- 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:
10th Annual Energy Innovators Gala Recognizes Collaboration and Creativity in the Advanced Energy Sector
Thank you for attending the 10th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on Sept. 28 at The Eastern in Detroit! It was great to see everyone and celebrate Michigan’s advanced energy industry. Stay tuned for more pictures from the event soon!
The keynote speaker was Rachel Eubanks, who was appointed as the 47th State Treasurer by Gov. Whitmer in January 2019. She previously served on the Michigan Public Service Commission starting in 2016, and she helped implement the significant changes made to Michigan’s regulatory system by the 2016 energy law.
Eubanks’s keynote address focused on two energy-related initiatives with which the State Treasury has been closely engaged: the Energy Transition Impact Project (ETIP) and introduced legislation to provide for payments in lieu of taxes (PILT) for utility-scale solar systems over 2 MW in size. These initiatives are examples that show the State is “committed to working collaboratively with our stakeholders and being a trusted partner as we identify innovative solutions to help us build a better, greener Michigan,” Eubanks said.
“One consideration I’ve asked our team to focus on as we move forward and embrace greener and cleaner energy, is how do we ensure that we are not leaving communities behind as their primary businesses close?” Eubanks said in her keynote address. ETIP is a state program that aims to identify communities that are dealing with environmental contamination, job losses, lower tax revenue and other effects from the closure of legacy energy infrastructure such as coal-fired power plants, and then helps those communities with strategies to keep their economies vibrant.
Two bills pending in the Michigan legislature would allow PILT agreements for solar projects to provide certainty and avoid disputes over property tax valuation. “These bills strike the right balance to incentivize large-scale solar development to meet Michigan’s long-term energy needs, while also providing flexibility, uniformity and certainty,” Eubanks said.
Project of the Year: “Michigan DNR Goes Solar” from Utopian Power
Utopian Power has been working with Michigan DNR to build more than 22 solar systems for Michigan state parks. The project “is the culmination of many years of planning,” Utopian Power President and Founder Forrest Cohn said. “This type of project has not taken place in Michigan with a government entity at all. The development, the investment, construction and long-term maintenance has and will continue to be completed by entirely Michigan companies. We believe this project sets the table for more renewable energy to come online, it creates a repeatable model which third parties can bring to communities around the state and is a giant operational billboard and educational display for thousands of visitors.”
Business of the Year: Ryter Cooperative Industries (RCI)
Carla Walker-Miller, CEO of Michigan EIBC member Walker-Miller Energy Services, introduced this year’s Business of the Year winner, Ryter Cooperative Industries. “If you say ‘solar’ in Detroit right now, and ‘community,’ someone is going to say ‘Ryter,’ Walker-Miller said.
RCI has expanded the growth of advanced energy in Michigan through partnerships with companies and nonprofits and projects in the city of Detroit, like the installation of solar-powered charging stations with Wi-Fi access, allowing residents to charge small devices and do work online.
“The future is rapidly demanding, greener and more self-reliant energy. It’s truly a beautiful time to be alive and we are truly blessed beyond measure to add our piece of the puzzle of creating deep-rooted solar energy innovation and workforce development in underserved communities,” Ali Dirul, President and CEO of RCI, said after accepting the award. “The past two to five years have shown us that the world is ready for cleaner energy and a healthier environment.”
Public Official of the Year: Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Since becoming Governor of Michigan, Whitmer has worked on putting Michigan on a path to a cleaner, more equitable economy. She launched the MI Healthy Climate Plan, which aims to make Michigan 100% carbon neutral by 2050 with interim 2030 goals to generate 60% of Michigan’s electricity from reliable, renewable sources, build an expansive charging network to support 2 million electric vehicles on the road, and protect 30% of our land and water, and more.
The award at the Gala was accepted by the Governor’s Senior Advisor Kara Cook, with the Governor providing a video.
Energy Innovators Hall of Fame inductees:
- Lana Pollack led the Michigan Environmental Council for 12 years and authored Michigan’s 1990 Polluter Pay law during her three terms as a Senator in the Michigan Legislature. She was appointed by President Barack Obama to the International Joint Commission and remains a strong advocate for environmental and energy issues.
- Tom Stanton was Principal Researcher, Energy and Environment, at the National Regulatory Research Institute (NRRI) from fall 2010 until its recent closure. NRRI provided regulatory policy research and educational services for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). A life-long resident of Michigan, Tom previously worked for Michigan state government for over 32 years, including 10 years at the State Energy Office followed by over 22 years as a member of the Michigan Public Service Commission Staff.
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Federal DOT Approves Michigan Plan for EV Chargers
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently approved the plan submitted by the State of Michigan for how it will use funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand its network of EV charging stations.
