- 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:
Michigan Saves to Expand Renewable and Efficiency Financing with New State Grant
Michigan Saves, a Michigan EIBC member and the state’s nonprofit green bank, will use a new $1 million grant included in the state’s 2021 budget to expand its work to improve access to financing for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
“Affordable energy-efficiency and renewable energy improvements are key components to creating a clean energy landscape that all Michiganders can participate in and benefit from,” Michigan Saves President and CEO Mary Templeton told Michigan EIBC. “These funds will go to our loan loss reserve, where we can leverage every dollar as a credit enhancement tool to attract private capital and accelerate clean energy work across the state.”
Through the loan loss reserve, Michigan Saves shares the risk of loans with private lenders, allowing them to offer longer terms and lower interest rates. “We’ve used this model for ten years now, and have supported nearly $270M of financing throughout the state,” Templeton said.
In a recent example of the green bank’s success, Traverse City Light & Power received a $1.8 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the utility’s on-bill financing program. Michigan Saves has partnered with Traverse City Light & Power to support the program, which helps customers finance energy efficiency upgrades.
Circle Power and Michigan DNR Collaborating on Solar for Old Mine Sites
Michigan EIBC member Circle Power recently won a request for proposals from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for a 5-year lease to develop solar power at the site of a former iron mine in Dickinson County in the Upper Peninsula and at a former sand and gravel mining site in Crawford County in the northern Lower Peninsula.
Circle Power, based in Royal Oak and founded in 2017, is a relatively new player in Michigan’s renewable energy community. The company had been active in its work developing solar and wind projects in the Upper Peninsula when the RFP came up, according to Circle Power Managing Partner Jordan Roberts. A Michigan native, Roberts spent many years in California working on financing and developing renewable energy projects like the $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar project, but has now returned home to found Circle Power. The company is currently focusing on Michigan as a “target market,” he said. Circle Power recently signed power purchase agreements with Upper Peninsula Power Co. for a 40-MW wind project it is developing in the Upper Peninsula. Roberts said the company also hopes to pursue battery storage projects in the future.
Michigan EIBC member Michigan Energy Options helped DNR evaluate the proposal. “The potential development of two former mining sites for large-scale solar power, in my opinion, checks all the boxes,” John A. Kinch, executive director of Michigan Energy Options, said in a statement released by the DNR. “The siting doesn’t negatively affect the natural lands and waters the DNR manages and, further, it is a great reuse of industrial legacy properties. It doesn’t affect private landholdings. What the project does do is to drive the creation of more clean, renewable energy in Michigan, with the DNR leading by example.”
Walker-Miller to Bring Detroit Homeowners Together in New Efficiency Program
Michigan EIBC member Walker-Miller Energy Services is launching a new program aimed at addressing the heavy burden of high energy costs experienced by low-income households in Detroit. The program, known as the Detroit Energy Economic Partnership (DEEP), has an innovative funding approach. Walker-Miller will pair wealthier “donor homes,” who commit to purchasing energy audits and energy efficiency retrofits, with income-qualified “companion homes” in Detroit, who would receive the same work in their home—paid for through the program. Crain’s Detroit Business recently talked to Carla Walker-Miller about the genesis of the program, including the unexpected connection to Warren Buffett. Read more about DEEP here.
DTE contributed $75,000 to become the first sponsor of DEEP.
Register Today for Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on November 12
Michigan EIBC’s 8th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala will be taking place on Thursday, November 12 from 4:30 to 6:00 pm EST via Zoom, featuring keynote speaker Dana Nessel, Attorney General for the State of Michigan!
During the gala, we will announce and celebrate this year’s Business of the Year and Project of the Year as voted on by the Michigan EIBC membership.
Today, consumers are empowered to generate and beginning to trade their own energy. And that makes your communications technology more important than ever before. Powered by the research and innovation of Nokia Bell Labs, we provide secure end-to-end grid communications and analytics solutions to meet the unique mission-critical needs of power utilities. Coupled with comprehensive network consulting and professional services, we enable utilities to optimize operations and transition to new business models. Recognized as one of 2018’s “World’s Most Ethical Companies” by Ethisphere, we adhere to the highest ethical business standards. Nokia is enabling the infrastructure for 5G and the Internet of Things to transform and empower businesses and communities everywhere.
Visit us at: https://networks.nokia.com/empowered
Volta Power Systems
More than a battery, our systems represent everything you need to integrate advanced energy storage into your RV, yacht, coach, utility truck or virtually any mobile application. We set out to redefine the industry by pursuing the first ever automotive-grade, lithium ion solution for smaller OEM markets.
