- Newsletter (395)
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:
Administrative Law Judge Calls for MPSC to Reject DTE’s DG Tariff
An administrative law judge recommended that the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) reject DTE’s proposed new tariff on distributed generation customers, agreeing with arguments from Michigan EIBC and other groups that the tariff is unreasonable.
As Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman put it in a recent Renewable Energy World article, the tariff DTE has proposed in its pending rate case can fairly be considered “one of the worst tariffs for rooftop solar in the country.” It imposes a charge onto rooftop solar users that would likely negate any savings generated by the solar panels. The charge is based on the three hours with the most electricity use by the customer in the month, and eliminates most of the incentive for the customer to use electricity efficiently the rest of the time.
In her proposal for decision for DTE’s rate case, the administrative law judge wrote that she agreed with comments filed by Michigan EIBC, the MPSC staff, Michigan Environmental Council, the Sierra Club, the Citizens Utility Board of Michigan, the Environmental Law & Policy Center, the Ecology Center, Vote Solar and others regarding the tariff. DTE’s tariff “is not cost-based; it does not send accurate or actionable price signals to participating customers, and, without constant vigilance, customers could face significant cost penalties for up to one year,” she wrote.
The judge also found that the MPSC should approve a $145.68 million rate increase, compared to $367.95 million as requested by DTE.
The proposal for decision represents a recommendation to the MPSC and is not binding. Parties involved in the case may file exceptions to the proposal for decision by Oct. 5.
Michigan EIBC Recommends Several Regulatory Changes to Drive Advanced Energy Forward
Michigan EIBC has been busy recently submitting comments on a number of MPSC proceedings that have important implications for the future of our advanced energy industry.
Expedited pilots: As part of the MI Power Grid initiative designed to hasten Michigan’s energy transition, the MPSC is considering an expedited review process for utility pilot programs so that utilities can more quickly launch programs that explore newer approaches like distributed energy resource management and vehicle-to-grid charging, to name just a few examples. In comments, Michigan EIBC and Michigan EIBC national associate member Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), while praising the concept of quicker pilots, recommended that it is critical to involve stakeholders in the development of pilots and ensure that third parties can actively propose and participate in pilot projects.
Low-carbon energy infrastructure RFP: The budget approved by the legislature earlier this year included $25 million for grants for businesses, nonprofit organizations and local governments to pursue “low-carbon energy facilities,” including combined heat and power facilities and electrification projects. The MPSC is implementing the grant application process, and Michigan EIBC has submitted comments on the draft RFP.
The RFP offers bonus points to applicants who include matching funds in their proposals. So that utilities do not have a significant advantage in that process, the comments asked “to clarify that utilities will not receive bonus points for any matching funds secured using ratepayer funding.” Michigan EIBC also recommended that the MPSC “consider adding bonus points for projects that have meaningfully engaged with and will be working in disadvantaged communities.”
Integrated resource planning: The MPSC is also working on new requirements for utility integrated resource plans (IRPs), the 20-year plans in which utilities must sketch out what mix of power sources they will use to serve customers. In comments, Michigan EIBC and AEE recommended that the MPSC add requirements that utilities achieve the energy storage target established in the MI Healthy Climate Plan and model EV-to-grid charging in their IRPs, among other recommendations.
Resource adequacy: Earlier this summer, in response to warnings from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) about possible emergency power shortages, the MPSC asked for comments from stakeholders on ways to make sure Michigan has enough power capacity. Comments from Michigan EIBC, AEE and Michigan EIBC national associate member Advanced Energy Management Alliance (AEMA) recommended lifting the state ban on demand response aggregation and highlighted the role of aggregated distributed energy resources and energy storage in solving capacity issues.
Join Us for the 10th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala
Tickets have closed for the 10th Annual Energy Innovators Gala on Sept. 28 at The Eastern in Detroit! We look forward to you joining us for this event:
5:00 pm | Cocktail hour + Networking (open bar + food trucks serving)
5:30 pm | VIP reception (open bar + food trucks serving)
6:00 pm | Keynote Speaker + Awards Program
7:30 pm | Continued Networking + Dessert & Coffee/Tea Bar
8:00 pm | Event Concludes
The Gala’s keynote speaker will be State of Michigan Treasurer Rachael Eubanks. Eubanks was appointed as Michigan’s 47th State Treasurer by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in January of 2019. She is committed to bringing creativity, collaboration, and commitment to identify and implement solutions to some of Michigan’s greatest challenges. She does this while also building upon Treasury’s culture of service to Michiganders, through continuous improvement and employee engagement, which are the foundation of Treasury’s mission to provide fair and efficient financial services on behalf of taxpayers, governments, students, and all Michiganders, for the long-term fiscal health and stability of our state. In 2016 she was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder (and reappointed in 2017) to serve on the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) as a utility regulatory commissioner. In that capacity she reviewed and voted on hundreds of orders that helped shape Michigan’s energy future. In particular, the Commission had regulatory oversight over the implementation of two comprehensive energy law changes during her tenure. She served on several national organizations, including being elected as Vice President to the Organization of PJM States, Inc., and was on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, where she was Chair of the Supplier and Workforce Development Subcommittee.
Thank you to our sponsors!
FLO is a leading North American electric vehicle (EV) charging network operator and a smart charging solutions provider. We fight climate change by accelerating EV adoption through a vertically integrated business model and delivering EV drivers the most dependable charging experience from curbside to countryside. Every month, we enable more than 750,000 charging events thanks to over 60,000 fast and level 2 EV charging stations deployed at public, private and residential locations. FLO operates across North America and our high-quality charging stations are assembled with care in Michigan and Quebec.
