- Newsletter (385)
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 Laura Sherman of Michigan EIBC and Michael Weiss of AEE in the Detroit News
One of the biggest stories of not just the advanced energy industry in Michigan, but of the future of the state’s economy in general, has been the use of the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) fund to bring more jobs from innovative companies to the state. Governor Whitmer and the legislature worked together to expand SOAR. Now that the governor has won re-election and the election results are dramatically changing the legislature, where should Michigan energy policy go from here in the governor’s second term?
In a new op-ed in the pages of the Detroit News, Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman and Michael Weiss, principal at Michigan EIBC National Associate Member Advanced Energy Economy, outline a path forward:
…even with this remarkable progress, there is more work to be done. The Inflation Reduction Act has billions of dollars in competitive grants, tax credits and rebates that can further develop Michigan’s advanced energy manufacturing industry. Employers, both those already in the state and those who may move jobs to Michigan, will need help from the governor and Legislature to fully seize these opportunities.
State policymakers can also make a difference for consumers directly by helping them shift to cleaner energy:
…Michigan residents and their state government can work with the resources already in the state, such as drawing from the estimated $183 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to reduce energy costs for low-income households through energy efficiency improvements. This program is poised to save Michigan residents money by reducing the energy they need without compromising their needs or lifestyles.
Michigan EIBC and AEE Comment on the Future of the Grid and Distributed Energy
The way the distribution grid is managed needs to be overhauled, and Michigan EIBC and Advanced Energy Economy have been showing Michigan regulators how utilities should change their approach to unlock the full potential of EVs, energy storage, energy efficiency and distributed energy resources (DERs) to shore up the reliability and resiliency of the grid. Most recently, this September the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) issued an order asking for comments on the metrics Michigan utilities should use to incorporate DERs into their plans for managing the distribution grid.
In comments in that docket (U-20147), Michigan EIBC and AEE explain we cannot expect utilities to embrace DERs on their own without the MPSC putting new utility performance standards in place. Our comments said:
As the DER market grows and competitive suppliers of DER products and services are able to provide at least some of the services normally provided by electric utilities, the potential increases that this will erode long-term utility capital investment opportunities, including traditional investments in generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure. This creates an environment in which utilities are likely to attempt to impede the growth of DER markets and in which utilities have little or no incentive to procure grid services from DERs, even if this may be in the best interests of ratepayers. It also creates the situation where utilities will likely pursue options to own DERs, because capital deployment is the primary source of long-term earnings for regulated utilities. However, because DER products and services are sold through competitive markets and are not part of the natural monopoly of the utility, this sets up significant tension that the Commission needs to address in order to fully realize the value proposition of DERs.
To counter this tendency among utilities, Michigan EIBC proposed several metrics around the use of DERs to cut peak load, and increase electrification, energy storage and demand response. The MPSC should track the utilities’ performance on these metrics and enact incentives that would reward good performance and penalize underperformance.
In reply comments filed this week, Michigan EIBC and AEE focused on the need for these metrics to be forward-looking and innovative, in contrast to a narrow set of metrics proposed by the utilities. “The otherwise narrow focus on average application timelines and DER capacity interconnected robs the Commission of the chance to use performance-based metrics to drive utility actions that provide net benefits to customers, advance critical state policy goals, increase cost efficiency, and improve levels of service,” our comments said.
Our Next Energy Will Supply Bollinger Motors With Batteries for Electric Trucks
Two Michigan EIBC member companies are now working together on powering the all-electric commercial vehicle fleet of the future. Our Next Energy, which is building a new battery manufacturing facility in Wayne County, will supply its modular, linkable Aries battery packs to Bollinger Motors, which is building all-electric Class 4 through Class 6 chassis cabs.
“We are pleased to provide Bollinger commercial vehicles with industry-leading range,
using our Aries LFP battery platform,” Our Next Energy CEO and Founder Mujeeb Ijaz said in a press release. “The Aries LFP chemistry contains no nickel and cobalt, offering superior durability and daily charging up to 100% without compromise.”