Michigan had submitted an EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan to the DOT to gain access to funding under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program. Michigan was one of 35 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, that have now had their plans approved, allowing them to “unlock more than $900 million in NEVI formula funding from FY22 and FY23 to help build EV chargers across approximately 53,000 miles of highway across the country,” a statement from the DOT said.
The Michigan Departments of Transportation (MDOT), Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), which worked together on the EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan, called NEVI potentially “the most transformative investment in EV charging in United States history.”
Michigan’s plan details how the state will use $110 million to the State of Michigan fiscal years (FYs) 2022 and 2026 to install four chargers at at least 50-mile intervals along each of the state’s designated Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs). These AFCs include many of the major highways across the state (see figure above).
Gov. Whitmer recently released the MI Future Mobility Plan, which includes the goal of deploying 100,000 EV chargers to support two million EVs by 2030.
Michigan Energy News
- Voluntary green pricing programs have become a huge driver of renewable energy development in Michigan in part because the programs “now offer enough flexibility to make sure the terms the utility is offering line up with the terms the corporate purchaser can accept,” Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman says in an interview with MiBiz.
- Dozens of environmental groups, including the Michigan Sierra Club, ask the U.S. Department of Energy to deny the application to use funds under the Civil Nuclear Credit Program to reopen the Palisades nuclear plant, arguing that only operating reactors are eligible for that federal program.
- The University of Michigan releases The Energy Equity Project, a framework for measuring energy equity.
- The State of Michigan, the Michigan Clean Cities Coalition, chapters of the Michigan Electric Auto Association and Meijer have partnered on EV ride and drive events in Ann Arbor and East Lansing and upcoming events in Muskegon and Livonia.
- “Our problem is not with rate increases to pay for these everyday costs of doing business, but rather with costs that are not prudent from the standpoint of trying to do what is most cost-effective for customers,” Citizens Utility Board of Michigan Executive Director Amy Bandyk is quoted as saying in an article from the Oakland Press about efforts by utilities to improve reliability.
- The standby generator business is booming as Michigan utilities try to address growing outages.
National Energy News
- Subsidies from the Inflation Reduction Act may help drive green hydrogen prices down to negative levels in some regions, according to panelists at the recent RE+ Conference.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announces the creation of the Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights.
- The Sacramento Municipal Utility District signs a contract for 2 gigawatt-hours of energy storage from iron flow battery company ESS.
- In a bipartisan vote, the U.S. Senate ratifies the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, a binding agreement to reduce production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
- Retailers and EV charging station developers unite to oppose Xcel Energy’s plan to use ratepayer money to build, own and operate about 700 new charging stations in Minnesota.
- A program from a Massachusetts company allows rooftop solar-using homeowners to share excess solar power with those who cannot afford rooftop solar.
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 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. Michigan EIBC members are eligible for one free guest ticket per company. Ticket sales end on Sept. 30 at 7 pm. 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.
Michigan EIBC member Mutually Human invites you to learn about the latest in digital transformation, then relax with a beer and snacks on the private rooftop patio at Founder’s Brewing Centennial Room in Grand Rapids. Come by any time from 3-6 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 26, and chat about what’s new in the world of Workforce Transformation, Intelligent Automation, Data Analytics, and Custom Software! Register Here.
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.
The State of Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has released a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) Pre-Qualification Program. The DNR is anticipating the next region for solar PPAs to be released for Southeast Michigan estimated at approximately 1 megawatt. Proposals are due Oct. 12.
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 Charitable Foundation for the Energy Bar Association (CFEBA) is accepting applications for grants through Oct. 28. Only grant proposals to support local, regional, national or international non-profit organizations with energy-related charitable projects focused on improving lives will be considered for a financial grant. Up to $50,000 in total grant funds are available. For more information about the CFEBA grant process, visit the CFEBA website.
The MPSC today issued a request for proposals (RFP) for Low-Carbon Energy Infrastructure Enhancement and Development Grants. Public Act 53 and Public Act 166 of 2022, approved by the Michigan Legislature and signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, provide for a combined $50 million in grants for businesses, nonprofit organizations and local governments to develop, acquire or build low-carbon energy facilities that may include natural gas, combined heat and power or renewable natural gas facilities as well as electrification programs. The RFP can be found on the Low Carbon EIED Grants webpage, which also includes a detailed timeline for submitting applications and opportunities to seek clarification on the RFP in October and November. Potential applicants may submit clarifying questions on the RFP in two rounds, first by Oct. 21, 2022, with responses due by Nov. 4, and second by Nov. 11, with responses due by Nov. 23.
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.