Governor’s Office Focuses on Solar and PA 116; 7th EV Convening: Member Breakfast

Governor’s Office Focuses on Solar and PA 116

Across Michigan, rural communities are becoming home to more and more solar energy development and that growth is offering new opportunities for Michigan farmers. Some of the most commonly cited benefits of solar developments on farmland — though this list certainly isn’t exhaustive — include economic stability for farmers, tax revenue for local communities, improved soil health, and increased diversity and abundance of pollinators. And the benefits don’t just stop at the edge of a farmer’s property. A study by the Argonne National Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that the creation of pollinator habitats at solar facilities can benefit nearby pollinator-dependent agriculture across. Perhaps the most important benefit of solar development on farmland is the diversification of revenue for the farmer, which can help a farmer maintain ownership of the land.

Recognizing the importance of facilitating solar development in a way that continues to support local farmers, Governor Whitmer’s Administration is working to address a key barrier to solar installations on farmland. Michigan’s Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program — a part of the Farmland Preservation Act — provides incentives for farmers to keep their land in agricultural use. As it currently stands, to enable solar deployment on farmland enrolled in the program, farmers would have to exit this program (e.g., due to disability) or the farmland would have to be rezoned from agricultural to commercial. Enabling farmers to host solar arrays on their property while still preserving Michigan’s agricultural land has been a key priority for EIBC member companies and Michigan EIBC president Laura Sherman has been invited to participate in a stakeholder process convened by the Governor’s office on the subject.

Dr. Sherman was featured this week in an article from Midwest Energy News on the topic, stating that current policies “can be a challenge to set a contiguous project for larger-scale solar. We obviously want to keep farmland for agriculture,” Sherman said. “I think solar fits with the long-term preservation of that land, especially if you allow it to exist in concert with this [preservation] program.”

Michigan EIBC members interested in getting more involved in this effort can join our latest initiative. Reach out to Michigan EIBC at

7th EV Convening: How Can the Governor Support Electric Vehicle Adoption?

Join Michigan EIBC, IEI, and a broad set of industry stakeholders for a discussion on how the new administration can lead the push toward electric vehicles. The convening will include a robust conversation on what state government can do on the following topics:

  1. State EV fleet procurement;
  2. EV ready community and EV ready building codes;
  3. Improving coordination on EVs within state government and in the nonprofit sector; and
  4. Leveraging Volkswagen settlement funds to support EVs.

Please register for the event here and see a full agenda. Lunch will be provided. 

Positions Open on Boards and Commissions

Members of the Michigan EIBC community have been appointed to various positions in State of Michigan government over the last several months. For example, former EIBC president, Dan Scripps was appointed to the Michigan Public Service Commission. Liesl Clark, another former EIBC president, is now the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality. And Bali Kumar, CEO of member company Lean & Green Michigan, was named to the Utility Consumer Participation Board, which provides grants to support the interest of utility customers at residential energy proceedings before the MPSC.
There are a number of additional appointments that may be of interest to the Michigan EIBC community. Please find a few included below and visit the appointments webpagefor details on how to apply.

  • Board of Boiler Rules
    • 9 members, 4-year term
    • 3 seats expiring 6/30/2019
    • Parameters: 1 mechanical contractors in the state with experience in installation, piping, operations, or repair of boilers; 1 general public member; 1 organized labor in the state and engaged in the design, erection, fabrication, installation, operation, repair, or inspection of boilers.
    • Subject to advice and consent by the Senate
  • Michigan Public Service Commission
    • 3 members, 6-year term
    • 1 seat expires 7/2/2019
    • Subject to advice and consent by the Senate
  • Michigan Tax Tribunal
    • 7 members, 4-year term
    • 2 vacancies
    • Parameters: 1 CPA; 1 General public
    • Subject to advice and consent by the Senate

Join Michigan EIBC on April 23 and 24

Michigan EIBC Members-Only Breakfast
Please RSVP today to attend the Member Breakfast which takes place from 8:00 to 8:45 am before the Annual Member Meeting on April 23. We are excited to announce that MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg will be our special guest at the breakfast.

Please note: If you are registered for the Annual Member Meeting, it does not mean you are registered for the Member Breakfast. Please also RSVP for the Member Breakfast so we know how much food to order. There is no charge to attend the Member Breakfast.