Michigan Energy News
- The MPSC orders DTE and Consumers Energy to provide more transparency about their plans for tree trimming and other reliability measures.
- The University of Michigan and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation release a “Hydrogen Roadmap for the State of Michigan.”
- The city of Muskegon is taking initial steps to electrify its municipal fleet.
- The Union of Concerned Scientists calls for the MPSC to approve the fast tracking of pilot programs, but to do so in the “right way” that maintains transparency and collaboration.
- A bill that would fund a study of the feasibility of more nuclear power in Michigan clears the Senate Energy and Technology Committee.
- The Michigan Climate Corps, a new branch of the AmeriCorps program, will train participants in fighting the effects of climate change.
National Energy News
- There are several different methods, ranging from long-duration energy storage using hydrogen to wind and solar with storage and more transmission lines to carbon capture and removal, to achieve the last 10% of getting to 100% emissions-free power generation, but none is the clear winner, according to a new academic paper.
- California becomes the first state to move to ban natural gas-burning furnaces and heaters by 2030.
- Solar energy has helped Puerto Rico cope with widespread power outages during Hurricane Fiona.
- Duke Energy is embroiled in a debate with environmental groups over whether or not its carbon plan is undervaluing solar.
- Republican state attorneys general oppose FERC’s proposal for regional transmission planning, claiming it will run afoul of Supreme Court doctrine.
- Permitting reform legislation proposed by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has divided environmental groups.
Attention Michigan EIBC members: if you have a job announcement you would like in the newsletter, please send a paragraph describing the position and a link to apply to Matt Bandyk at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include in the email a specific end date for the job posting.
5 Lakes Energy
5 Lakes Energy is hiring a Consultant or Senior Consultant (depending on relevant experience and skills) to help advance clean energy policy in the Midwest. As a small, well-respected firm with broad expertise and a range of sought-after practice areas, the Consultant should expect to work on a wide variety of projects in the effort to mitigate climate change and accelerate the clean energy transition, with a focus on analytical modeling to calculate social, economic, and environmental impacts of policies in the energy sector and to move electric utilities to fully decarbonized but reliable and affordable power supply. 5 Lakes Energy works consistently in Michigan but also engages elsewhere across the Midwest and the US.
5 Lakes Energy
5 Lakes Energy is hiring an Expert Consultant to help advance clean energy policy in the Midwest. As a small, well-respected firm with broad expertise and a range of sought-after practice areas, the Expert Consultant should expect to work on a wide variety of projects in the effort to mitigate climate change and accelerate the clean energy transition, with a focus on providing expert advice and testimony in the areas of electric utility cost-of-service and rate design, particularly in relation to the use of clean energy technologies, such as distributed generation, energy storage, heat pumps, and electric vehicles. 5 Lakes Energy works consistently in Michigan but also engages elsewhere across the Midwest and the US.
Michigan and National Energy Events
The Michigan Sustainable Business Forum and partners will present a happy hour forum on public and private sector investments in climate action, environmental justice and economic development in the capital area on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at Hopcat in East Lansing. Click here for a list of speakers and free registration.
The 10th Annual Energy Innovators Gala will be held on Sept. 28 at The Eastern in Detroit. Get tickets here.
The Detroit 2030 District will be hosting the 2030 Districts Network International Summit when all twenty-four 2030 Districts come to Detroit on Oct. 4-6. Tickets are available to the public. Click here to register. The Detroit 2030 District is one of twenty-four 2030 Districts across North America. Michigan is the only state with three Districts–Detroit, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Community Geothermal Heating and Cooling Design and Deployment Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will award $300,000–$13 million for “projects that help communities design and deploy geothermal district heating and cooling systems, create related workforce training, and identify and address environmental justice concerns.” The application deadline is Oct. 11.
Consumers Energy has developed a draft RFP to solicit up to 700 Zonal Resource Credits (“ZRCs”) of capacity and associated energy and renewable energy credits (“RECs”), if applicable, starting on May 31, 2025. Find the draft RFP documents here. Notices of intent are due Oct. 21.
The Community Collaboration on Climate Change (C4) is seeking a full-time contract position to provide coordination of C4 leadership, organizational representatives, Grand Rapids residents, and the program deliverables.
State of Michigan DNR is going big in solar with projects in the ground, others in development and additional ones being planned. DNR has released a Request for Proposal for Prequalification Program for Renewable Energy PPAs: www.michigan.gov/sigmavss. Use “Guest Access” to get the RFP. A previous round of pre-qualifications netted solar companies that then were able to bid on a portfolio of DNR solar projects in Southwest Michigan. Another portfolio in the Northern Region is in the works for later this year. Only companies who pre-qualify can bid on future DNR solar projects. Please direct all correspondence to the Solicitation Manager, Laura Gyorkos at gyorkosL@michigan.gov.
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.
Aaron Kurz, a former Michigan EIBC intern and University of Michigan alum, is working to build a state-level Science Policy Fellowship in Michigan, the Michigan Initiative for Science Policy (MISP). This program will place five recent STEM PhD recipients throughout the Michigan state government to provide a source of non-partisan, evidence-based information to decision makers. MISP will join the 10 other state programs throughout the country, including Idaho, Missouri, and New Jersey. Additional information about this initiative may be found at miscipol.org. If you are interested in providing written support for MISP, please contact Aaron at email@example.com.