- Newsletter (328)
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:
Read Michigan EIBC and Advanced Energy Economy on the Ford Deal
Ford Motor Company’s recent agreement with DTE to buy 650 MW of solar capacity appears to be the largest single purchase of renewable energy from a utility. That is a major achievement, but the coverage of that event has left out some of the historical context that made this deal possible. A number of Commission decisions and settlement agreements between DTE and groups like Michigan EIBC and Advanced Energy Economy (AEE)–in which DTE made concessions–helped make the MIGreenPower program more attractive to corporate customers like Ford.
In a new piece in Energy News Network, AEE Policy Director Caitlin Marquis and Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman provide that missing context.
The historical context “…turns out to be important because it shows what Michigan needs to do so more big renewable energy purchases will happen—and if Michigan is going to stay competitive with all the other states racing to win investment in clean energy, they must happen,” Marquis and Sherman write. “As the competition heats up, the ability to offer not just affordable but also green power will be paramount.”
The piece goes on to explain how just a few years ago, the MIGreenPower program lacked many of the features that major corporate customers were looking for in a voluntary green pricing program, such as flexibility in contract terms and competitive pricing. When groups like Michigan EIBC and AEE pointed out these flaws to the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), “DTE pushed back and argued that the MPSC should approve the program anyway,” Marquis and Sherman write. “Fortunately, the commissioners did not agree with the utility and rejected DTE’s proposal, ordering it to go back and improve the program in line with what Michigan EIBC and others were saying.”
Michigan EIBC and AEE Recommend Opening Up Review of Pilot Programs for New Technologies and Business Models
Through the MI Power Grid Initiative’s New Technologies and Business Models workgroup, the MPSC and stakeholders have been examining the potential for pilot programs to move Michigan utilities forward in areas like vehicle-to-grid integration and community solar. To maximize their value, these pilot programs need to be developed in a manner that includes meaningful stakeholder participation, feedback, and buy-in. In new comments filed today with the MPSC, Michigan EIBC and AEE suggest some improvements to a proposed process for expedited review of utility pilot programs.
In the comments, Michigan EIBC and AEE express support for “the concept of creating a process wherein utilities, third parties, and stakeholders can collaborate to propose limited pilot programs with expedited Commission review and approval.” However, Michigan EIBC and AEE argue for a better defined process for stakeholder engagement especially in the initial development of a guiding utility work plan and in the creation of each pilot, prior to any filing at the Commission. As argued in the comments, “Pilots developed with meaningful stakeholder input and agreement among the stakeholders should give the Commission greater confidence in their vetting, particularly under any expedited review timeframe.” Michigan EIBC and AEE also argue for greater involvement of third parties, suggesting that “the Commission should provide a pathway for third parties to propose pilot programs, within the workplan’s approved pilot areas, to be implemented by the utility and third party.”
The comments are being filed today in docket U-20898.
Michigan EIBC Is Hiring: Energy Policy Expert
The Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC) and Institute for Energy Innovation (IEI) are hiring a full-time energy policy expert.
The chosen candidate’s policy portfolio may include:
- Development of legislative strategy and policies in collaboration with policy team
- Legislative advocacy including meetings with legislators and partners
- Support of advanced energy sector-specific initiatives including research and report writing
- Support of regulatory policy efforts at the Michigan Public Service Commission
- Support of advanced energy sector-specific initiatives, including research and report writing
- Communication and collaboration with members of the advanced energy industry
- Support of sector-specific initiatives and events in collaboration with team
Tickets On Sale for 10th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala
Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available for the 10th Annual Energy Innovators Gala on Sept. 28 at The Eastern in Detroit! Get your tickets now! Please click here for more sponsorship details and contact Brianna Gerard at email@example.com with any questions.
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!
Michigan Energy News
- Over a hundred Michiganders crowd a first-of-its-kind MPSC hearing in Detroit to protest DTE’s proposed rate increase.
- Michigan State University’s solar parking lots can be a model for the rest of the country.
- The Lansing Board of Water & Light holds a grand opening for its new, 250-MW natural gas-fired power plant that will replace its last coal-fired power plant.
- Consumers Energy is seeking public comment to determine the future of several dams it operates on Michigan rivers.
- “We are playing together as a team in Michigan, from industry to government to higher education, and when we do that here, this state will be impossible to beat as the automobile continues to evolve,” Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO Quentin Messer says about the state’s advantages in the EV transition.
- The state of Michigan partners with DTE, Kroger and Volta Charging to build more EV chargers at grocery stores.
National Energy News
- The Inflation Reduction Act’s creation of a $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund means that the U.S. will now have a national green bank.
- This week California will put into effect its plan to ban the sale of new gasoline-burning cars by 2035.
- The last coal-fired power plant in Hawaii is set to shut down in September.
- Ameren Missouri will likely need to keep running its 1,195-MW Rush Island coal-fired power plant until mid-2025 instead of retiring it in September as previously planned because the plant is needed for reliability, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) said.
- A federal appeals court rejects lawsuits against MISO over the competitive process for transmission projects.
- The experience of a Virginia county shows a conflict between data center development and emissions reductions.
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 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.
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. A pre-RFP meeting is scheduled for Aug. 30 and is open to registration here. Notices of intent are due Oct. 21.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) announced the Advancing Equity Through Workforce Partnerships funding opportunity, “which will award $10 million for the development of collaborative workforce programs that will facilitate the rapid deployment of solar energy technologies while supporting an inclusive workforce with opportunities for union membership.” Applicants must file a mandatory letter of intent by Sept. 13.
The DOE issued a Request for Information (RFI) for the $750 million Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grant Program. The program aims to support manufacturers to produce clean energy products or deploy emissions reduction equipment at facilities in coal communities. RFI responses are due Sept. 16.
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 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.