- Newsletter (337)
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:
House Energy Committee Hearing Investigates MISO Warnings of Capacity Shortfalls
Michigan is in a better position for electric grid reliability than many other states in the central U.S., Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) Vice President of External Affairs Melissa Seymour testified at a Michigan House Energy Committee hearing that investigated the recent warnings from the grid operator of capacity shortfalls this summer.
The results of MISO’s recent planning resource auction for June 2022 to May 2023 found that several areas in MISO are falling short of the capacity plus reserve margin that the grid operator has determined is needed for emergency events.
But MISO sees Michigan as a “bright spot” due to regulatory steps in place to ensure sufficient capacity. Thanks to “forward capacity procurement legislation, combined with your integrated resource planning process,” Seymour said, “the state of Michigan and its utilities have put in place a transparent mechanism for Michigan stakeholders to understand and prepare for your ambitious energy transition.”
Rep. Christine Morse (D-Kalamazoo) summed up the situation as this: “the shortfalls are not coming from Michigan, they are coming from other states,” a statement with which Seymour agreed.
There is not enough excess capacity in MISO to fill the gaps that have been identified, Seymour said. “In the past we could rely on each other. But it seems like now, the states are building just to the margins. That’s why we are seeing the shortages we are,” she said. One reason why capacity-rich states cannot simply export power to capacity-short states is because of a lack of sufficient long-range transmission. Several state legislators questioned Seymour about whether or not MISO has changed its approach so that the needed transmission projects are built. “We are now in a planning process where we are looking farther out in time. I think we are correcting our problem,” she said.
Transmission is one part of the solution to shore up resource adequacy, but Rep. Helena Scott (D-Detroit) pointed out in her question that distributed generation also needs to play a role. “Wouldn’t policies enabling communities and households to produce their own energy help improve resilience?” Rep. Scott said. “We are very supportive of those more consumer-driven forms of power supply,” Seymour responded.
The slow interconnection process at MISO has also held up deployment of wind, solar, energy storage and hybrid projects that could help fill the gaps. There are nearly 120 GW of these renewable energy projects in the MISO queue waiting for interconnection approval. Speeding up the timelines for approval would help move these projects one step closer to deployment.
Pause on Solar Tariffs and Biden Policy on Domestic Manufacturing Are Good News for Advanced Energy
The Biden administration’s two-year pause on solar panel tariffs has removed a major source of anxiety for domestic solar installers. Meanwhile, the administration is trying to open up new opportunities for the manufacturing of solar panels, as well as other advanced energy technologies, by invoking the U.S. Defense Production Act.
The pause on tariffs puts a temporary end to the U.S. Department of Commerce investigation into claims of unfair trade practices related to solar panel imports from Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia. That investigation may have triggered tariffs that would have substantially raised the cost of building solar projects. Just the threat of the tariffs was enough for many solar projects to be delayed.
For example, [Michigan EIBC member] “NextEra Energy, one of the largest renewable energy companies in the country, had said it expected to delay the installation of between two and three gigawatts worth of solar and storage construction — enough to power more than a million homes,” the New York Times reported.
Announced roughly the same time as the tariff pause, the Biden administration’s invocation of the Defense Production Act (DPA) may boost domestic manufacturing of clean energy technologies including solar panels and heat pumps in ways previously not possible. The DPA allows the federal government to take numerous actions, including directly paying for capital equipment in domestic factories.
A recent article in The Atlantic gives examples of how the DPA can help. “Under the DPA, the government can also make a so-called advance market commitment, a promise to buy a certain volume of a product in order to ensure its production… The DPA declaration allows the government to take similar steps for solar panels and other technology crucial for decarbonizing: Because companies know that they will have a customer for their products, they can quickly scale up production,” the article said.
New FLO EV Charging Station Factory Set for Auburn Hills
This week Gov. Whitmer joined with Michigan EIBC member FLO for the opening of the company’s EV charging station manufacturing facility in Auburn Hills. The facility will be FLO’s first factory in the U.S., and it will make both residential and commercial chargers.
