURPA contracts but are not already parties to the settlement have 30 days from Sept. 11 to contact Consumers to participate.
The settlement was proposed in August. Under the terms, Consumers Energy agreed to “use commercially reasonable efforts to interconnect” 150 MW of solar capacity each year from 2020 to 2023 and contract with those projects under PURPA.
Tremaine Phillips Has First Week As MPSC Commissioner
Tremaine Phillips, Gov. Whitmer’s second appointment to the MPSC, this week completed several of his first tasks as a new commissioner. On Sept. 12, he sat before the Michigan Senate Advice and Consent Committee for his required hearing. In response to questions from state senators, Phillips explained that one of his goals as commissioner is to make sure he spends time outside of Lansing meeting with stakeholders across the state. “I learn best from speaking with individual customers and businesses, and being face-to-face with the utilities and workers that work to ensure a robust energy supply in Michigan,” he said.
The previous day, Phillips signed his first set of orders as a commissioner, including the order concerning the Consumers Energy PURPA settlement discussed above. Former Michigan EIBC President and Commissioner Dan Scripps publicly welcomed Phillips as well.
Commissioner Phillips has long been engaged in advanced energy issues, most recently as director of the Cincinnati 2030 District, an effort to increase the efficiency of that city’s building stock. Michigan EIBC looks forward to working with the new commissioner.
9th EV Convening: Register Now and Explore Questions Around EV Availability
EV use continues to grow across the transportation sector. A recent notable achievement came Sept. 12 when the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) unveiled funding for the fully electric school buses that will serve 17 school districts around the state, replacing diesel buses. The new buses are financed through the nationwide settlement between Volkswagen and the federal government, and are allocated through EGLE’s Fuel Transformation Program.
At the same time as this progress electrifying the public school bus fleet, there are also challenges for EVs with the infrastructure needed to keep adoption growing. The majority of direct current fast-charging stations lose money, according to research from the Great Plains Institute.
Michigan EIBC’s 9th EV Convening, co-hosted by Clean Fuels Michigan and sponsored by EGLE’s Office of Climate and Energy, will include discussions on DC fast-charging stations in Michigan and trends in EV availability. Confirmed speakers include representatives from Consumers Energy, EGLE, and Michigan EIBC member ChargePoint. Register here for the event, which will be held Tuesday, September 17, from 11:45 am to 2:30 pm in downtown Lansing.
MPSC Releases Final Statewide Energy Assessment
The MPSC on Sept. 11 released the final version of its Statewide Energy Assessment, compiling analysis of vulnerabilities in Michigan’s energy supply and recommendations on how to improve reliability and resiliency.
Compared to the initial assessment released in July, this version includes more of a focus on how distributed energy resources can provide resiliency and a recommendation that non-wires alternatives like energy waste reduction should be considered in utility distribution improvement plans.
A statement from the MPSC outlines the report and its immediate recommendations, which include ordering natural gas utilities to show how they can serve customers at peak times in colder-than-normal winters and ordering MPSC to evaluate making system resilience part of utility long-term planning.
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Michigan Energy News
- Plymouth, Mich.-based EV startup Rivian receives a $300 million equity investment from Cox Automotive. Ford and Amazon have previously purchased stakes in Rivian.
- The recently-announced contract between Consumers Energy Co. and Michigan EIBC member Ranger Power’s River Fork solar facility is unprecedented for the region as a long-term power purchase agreement for a massive solar project.
- The Ann Arbor City Council approves a contract with Michigan EIBC member Harvest Solar to install solar panels on a fire station roof.
- PV Magazine points to Michigan and criticisms of DTE’s integrated resource plan as an example for other states of the importance of transparent utility modeling for solar.
- The debate over Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline is going down to the local level as Michigan counties consider resolutions to support the pipeline.
- The Michigan Public Service Commission is holding a public forum on Indiana Michigan Power Co.’s proposed integrated resource plan in Benton Harbor on Oct. 7.
National Energy News
- Minnesota’s Xcel Energy claims the value of solar it pays to community solar projects will increase to an “unreasonable” level of about 25 cents per kWh for projects coming online in 2020 and wants regulators to change the formula that determines the rate.
- FirstEnergy Solutions is petitioning the Ohio Supreme Court to block a proposed referendum regarding the controversial HB 6 law that affects the state’s energy efficiency standards.
- Rooftop solar advocates are protesting a proposal in Louisiana to change the state’s net metering rules.
- Cities must prepare for increased vehicle electrification to avoid strains on their electric grids, according to a new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute and Seattle City Light.
- NPR investigates the issue of waste left by decommissioned wind turbine blades.
- The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power approves a contract to buy power from a solar plus storage project that will provide 6% to 7% of the city’s annual electricity needs.
- Proposed legislation in the U.S. Senate would create a streamlined process for localities to permit distributed energy resources.
Michigan Energy Events
The Michigan chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy is holding its 2nd Annual Energy Ball in Detroit on Sept. 14. Register here.
Michigan EIBC’s 9th EV Convening is on Sept. 17 at the Michigan Municipal League in Lansing. RSVP here.
Anyone interested in energy and environmental law (lawyers and non-lawyers alike) is invited to attend the State Bar of Michigan Environmental Law Section Annual Program and Meeting on Sept. 18 at the Lansing Brewing Company at 1:00 pm. Speakers include Michigan Public Service Commission Commissioner Dan Scripps and state Sen. Winnie Brinks. RSVP to email@example.com for this free event.
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.
The GreenHome Institute’s Reaching for Net Zero Commercial Buildings in Michigan conference is in Detroit on Sept. 18. Tickets are 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.
Michigan EIBC invites you to our Properly Valuing Solar Through Rate Design networking meeting in Ann Arbor on Oct. 7, featuring Tom Stanton, Principal Researcher, Energy and Environment, at the National Regulatory Research Institute. Tickets available here.
The University of Michigan Energy Institute’s 2019 Conference on Transportation, Economics, Energy and the Environment will be held on Oct. 18 and is now open for registration.
National Energy Events
Register for North America Smart Energy Week from Sept. 23 to Sept. 26 in Salt Lake City, co-hosted by the Smart Electric Power Alliance and the Solar Energy Industries Association.
National Clean Energy Week is Sept. 23 to Sept. 27, and involves a number of events in Washington, DC.
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.
On Oct. 2 in London, UK, Greentech Media’s Off-Grid Energy Access Forum is featuring speakers including Valérie Levkov, VP for Africa, Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean at EDF, parent company of Michigan EIBC member EDF Renewables, on the topic of solar systems and mini-grids in the developing world. Click here to register.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The U.S. Commercial Service is also offering free consultancies for Michigan EIBC members interested in these business sectors in Mexico.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service is seeking applications for its Rural Energy for America Program, which makes loan guarantees and grants available for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency, energy audits and more. The deadlines to apply for renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grants are Oct. 31, 2019, and March 31, 2020, while applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round. Find out more here.
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.