Michigan Energy News
- Gov. Whitmer’s announcement of a carbon neutrality goal last week “let entrepreneurs and other employers know that Michigan is a welcoming, committed partner with a workforce that’s ready and able to spur sustainable enterprises,” writes Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy Director Liesl Eichler Clark.
- Clark and MPSC Commissioner Dan Scripps discuss how Michigan’s agriculture sector will play a role generating carbon offsets.
- Michigan EIBC member Pine Gate Renewables is developing 14 solar projects in 8 counties in Michigan, totaling 500 MW.
- Michigan EIBC member Harvest Solar completes a 285-kW ground-mount solar array for Mason County Central Schools.
- The MPSC is updating integrated resource plan requirements so utilities need to show how they are taking emissions targets into account in their planning.
- The first phase of a 645-kW municipal solar system in Muskegon Heights, developed by New Energy Equity in collaboration with Michigan EIBC member Chart House Energy, is now complete.
National Energy News
- Developers have had to cancel “scores” of wind and solar projects in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) territory due to grid congestion.
- Vistra says it will retire most of its coal plants throughout the Midwest due to inadequate revenue in the MISO region.
- Missouri energy provider Ameren becomes the latest utility to set a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
- Many utilities that have announced carbon neutrality goals are very much behind on the progress needed to achieve those goals, but there is time to correct the course, according to a Deloitte report.
- Some observers argue that California could have avoided blackouts altogether had it more seriously pursued demand response in recent years.
- Michigan EIBC member Apex Clean Energy announces a collaboration with Plug Power Inc. on the production of hydrogen with renewable energy.
Due to the number of events that have been canceled or postponed due to the pandemic, we are sharing some online events, webinars and tutorials on advanced energy topics that may be of interest.
The National Regulatory Research Institute has a three-part webinar series on “The Impact of COVID-19 on Utility Rate Making.”
Due to COVID-19, PlugVolt is offering complimentary access to a webinar series that provides a guide to how to select primary and secondary cells for battery products.
The Small Business Association of Michigan has many online resources including Youtube webinars and daily video briefings about COVID-19 and how small businesses in Michigan can cope.
Norton Rose Fulbright regularly organizes webinars featuring experts and executives of major companies, such as this one on the challenges that COVID-19 and low commodity prices pose to the energy industry.
The Clean Energy Group has a huge archive of webinars and presentations related to net metering, energy efficiency, EVs, energy storage and much more.
The Energy Storage Association has a number of upcoming and recorded webinars covering many different facets of energy storage.
Michigan Energy Events
Michigan EIBC’s 2nd Virtual Energy Storage Convening on behind-the-meter applications for storage is scheduled for Oct. 5. Register here.
The Oct. 7 webinar Zero Net Energy Webinar: Leveraging Collaboration for a Winning ZNE or ZNE Ready Project features presenters from Michigan EIBC member Energy Sciences LLC who will talk about lessons learned from Michigan’s first net zero project, IBEW Local 58’s headquarters in Detroit. Register here.
The University of Michigan’s 2020 Conference on Transportation, Economics, Energy and the Environment on Oct. 8 and 9 will explore the integration of electric vehicles with the power grid. Register here for the conference. Register for Michigan EIBC’s Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on Nov. 12.
The University of Michigan Ross School of Business is holding its inaugural Ross Energy WeekNov. 16 to 20, including a Renewable Energy Case Competition an Energy Conference.
National Energy Events
The Clean Grid Alliance invites you to explore the current roadblocks and other challenges facing Corporate and Industrial purchasers, and discuss market innovations needed to unlock the marketplace for this growing renewable energy market segment. The Oct. 9 event features Miranda Ballentine, Founding CEO, Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, as the keynote speaker. Register today!
The Solar Energy Industries Association’s Solar and Energy Storage Southeast event is scheduled to take place in Atlanta on Nov. 9 to 10.
The Great Plains Institute is holding a webinar series on the Midwestern clean fuels policy. Learn more here.
The Washtenaw Intermediate School District has released an RFP for a solar installation. Bidding closes Oct. 6.
Michigan EGLE’s Energy Storage RFP offers up to $200,000 in matching funding for help creating an Energy Storage Roadmap. Responses are due Sept. 14.
The Kent County Department of Public Works is looking for an anchor tenant for its planned Sustainable Business Park. Learn about the RFP here.
The Green Task Force is requesting that non-profit and faith-based organizations fill out a brief survey to assess readiness for solar projects.
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.
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.