“The future of EVs is in Michigan,” FLO CEO Louis Tremblay said, as quoted by the Detroit News. “We are proud to announce our facility today — our first in the U.S. — that will not only create jobs for Michiganders but also help meet rising demand for smart, reliable charging stations, and to continue to expand the FLO network across the USA.”
The $3 million investment, expected to create 133 jobs starting in 2023, is the latest in a series of recent expansions of the EV industry in Michigan. Last week, Ford announced it would create over 3,200 jobs by investing in Michigan plants to produce more vehicles in the state, including the all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning.
Whitmer and Tremblay spoke at a news conference in Lansing on June 7, where they were joined by Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) CEO Quentin Messer. MEDC will be providing an $800,000 grant for the project.
“As we look toward growing our economy, investing in our workforce, and creating good-paying jobs, we know the importance of leading the transition to electric vehicles. FLO’s presence in Oakland County builds on our tradition of automotive manufacturing with an eye toward our electrified future,” Whitmer said, as quoted by the Detroit Free Press.
Commercial & Industrial Solar Convening On June 21—Seats Still Available But Going Fast
Due to popular demand, we are moving to a bigger space to allow more of you to join us for our June 21 Commercial & Industrial Solar Convening. The event will still be held at the Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University, but at a larger meeting room than before: Bldg #3, Room UTLC T210.
This collaborative event will include presentations from the Accelerator and the Institute for Energy Innovation focused on the findings of a Michigan Commercial & Industrial Renewable Energy Roadmap developed for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. Through interactive participant discussions, the project team hopes to gain insights and recommendations regarding commercial and industrial solar energy including opportunities and challenges in Michigan.
Michigan Energy News
- MiBiz covers the release of Michigan EIBC’s federal infrastructure roadmap.
- The closure of the Palisades nuclear power plant has spurred a conversation about the role of nuclear power in Michigan’s generation mix, including the introduction of legislation that would require further investigation of more nuclear power for the state, although Consumers Energy notes that its contract with Palisades left it paying way above-market prices.
- DTE says it is beginning commercial operations at the 1,150-MW Blue Water Energy Center gas-fired power plant.
- The Ann Arbor City Council approves a contract with Michigan EIBC member Homeland Solar to install solar arrays at several Ann Arbor parks.
- Sen. Debbie Stabenow touts how driving a Chevrolet Bolt EUV from Michigan to DC has helped her avoid high gas prices.
National Energy News
- Michigan EIBC member General Motors says its Buick brand will be joining its Cadillac brand and go all-electric by 2030.
- The U.S. Department of Transportation issues a notice of proposed rulemaking that outlines the minimum standards for a nationally-funded EV charging network.
- Massachusetts may be the first state that deregulated its electricity retail market to end retail choice.
- Puerto Rico is increasingly adopting rooftop and community solar and energy storage to escape from the island’s unstable grid.
- New research from the University of Houston shows how sodium-sulfur batteries could be an alternative to lithium-ion batteries for long-duration energy storage.
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 email@example.com. Please include in the email a specific end date for the job posting.
Position: Manager, Government Relations (MISO). Salt Lake City.
The Manager of Government Affairs will lead AESCE’s public policy efforts related to wind, solar, energy storage, green hydrogen, as well as other technologies as determined for key states in the central and western part of the U.S.. They will assist in the establishment of AESCE strategies, that align with laws, regulations, and policies where AESCE works. The Manager will also provide ongoing analysis and information to the development, strategic development, operations and commercial team for the identification of new market opportunities, response to new opportunities, and optimization of project assets. Additionally, the Manager will identify potential policy changes or modifications that may benefit the business and collaborate with internal teams to develop a coordinated strategy. A key function will be maintaining strong relationships with government officials, associated authorities, state agencies, committees, and other industry and partner organizations. This role will have a strong understanding of AESCE’s assets and products and be a capable communicator and team player.
Position: Manager, Stakeholder Relations (MISO & ERCOT). Indianapolis or Houston.