“Halting development of our batteries in-house and teaming up with ONE is a win-win in
both technological advancement and production logistics,” Bollinger Motors COO Bryan Chambers said. “We’ve not only advanced the quality of our product, but moved our
fleet delivery dates closer.”
Bollinger expects to start production in late 2023.
Michigan Energy News
- The Michigan Council on Future Mobility and Education has released 16 policy recommendations meant to grow Michigan’s mobility workforce, increase electrification innovation and improve transportation infrastructure.
- Participation in Michigan’s distributed energy program rose by 37% in 2021, continuing a streak of growth each year since 2006, according to the MPSC.
- Consumers Energy is involved in several disputes in Tuscola County over tax payments related to its wind farms.
- Consumers Energy says it will finish over 2,000 projects by the end of the year to improve grid reliability, such as adding automatic transfer reclosers.
- The DOE announces $74 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will go toward several projects to advance technologies and processes for EV battery recycling and reuse, including a research project at Michigan Technological University.
- Consumers Energy is considering closing several hydroelectric dams because they are expensive to operate compared to their small energy production.
National Energy News
- States with a high rate of rooftop solar adoption have shown greater resiliency when recovering from power outages, according to a new U.S. Energy Information Administration study.
- The U.S. Department of Energy is making $350 million available for long-duration energy storage projects that can deliver electricity for 10 to 24 hours or longer.
- Thermal energy storage could cause long-duration energy storage capacity to quadruple by 2040, according to a study from the Long-Duration Energy Storage Council and McKinsey.
- The costs of what could be the first small modular nuclear reactor project to operate in the U.S. are swiftly rising.
- The Inflation Reduction Act alone will increase U.S. EV adoption by 20% by 2030, according to a BloombergNEF report.
- Massachusetts gas utilities are pushing for hydrogen and biomethane to be used for home heating as a way to decarbonize the sector, putting them at odds with other groups that support electrification instead.
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.
As Director of State Affairs, you will play a leadership role in building and guiding a team of state policy advocates to transform state and regional electric markets and enable Form Energy’s goals. The team you direct will secure incentives, procurement programs, electricity market designs, and other supportive policies for multi-day storage that will enable Form Energy to deploy multiple gigawatts of our iron-air batteries before 2030. Your team will lead efforts to weave multi-day storage into all aspects of state electric resource planning and decarbonization goals.
The Policy Manager, Eastern Region will drive policy advocacy efforts across eastern states to advance Form’s goals and transform state and regional electric markets. You will collaborate with policy team leadership alongside outside partners to develop and execute state specific advocacy plans that successfully influence regulatory and legislative outcomes and advance Form’s goals. You will be responsible for securing incentives, procurement programs, and changes to market design in priority states to develop markets for multi-day energy storage.
Madison Energy Investments
Madison Energy Investments is a high-growth, PE-backed renewable energy company with investments in Solar, Battery and Electric Vehicle infrastructure.Madison is seeking a full-time Finance Analyst to work on our renewable energy investments. Candidates should have a passion for systematically managing cash flows of a business, general knowledge of accounting principles and ability to work cross functionally with team members in Sales, Accounting and Operations.
Michigan and National Energy Events
Michigan EIBC member Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University is holding the “Manu-Tech Pitch Competition 2022: Catalyzing Sustainability in Domestic Manufacturing” at the Mint in Lathrup Village on Dec. 7. This event is a forum for manufacturers, tech companies and investors to share the latest advancements in manufacturing and industry 4.0 technologies as well as share what is needed for domestic manufacturing to remain globally competitive. Register for free here.
The MPSC has 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 U.S. Department of Energy intends to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement that supports the implementation of Section 40541 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which provides $500 million for grants for energy improvements at public school facilities. Applications close Nov. 28.
Consumers Energy will host a pre-release conference call for its Solar Generation RFP on Nov. 8. Register for that call here, and find additional details about this RFP, planned for release on Dec. 8, here.
The Lansing Board of Water & Light (BWL) is soliciting an all-source Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking competitive proposals to supply up to 475 MW firm capacity to meet customer loads into the future and to meet the planning reserve requirements of the Mid-Continent Independent System Operator (MISO). RFP offers are due on Jan. 13, 2023. Registration to participate in this RFP is here.
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.