MI Power Grid Aims At Energy Transition, Rivian Moves Toward Manufacturing and More

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:

MI Power Grid Initiative Represents a Big Step Forward for Michigan’s Energy Transition

 This week Gov. Whitmer and the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) announced the MI Power Grid initiative, a multi-year effort to modernize Michigan’s electric power system to maximize the benefits of clean, distributed energy resources for Michigan residents and businesses. The Associated Press reported that Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman said the initiative’s proposals will help energy companies increase reliability while reducing costs.

As detailed in a joint statement with Advanced Energy Economy, Michigan EIBC is excited to work with the MPSC and other stakeholders on MI Power Grid. The initiative will examine several measures that Michigan EIBC and its members have been supporting, including:

-Development of best practices for competitive procurement
-Helping residential and commercial customers participate in demand response and energy efficiency
-Standardized grid interconnection rules
-Greater public access to distribution system data
-Ensuring that new technologies like EVs and battery storage can capture market benefits

Read more about MI Power Grid at its new website.  

Rivian to Manufacture Electric Delivery Vans for Amazon

 Plymouth, Mich.-based Rivian is moving ahead with refurbishing a factory in Normal, Ill., to begin manufacturing 100,000 electric vans recently ordered by Michigan EIBC member Amazon. In addition to demolishing the factory’s previous equipment and redoing the interior, “we probably need 500 to 600 team members to put the cars together,” Rivian VP of Manufacturing Matt Tall said in a recent interview

Amazon plans to use the Rivian vehicles as zero emissions delivery vans. The order follows Amazon’s announcement of its $700 million investment in Rivian. Rivian hopes to deploy initial vehicles in 2021 and roll out the whole fleet in 2024. The startup also recently received a $500 million investment from Ford and a $350 million investment from Cox Automotive.

Companies like Rivian putting more EVs into high-profile applications like Amazon delivery vehicles can boost demand for additional EV infrastructure. Michigan EIBC recently explored challenges and solutions for private sector EV infrastructure at our 9th EV Convening.  

Energy Storage 101 Lunch & Learn Coming Up This Month

 The Midwest could be making big moves toward more energy storage very soon. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) is working on implementing rules that will provide new revenue streams for storage projects, as detailed by MISO’s market design advisor Bill Peters at a Michigan EIBC event earlier this year. These developments, along with state-level policy, will shape the storage market in Michigan.

In Lansing on Oct. 22, Michigan legislators, legislative staff and Michigan EIBC members will get an overview of the state of the energy storage industry in Michigan and the federal and state policy issues affecting it. Panelists will include Daren Griffith from Michigan EIBC member POWERHOME Solar, Kevin O’Connell from Michigan EIBC member Michigan CAT and Katherine Peretick from Michigan EIBC member NRStor.

This event is for Michigan EIBC members, Michigan legislators and legislative staff only. RSVP here


Michigan Energy Innovators Gala – Sponsorships and Tickets Are Now Sold Out!

The 7th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on Thursday, Nov 14, at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing, featuring Governor Gretchen Whitmer as the keynote speaker, will celebrate individuals and businesses who have worked to grow Michigan’s advanced energy sector in 2019. That includes recognizing winners in the categories of:

Business of the Year
Emerging Business of the Year
Project of the Year
Public Official of the Year

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.

**Please note that all general admission tickets have been sold for this event. Event sponsors, legislators, and special guests of Michigan EIBC are still able to register.

To put your name on a waiting list, please email Nicole Forward at nicole@mieibc.org We anticipate that some seats will open up as the event gets closer. Thank you.


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Michigan Energy News

  • Mark Hagerty, president of Michigan EIBC member Michigan Solar Solutions, and Brandon Knight, president of Michigan EIBC member Distributed Power, talk with Curbed Detroit about the future of solar in the city given recent regulatory changes.
  • Crain’s Detroit Business talks to MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg about the MI Power Grid initiative.
  • Ford plans to partner with multiple nationwide charging networks to assuage customer concerns that they won’t be able to charge their EVs.
  • The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity reports that energy jobs in Michigan will grow by 6% through 2026.
  • Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is paying special attention to energy issues.
  • Shanty Creek Resort in Cheboygan County in Northern Michigan is using a rebate from Consumers Energy’s PowerMIDrive program to add an EV charging station in a part of the state where charging infrastructure can be sparse.
  • Consumers Energy’s proposed solar project in Muskegon County faces uncertainty.

National Energy News

  • Colleges are increasingly entering into partnerships with the private sector for renewable and energy efficiency projects.
  • The University of Notre Dame is shuttering its coal-fired burners and is saving over $2 million a year from energy efficiency measures.
  • Utility Dive explores the renewable energy industry’s different strategies to prepare for the expiration of federal tax credits.
  • The Midwest as a region will be a major driver of growth in solar over the next decade, according to a new report from Fitch Solutions Macro Research.
  • The Ohio Supreme Court rules that the state’s Public Utilities Commission cannot cap the amount of costs that FirstEnergy can recover related to efficiency programs.
  • Elkhart County in Indiana receives a U.S. Department of Energy designation for solar-friendly policies.

Michigan Energy Events

Michigan Interfaith Power & Light’s 2019 Sustainability Conference features several environmental topics. It is being held Nov. 8 at Marygrove College in Detroit. Registration is open now.  

National Energy Events

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 organized the Clean Energy and Zero Emission Vehicle Technologies Trade Mission to Mexico from Nov. 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 claudia.salgado@trade.gov. The U.S. Commercial Service is also offering free consultancies for Michigan EIBC members interested in these business sectors in Mexico.

EUCI’s The Electric Vehicle-Utility Industry Nexus: Charging Forward conference is in Denver, Colo., on Dec. 2 to 3 and counts as a continuing education course. Sign up here.Infocast’s Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit is in San Diego from Feb. 4 to Feb. 6, 2020.


Bentley Community Schools in Genesee County is requesting proposals for an energy service company to design, manage and implement a comprehensive turn-key energy saving capital improvements program. Bidding closes Oct. 21, 2019.

Orion Township in Oakland County has issued an RFP for a design build project to provide a 15.5-kW solar power system by Dec. 31, 2019. Potential bidders can view this RFP here.

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.