Michigan Clean Energy Leaders, Initial Decision on DTE IRP 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:


Regulators Recognize Value of Competition in Initial Decision on DTE Integrated Resource Plan

After months of review, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) has made an initial decision on DTE Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), sending the utility “back to the drawing board,” as the MPSC said in a statement, in order to set stronger goals for competitive procurement of power resources and energy efficiency, among other issues.

The commissioners recognized the value of a resource planning process that embraces openness to new ideas, as Michigan EIBC stressed both in formal filings with the MPSC and in articles in the media published during the IRP review period. “The Commission necessarily expects a full evaluation of all alternatives including competitive procurement for all resource types,” the MPSC’s order stated. Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman recently outlined best practices for competitive procurement in an article on Energy News Network.

The MPSC also called on DTE to increase its energy waste reduction goals to match the same reductions in energy use approved for Consumers Energy. In addition, the order did not approve any supply-side resources for DTE and indicated the utility would need to submit a request for proposals for new electric generation resources.

This order gives DTE a chance to rework and improve its IRP. The utility has until March 21 to submit a revised plan.

Michigan Clean Energy Leaders Project Seeking 2020 Cohort Applications and Nominations

The Michigan Clean Energy Leaders Project is currently accepting applications and nominations for its 2020 cohort of leaders. This project, supported by the Institute for Energy Innovation (IEI), Cherry Republic, and the Energy Service Division of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, seeks to enhance the community of young professionals working in the clean energy sector in Michigan. 15 leaders will be selected to participate in two weekend-long retreats where they will learn more about clean energy and form important personal and professional relationships with others in their cohort as well as past participants.

Last year’s clean energy leaders included the following associated with Michigan EIBC members or former members:

-Annick Anctil, Assistant Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Michigan State University and member of the IEI Board of Directors

-Brandy Brown, Climate and Energy Advisor for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE)

-Ben Dueweke, Energy Engineer at Michigan EIBC member Walker-Miller Energy Services

-Christian Koch, Business Development Driver at Michigan EIBC member Lean & Green Michigan

-Kendal Kuneman, Consultant at Michigan EIBC member Energy Sciences

-Malcolm Miller, Director of Business Development at Michigan EIBC member Walker-Miller Energy Services

-Katherine Peretick, Director of Engineering at Michigan EIBC member NRStor Inc.

-Ian Olmstead, President and Founder of Michigan EIBC member Peninsula Solar

-Brad Pnazek, Senior Development Manager at Michigan EIBC member Tradewind ENergy

-Chelsea Stein, Former Outreach Manager at Michigan EIBC member Michigan Energy Options

Applications for the 2020 cohort are due March 8. Read about eligibility criteria and how to apply here.


Powering the Interconnected Grid – Discussion at MSU

Modernization of the electric grid is front and center in Michigan energy policy with the MI Power Grid initiative, recently launched by Gov. Whitmer and the MPSC. On Feb. 21, Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman spoke on a panel on moderated by MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg, on the topic of “Powering the Interconnected Grid: Emerging Practices to Lower Costs and Improve Performance.” The panel took place at the Michigan State University Institute of Public Utilities 2020 Michigan Forum on Economic Regulatory Policy.  

Sherman talked about how Michigan can use analysis of the grid’s hosting capacity to integrate more distributed energy resources and how competitive bidding can unleash new projects. MPSC staff is currently working on guidance for an improved distribution planning process that will incorporate distributed energy as a way to enhance the reliability and resiliency of the grid.

Two Advanced Mobility Events for Your Calendar

Michigan EIBC has been talking about how Michigan can be a capital for electric vehicles and advanced mobility. Two upcoming events highlight the fascinating work already going on here in those fields. The first, on Feb. 24, is a tour, lunch and networking event at the headquarters of Phoenix Contact in Ann Arbor. More information about that event can be found in our newsletter from earlier this month. Use this link to register. The second event, on March 9 in Lansing, is the 10th in Michigan EIBC’s series of EV Convenings. The topic of our 10th Convening is DCFC Infrastructure and will feature a discussion of the costs of charging infrastructure from Chris Nelder, Manager of Mobility at the Rocky Mountain Institute. Dr. Mehrnaz Ghamami from Michigan State University’s College of Engineering will also present their latest findings on Michigan’s DCFC infrastructure needs. Register here

RSVP for 8th Annual Energy Innovators Conference on April 22; Sponsorships Available

Please join Michigan EIBC on Wednesday, April 22 for the 8th Annual Energy Innovators Conference (formerly Annual Member Meeting) at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing. The keynote speaker is Patti Poppe, President and Chief Executive Officer of Jackson, Michigan-based CMS Energy and its principal subsidiary, Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest utility and the nation’s fourth largest combination utility.

Register to attend today. Sponsorship opportunities can be found on the Michigan EIBC website.

Event Sponsors

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Michigan Energy News

  • Michigan State University’s journalism school reports on the Powering Michigan Forward hearing in the state Senate, quoting Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman and Jordan Tallman, director of business development for Michigan EIBC member Harvest Solar.
  • The Michigan State University Board of Trustees approves a 10-year power purchase agreement with a planned 20-MW solar array.
  • Bali Kumar, CEO of Michigan EIBC member Lean & Green Michigan, talks about how PACE financing can promote economic development in West Michigan.
  • A bill to put EV chargers on every interstate would “create so many jobs,” U.S. Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., said.
  • An Ottawa County dairy farm is trying to become carbon-neutral by adding a biodigester to transform manure into natural gas.
  • The MPSC reports that energy waste reduction programs saved nearly 1.5 million megawatt-hours of electricity and nearly 5 million cubic feet of natural gas in 2018.
  • The city of Greenville is considering expanding a solar panel array at its wastewater treatment plant, making the city eligible for a bigger grant for its project to renovate the plant.

National Energy News

  • A study projects that solar energy will account for most of the world’s jobs in energy by 2050.
  • Michigan EIBC member Ameresco is developing an on-site generation, battery storage and microgrid project for the U.S. Navy at the Portsmouth Shipyard in Maine.
  • Oregon regulators accept utility Portland General Electric’s transportation electrification plan in anticipation of 100,000 EVs in five years.
  • The largest-yet solar array in Kansas is nearing completion.
  • Massachusetts’ “Clean Peak” policy may not be reducing emissions as much as expected.
  • Utilities and groups in Iowa reach an accord that preserves net metering.

Michigan Energy Events

On Feb. 24 Michigan EIBC is holding a Networking Meeting at Phoenix Contact’s Ann Arbor office for a tour and discussion of e-mobility and technology. Please get tickets here.

Register for the 10th EV Convening planned for March 9 at the Michigan Municipal League in downtown Lansing. The topic is DCFC Infrastructure.

The Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association’s 6th Annual Banquet & Awards Celebration will be on March 12 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing. Tickets are available here.

On July 21-23, 2020 PlugVolt will be hosting its next Battery Seminar in Plymouth, MI (USA), featuring an entire day of in-depth technical tutorials presented by renowned professors from several US universities on Day 1, followed by Days 2 and 3 with industry subject matter experts presenting on Automotive and Stationary Storage applications respectively. Attendees will also get an exclusive opportunity to tour A123 Systems’ new Novi, Michigan (USA) facility.

National Energy Events

The CLEANPOWER 2020 expo, organized by the American Wind Energy Association, will be in Denver from June 1 to 4, 2020. See registration options now.



 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.