- 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:
Whitmer Signs Supplemental Budget Bill That Shores Up Economic Development Policies
It has been a banner week for job growth in advanced energy manufacturing in Michigan, with major announcements for new facilities in the state from Michigan EIBC members FLO EV Charging and Our Next Energy Inc. Governor Whitmer also signed an economic development bill that would, among other steps, increase the Strategic Outreach Attraction Reserve (SOAR) fund and secure investments for Michigan EIBC member Hemlock Semiconductor.
The bill, SB 844, shores up SOAR with $496 million for future economic investments, $350 million for site development statewide and $27 million for Hemlock Semiconductor to continue to build out the domestic supply chain for semiconductor chips.
“The bipartisan legislation will help us grow, attract, and retain businesses in Michigan, ensuring we can lead the future of mobility and electrification and bring supply chains of chips and batteries home to Michigan,” Governor Whitmer said in a statement.
The $27 million for Hemlock is a one-time workforce and infrastructure grant to expand the municipal wastewater capacity in Thomas and Saginaw Townships. This increase in capacity will benefit the township residents, allow new businesses to come to the Great Lakes Tech Park and allow Hemlock Semiconductor to invest and expand their operations creating up to 170 new jobs.
In the same week that the governor signed the bill, several projects that are taking advantage of the state’s economic development policies were announced. On Oct. 4, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist joined FLO EV Charging for its ribbon cutting of a new manufacturing facility in Auburn Hills that is expected to support 730 jobs by 2028.
The next day, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved a $200 million grant for Our Next Energy to build a $1.6 billion electric vehicle battery “gigafactory” in Wayne County. “What we have done is we have made it unnecessary to source cobalt, nickel and a lot of other materials that are hard to get,” Our Next Energy CEO Mujeeb Ijaz said during a board meeting that day. “Taking iron as our material, we see North American supply chain development as very practical.”
As it adds jobs in Michigan, Our Next Energy is also working to retrain local residents for jobs at the new gigafactory. Toward that end, the company is partnering with Michigan EIBC member Walker-Miller Energy Services and Focus: HOPE on a workforce development program.
Daniel Howes wrote in the Detroit News that the Our Next Energy announcement coupled with another Michigan Strategic Fund decision to approve grants for Gotion Inc. to build a $2.4 billion electric vehicle battery parts facility near Big Rapids represent how the state has upped its game in the competition with other states for new, high-tech manufacturing jobs.
MPSC Should Reject DTE Residential Battery Storage Pilot, ALJ Finds
In a recent newsletter, we covered an administrative law judge’s (ALJ) new recommendation in DTE’s ongoing rate case that the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) reject the utility’s proposed tariff on distributed generation customers. Another important recommendation from the ALJ was that the MPSC should also reject a proposed residential battery storage pilot from DTE.
In testimony filed in the rate case, Michigan EIBC and Institute for Energy Innovation President Laura Sherman had opposed the pilot, arguing that DTE’s plan “inappropriately inserts rate-regulated monopolies into the growing competitive market for residential energy storage.” DTE had proposed a pilot where 500 residential customers would host up to 1,000 batteries that would be sited at customer homes but, critically, the utility would own all of the batteries. Customers would also pay more to participate. “[T]esting customers’ willingness to pay more than they are already paying each month to reliably receive the product the utility has been given a monopoly right to deliver seems ludicrous,” Sherman wrote.
The ALJ agreed, and found that the plan had “the same shortcomings” as a Consumers Energy residential battery pilot that the MPSC previously rejected. That pilot “was limited to back-up power, failed to explore the full range of benefits that batteries can provide, and raised questions about the necessity of utility ownership of BTM [behind-the-meter] batteries,” the ALJ wrote.
The proposal for decision from the ALJ represents a recommendation to the MPSC and is not binding.
Photos From The 10th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala
Thanks again for attending the 10th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on Sept. 28. We have more photos of the speakers, presenters, winners and attendees to share. View our Flickr gallery to see all photos. We look forward to seeing you all in person again soon!
RES is the world’s largest independent renewable energy company. At the forefront of the industry for over 40 years, RES has delivered more than 23GW of renewable energy projects across the globe and supports an operational asset portfolio exceeding 10GW worldwide for a large client base. RES employs more than 2,500 people and is active in 11 countries working across onshore and offshore wind, solar, energy storage and transmission and distribution.
Apex Clean Energy is an independent renewable energy company focused on developing utility-scale generation facilities. Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, Apex is building one of the nation’s largest, most diversified portfolios of renewable energy resources, capable of producing over 13,000 MW of clean energy. The company is currently exploring the feasibility of constructing more than 500 MW of generation in Michigan.
Michigan Energy News
- The MPSC orders an engineering audit of the distribution grid maintenance practices of DTE and Consumers Energy.
- A report from Michigan EIBC member 5 Lakes Energy, the Natural Resources Defense Council, RMI and Michigan Environmental Council analyzes the policies the state needs to meet its 2030 and 2050 emissions reduction goals.
- A Guardian report explores the issue of “utility redlining” in Detroit and the distribution grid disinvestments in the city.
- Gov. Whitmer says that since she took office, the state’s automotive industry has announced over 30,000 new jobs.
- A recent settlement approved by the MPSC may pave the way for a remediated landfill site in Grand Rapids to become a community solar project.
- The Lilypad, a solar-powered boat funded by investments from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and Michigan EIBC member Centrepolis Accelerator’s C3 Accelerator, is featured in Saugatuck.
National Energy News
- Under a consent decree struck with the U.S. Department of Energy by a number of states attorneys general, including Michigan AG Dana Nessel, the agency will speed up its update of energy efficiency standards.
- Michigan EIBC member Form Energy raises $450 million in a Series E funding round.
- A bill introduced into the U.S. Senate would “create a program dedicated to deploying electric school buses with bidirectional vehicle-to-grid (V2G) flow capability.”
- Texas regulators indicate they may approve an 80-MW virtual power plant project.
- Washington state finalizes regulations for a cap-and-trade program based on California’s.
- Nearly 2,000 customers in Hawaii have signed up for a “Battery Bonus” program that pays them for sharing rooftop solar energy with the grid.
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.
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
Michigan EIBC members are invited to join industry and policy peers in Michigan’s energy storage ecosystem for a networking reception at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center in Detroit on Oct. 13. Fill out this form to RSVP.
Michigan EIBC member Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University is holding a free webinar titled Navigating the Multi Trillion Dollar Infrastructure Funding Initiative on Oct. 19. Register here.
Join Michigan EIBC and IEI on Oct. 24 for a public convening in Lansing, The Future of Building Decarbonization in Michigan, to discuss the landscape for energy efficiency and building electrification in Michigan. This event will include a presentation from the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy on next steps toward implementation of the building decarbonization goals of the MI Healthy Climate Plan and a panel featuring industry and policy experts in energy efficiency and electrification. Additionally, join us for an optional, space-limited tour of the Capitol Geothermal Project. Register here.
Michigan EIBC member Lean & Green Michigan is holding an in-person contractor training at the Zero Net Energy Center in Detroit on Oct. 26. Visit their website to learn more.
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 Department of Agriculture & Rural Development has released its guidelines for 2023 Rural Development Fund grants, which aim “to promote the sustainability of land-based industries and support infrastructure that benefits rural communities.” Proposals are due by Nov. 22.
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.