- Newsletter (336)
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:
Governor’s MI Healthy Climate Plan a Key Step to Restore Job Growth for Advanced Energy in Michigan
Gov. Whitmer’s executive actions this week represent the beginning of a journey that will take Michigan’s advanced energy economy to the next level. Whitmer signed an executive order on Sept. 23 that sets a statewide goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. She also signed an executive directive that creates an interim target of 28 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2025.
“In 2019, there were more than 125,000 clean energy jobs in Michigan, but since the beginning of the pandemic the industry has lost more than 23,000 jobs,” Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman said in a press statement released the day of the announcement. “This executive order on climate will help the clean energy industry recover from the pandemic and encourage more businesses to come to our state, which will create even more jobs.”
The road to carbon neutrality will involve changes to Michigan’s energy system, many of which are already well underway. A number of the actions that will cut emissions will also lead to new jobs and new business opportunities for the advanced energy industry. For example, the state’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget will need to make more energy efficiency investments into state buildings to help realize the carbon neutrality goal. And as Michigan’s electricity generation profile shifts, low-cost, renewable resources will be in greater demand across the state.
“This shows Michigan’s commitment to reducing our environmental impact and driving growth in the clean energy economy, including driving clean energy businesses like mine,” Carla Walker-Miller, founder and CEO of Michigan EIBC member Walker-Miller Energy Services and an EIBC Board Member, said in a news article from the Associated Press.
The order also adds Michigan to a short list of states that are leading the way on carbon emissions reductions. Michigan is only the ninth state to commit to carbon neutrality, according to the Associated Press. The same day she announced the orders, Whitmer joined the governors of Colorado, Washington and Rhode Island in panel discussion about the U.S. Climate Alliance, a network of states that have committed to climate action.
Michigan EIBC in Renewable Energy World/Power Grid International on Interconnection
Michigan’s procedures for interconnecting energy projects are under review, creating an opportunity to set fair rules that will remove cumbersome hurdles for projects like wind, solar, storage and CHP. Given this moment of opportunity, Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman, in a new piece published in sister publications Renewable Energy World and Power Grid International, lays out the best practices for a safe and speedy interconnection process.
If renewable energy and other forms of advanced energy are to deliver on their promise to transition the electric grid to the future, the laborious interconnection process with utilities will need to be addressed.
Read the article to learn specific recommendations for improving the interconnection process.
Consumers Energy Gets Approval for New Voluntary Green Pricing Programs
On Sept. 24 the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approved new voluntary green pricing programs for Consumers Energy, while rejecting one program proposed by the utility that would have seen Consumers Energy owning solar energy systems installed behind-the-meter on the sites of large customers.
The approved programs include an expanded version of the utility’s Solar Gardens program, a revised Large Customer Renewable Energy Program that raises the maximum amount of renewable energy to be purchased and allows smaller facilities like multifamily housing to participate, and, finally, a new renewable energy credit program.
Michigan EIBC had filed testimony opposing the fourth program, the Bring Your Own Bright Field pilot, in which Consumers Energy would have built and owned behind-the-meter solar at commercial and industrial customers. The program would have amounted to “an unprecedented entry of a regulated utility into an unregulated, and already thriving, market,” as Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman explained in an Energy News Network article published earlier this year. The MPSC expressed concerns with the proposed pilot including the “role of the utility in the behind-the-meter development market” and encouraged Consumers Energy to seek further stakeholder input on the proposal.
Corporate Purchasing of Renewable Energy Is Still Changing and Growing
The direct procurement of renewable energy by corporate customers and others continues to be a dynamic market. On Sept. 23, Michigan EIBC and the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum hosted a virtual networking meeting on the topic. Michigan’s own Whirlpool has embraced wind power for its facilities in Ohio, and one of the event’s panelists, Ron Voglewede, the global sustainability director for Whirlpool, said that renewable energy procurement is quickly becoming an easier sell for companies like his. “The conversation has changed” as more and more companies set more aggressive clean energy goals. It is “much easier” to have conversations about long-term renewable power purchase agreements now than it was even a year ago, he said.