During the breakfast meeting, we will discuss Michigan EIBC’s involvement with regulatory, legislative, and administrative issues. We will also introduce members to:

  • New Michigan EIBC President, Dr. Laura Sherman
  • Michigan EIBC Board Members
  • New Michigan EIBC Lobby Team
  • Michigan EIBC Staff Members

Information on Annual Member Meeting & Lobby Day
The Annual Member Meeting on April 23 begins at 9:00 am (registration opens at 8:30 am to general public) in Big Ten A. The member ticket price for the Annual Member Meeting is $100. To register for the Annual Member Meeting, please follow this link:

Lobby Day in Lansing takes place on Wednesday, April 24 (day after the Annual Member Meeting). Registration is now open and will close on Friday, April 19 at noon. Please follow this link to register:

Michigan Energy News

  • U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow, Lamar Alexander (TN), Gary Peters and Susan Collins (ME) and Congressman Dan Kildee have introduced new legislation that would expand the electric vehicle and hydrogen fuel cell tax credits.
  • One northern Michigan community is taking steps at going greener. Wednesday night the Paradise Township board voted to amend the zoning ordinance to allow solar energy to be sold. Solar energy can be sold in agricultural zones on property of at least 20 acres.
  • The University of Michigan will purchase renewable power through DTE Energy to help meet the school’s emission reduction goals.
  • Michigan adds 4,800 clean energy jobs in 2018 and sees 9% growth projection in clean energy jobs.
  • A 100 percent renewable energy goal in Lansing, Michigan, doesn’t call for new generation, but advocates hope it sends a signal for others to invest in renewables.
  • Local opposition grows to a proposed wind project in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula ahead of a referendum challenging local zoning rules. See here for background on the project.
  • Old and new will interconnect in an innovative way if researchers at Michigan Technological University can pull off an energy storage concept that pairs some of the state’s abandoned and flooded mines with hydroelectric pumped storage.

National Energy News

Michigan Energy Events  

The Michigan Energy Office will host an electric vehicle ride and drive on Wednesday, April 17, in Lansing. The event will take place at the Michigan Agency for Energy, 7109 W. Saginaw Highway, Lansing. A food truck is also scheduled to be present from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m

Join the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council for its 7th Annual Member Meeting, featuring cutting-edge energy topics including the convergence of distributed technologies and new load growth. April 23 in East Lansing, MI. Register today!

Members Only: Michigan EIBC members are invited to join us in downtown Lansing on Wednesday, April 24 for Lobby Day. During Lobby Day, Michigan EIBC staff, members, and our lobby team at Dykema meet one-on-one with Michigan State Legislators and their staff to discuss current and future issues for the advanced energy industry.

On Thursday, May 2nd from 8am-2pm, member company Lean & Green Michigan is hosting a PACE Summit at the IBEW Local 58 Zero Net Energy facility in Detroit. Register here.

Michigan EIBC will be hosting it’s 7th EV Convening in Lansing at the Michigan Municipal League on May 3rd. Register here.

Save the date for the U.P. Energy Summit on Friday, June 14 at Northern Michigan University. Free to attend. Additional details will be made available on the U.P. Energy Summit website.

The IEEE Transportation Electrification Conference & Expo (ITEC) will be held in Novi, MI. 19-21 June 2019. (ITEC’19) is aimed at helping the industry in the transition from conventional vehicles to advanced electrified vehicles.

National Energy Events    

Attend the Midwest Renewable Energy Summit on April 16-18, 2019, in Chicago, IL.

Attend the Energy Storage Association’s Annual Energy Storage Conference & Expoon April 16-18, 2019

Join solar, clean energy & utility experts at the 6th annual Midwest Solar ExpoMay 1-2, 2019 in Minneapolis, MN. Two action-packed days of all-star speakers, exhibition, networking, SolarWakeup Live! interviews, startup showcase, receptions & more. Register today!

Attend the Illumination Energy Summit in Columbus, Ohio May 15-16. Register here.DISCOUNT for Michigan EIBC members to Advanced Energy Now | East • June 13 • Richmond, VA: Join us at AEE’s new regional energy policy conference, Advanced Energy Now | East, to network with industry leaders and work on an action agenda for growing your business. Full agenda and speaker bios available – HERE. For registration code, EIBC members should reach out to

Attend the Grid Evolution Summit hosted by SEPA on July 29 – August 1, 2019 | Washington, DC