AES is actively developing a diverse renewable energy portfolio across the Midwest and Texas, and our development efforts require strong stakeholder relationships for our business to be successful. The Manager of Stakeholder Relations, MISO & ERCOT, will partner with cross-functional teams to execute project-specific and regional stakeholder relations strategies supporting business and project success.
Rhombus Energy Solutions
Position: Government Funding Manager. Dearborn, Mich.
- Manage Rhombus Energy Solutions public funding opportunities from planning, proposal, submission, negotiation and project management.
- Develop key contacts at national and local level to influence spending on infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and VW Consent Decree towards Rhombus Energy value propositions.
- Identify pipeline of public funding opportunities for Rhombus Energy Solutions including federal, state, local DC Fast charging opportunities.
- Respond to requests for quote (RFQ), requests for proposal (RFP) and requests for information (RFI) related to USDOT, USDOE national EV charging network. Craft abstracts and submission for public funding opportunities. Analyze and create budgets for funding opportunities including identifying cost shares and necessary resources to meet tender requirements.
Rhombus Energy Solutions
Position: Utility Account Manager. Dearborn, Mich.
- Thorough knowledge of the market including the competitive landscape, articulates our key value propositions and differentiators to customers and influencers
- Develops and maintain knowledge of relevant utility, state and federal requirements for EVSE and related infrastructure. Secures participation of Rhombus Energy Solutions into EVSE rebate programs. Influence utility program managers toward Rhombus Energy Solutions differentiators.
- Document and understand funding opportunities and share within Rhombus, key customers, and distributors. Register Rhombus Energy Solutions across North American utility programs.
- Engages frequently with partners, end users, electrical contractors, consulting engineers, OEMs, and other parties to support and drive growth of Rhombus Energy Solutions sales.
Michigan and National Energy Events
On June 15: The 2022 Michigan Energy Summit is a full-day energy conference that brings building owners and operators from all over the state in a peer-to-peer exchange. This year, it will be hosted at the beautiful LEED-certified City Flats Hotel in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, MI. Explore how Michigan businesses are achieving Net Zero Energy, creating healthy and efficient workspaces, and saving thousands on energy efficiency upgrades and utility bills. More details and registration here.
Join the Institute for Energy Innovation and Michigan EIBC member Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University on June 21 for the Commercial & Industrial Solar Energy Convening at the Accelerator’s office in Southfield. The event’s discussion will focus on the findings of a Michigan Commercial & Industrial Renewable Energy Roadmap developed for Michigan EGLE. Register here.
The Michigan Geothermal Energy Association and Michigan EIBC member Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University are holding a Commercial & Industrial Geothermal Convening on June 30 at Lansing Community College, West Campus. Register here.
On July 12-14, PlugVolt will be hosting its next Battery Seminar in Plymouth, MI (USA) featuring an entire day of in-depth technical tutorials on solid-state batteries, next-gen anodes and cathodes, battery diagnostics, failures, battery management systems, etc. by world renowned professors from Top 50 US Universities. Attendees will also get an exclusive opportunity to tour INTERTEK Battery Testing Center of Excellence in Plymouth, MI (USA) firsthand, ask questions to resident experts, and enjoy some light appetizers and beverages while networking with industry peers. Register here.
The Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing FOA has a deadline of May 27 for letters of intent and July 1 for full applications.
Concept papers in response to the DOE’s Electric Drive Vehicle Battery Recycling & Second-Life Applications FOA are due May 31 and full applications are due July 19.
The Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations has released a Request for Information to solicit feedback from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders on issues related to Section 41001 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which appropriated $505 million to advance energy storage systems toward widespread commercial deployment by lowering the costs and increasing the duration of energy storage resources. Replies to this RFI are due by June 16.
Michigan EIBC member Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University is accepting applications for its C3 Accelerator. Apply here by June 30. C3 is a growth stage Accelerator with up to $1.6M in funding in the form of grants, investments, and services to support the product development and scaling of Cleantech, Climatech, and Circular Economy technologies.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.