These competitive pressures are also influencing the University of Michigan to use programs like DTE’s MIGreenPower to offset its energy use. Students and faculty are increasingly “passionate” about carbon reduction goals and renewable energy, Drew Horning, managing director of the Graham Sustainability Institute at the university, said. “If we can’t perform in a manner that attracts the best faculty and attracts the best students, they are going to go elsewhere,” he said.
Corporate purchasers are also becoming more ambitious with the scale and scope of their renewable programs. “A key part of a lot of companies’ sustainability goals is leveraging their own actions to drive greater impact beyond their own purchases,” Caitlin Marquis, director at Advanced Energy Economy, said in the discussion at the event.
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.
We are a passionate group of advocates working to protect and enhance what makes this place so special. For us, that’s our lively towns and cities, our clean water, our farm and forest landscape, and the spirit of community that ties us all together. We build partnerships, raise awareness, and do our best to support what we see as an exciting community resilience movement that is gaining traction in Michigan. While our committed staff works hard to advance our pro-environment, pro-economy mission, our strength comes from the support, partnership, and involvement of thousands of people who share a sense of optimism that the effort we put forward today will lay the groundwork for a brighter future.
Hemlock Semiconductor Operations LLC
Hemlock Semiconductor Operations (HSC) is a leading provider of ultra-pure polycrystalline silicon and other silicon-based products used in the manufacture of semiconductor devices, solar cells and modules. At HSC, we’re passionate about silicon-based technology and its unique potential to connect and energize the world we share. HSC’s polysilicon enables customers to produce high-tech electronics and solar energy, and our efficient manufacturing process delivers products with an ultra-low-carbon footprint. HSC began operations in 1961.
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.
NTH Consultants, Ltd.
NTH Consultants, Ltd. (NTH) has been providing professional engineering consulting services to the energy, urban renewal, water resources and infrastructure markets since 1968. From a small, Detroit-based, geotechnical engineering firm, our company has grown significantly providing a wide range of services in geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering, and facilities engineering.
Ranger Power is a solar energy development company. Led by an experienced team, the company is committed to working closely with landowners to bring new investment and clean energy to their communities.
Samsung Renewable Energy
Samsung Renewable Energy is a renewable energy development arm in Samsung Group, and has developed and completed 1.7GW solar and wind PPA projects in the US and Canada.
Michigan Energy News
- Consumers Energy and DTE announce plans to join a planned network of charging stations to be built across the Midwest.
- The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is working on a plan that could see trees planted in state forests in order to generate carbon credits that would be available for purchase.
- Ford plans to build a 500,000 square-foot electric vehicle center at its Rouge complex.
- University of Michigan engineers are developing mirror-like photovoltaic systems, described as “sun in a box,” that can store a substantial amount of solar energy as heat.
- Upper Peninsula Power Co. will purchase 40 MW from wind turbines being developed by Circle Power.
National Energy News
- Walmart plans to eliminate CO2 emissions from its global operations by 2040, although this goal does not include emissions generated by suppliers and customers.
- New Jersey policymakers are considering whether the state should leave PJM.
- The HB 6 corruption scandal in Ohio involving FirstEnergy is leading to proposals for new finance disclosure rules.
- Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) says the Senate will still try to pass a comprehensive energy bill that includes demonstration projects for long duration storage and geothermal by the end of the year.
- California’s move toward zero-emissions vehicles by 2035 will transform the state’s electric grid.
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
On Sept. 29, U.S. Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) will speak about community resilience and climate change at a public forum hosted by the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum.
The West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is also hosting an Oct. 1forum about DTE’s plan for achieving net-zero emissions.
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 Michigan Department of Natural Resources released new RFPs for utility-scale solar systems at sites in northern Michigan, one in Dickinson County and the other in Crawford County. Find more information here.
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.