- Newsletter (345)
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:
Michigan EIBC Lays Out Solutions for Weatherization Program
By the end of June this year, Michigan will reach the end of the five-year term of its grant from the U.S. Department of Energy that funds the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), a critical program to allow low-income households to afford the upfront costs of energy efficiency measures that save money over time. But red tape and other challenges with the implementation of WAP are making it difficult for this money to get to where it is needed, as Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman explains in a new piece in Energy News Network.
The DOE has a fixed limit of about $8,000 on how much can be spent per household for a project done under WAP. That limit is not automatically adjusted for inflation, so rising prices for materials reduce the amount of energy efficiency measures that WAP can finance. In addition “as costs go up, contractors demand a higher market rate for their services, but the per-household cap makes it difficult for the state to offer a competitive rate,” Sherman wrote.
These factors have been paralyzing WAP in Michigan and made it difficult for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to find enough contractors on which to spend the money in the program. Sherman points to potential solutions, however.
One idea is that the state government could use existing federal or state funds to offer more competitive rates to contractors. Doing so would tap federal funds made available through the American Rescue Plan to shore up Michigan’s WAP. In addition, the WAP funds can also be supplemented by the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), another federal program in which grants to the state allow it to fund efforts to help low-income households with their energy bills. Michigan currently allocates about 3% of its federal LIHEAP funds for weatherization purposes, a much lower percentage than other states allocate. If the legislature increased that amount, LIHEAP funds could better combine with WAP funds to complete more ambitious energy-saving projects at the households for whom energy costs are a large drain on their finances.
Town Hall Brings Together Advocates of Eliminating DG Cap
On April 12, the Michigan Environmental Council and Michigan United brought together lawmakers, representatives of renewable energy companies and rooftop solar owners at a virtual town hall about the continuing fight to eliminate the cap on distributed generation.
Mark Hagerty, president of Michigan EIBC member Michigan Solar Solutions, talked about what could happen if HB 4236 does not pass. For the residential solar sector in Michigan, the cap is one half of one percent of the utility companies’ peak load averaged over five years. “Once we hit that, the whole [residential rooftop solar] industry would shut down. The way we would find out is that all of sudden the application for interconnections would come back: denied, fully subscribed. While the utility companies constantly state that there is nothing to prevent you from connecting to the grid, the fact is there is no legal process to connect you to the grid. It is another well-scripted rebuttal that they constantly come up with,” Hagerty said.
“There is no engineering, safety or cost base reason to prevent customers from installing solar on their own properties,” Michigan EIBC Director of Legislative Affairs Christian Koch said in his presentation at the town hall. HB 4236 would end the uncertainty holding back potential rooftop solar customers. The cap’s “artificial limit is a major obstacle standing in the way of expanding accessible solar energy across Michigan,” Koch said.
Attendants of the town hall also heard from lawmakers who continue to support HB 4236. “I want to make sure that the solar folks can have a market and make sure they have some security in that market,” Rep. John Roth (R-Traverse City), said. a cosponsor of the HB 4236. “I continue to push. I thought we were getting really close [to a vote] and was disappointed when everything kind of shut down.”
Tickets Nearly Sold Out for Michigan Energy Innovators Conference on April 26
Tickets are nearly sold out for the Michigan Energy Innovators Conference on April 26 at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing. Ticket sales will close today (Friday April 15) at 5pm. Make sure you get your tickets now if you’re planning to join us!
Typically our most popular event of the year, the Michigan Energy Innovators Conference provides attendees an opportunity to network, learn about innovations in advanced energy, and get an overview on the latest policy developments. This event includes: main-stage panels, several break-out panels with dozens of expert panelists, TED-style talks, and networking. For information on sponsorship opportunities and benefits, please click here or contact Brianna Gerard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tony G. Reames was most recently a professor of environment and sustainability at the University of Michigan, where he established the Urban Energy Justice Lab to conduct research and develop solutions on the production and persistence of racial, income, and geographic disparities in energy access, affordability, decision making, and participation. Reames served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and worked in both the private and public sectors as a licensed professional engineer. He earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, a Master of Engineering Management from Kansas State University, and a Ph.D. in Public Administration from the University of Kansas.
MAIN STAGE + BREAKOUT SESSIONS
- Peering Into the Crystal Ball: What the 2022 Election Could Mean for Energy Policy
- Moderator: JR Tolbert, Advanced Energy Economy
- Dr. Deeana Ahmed, Our Next Energy
- Lauren Gibbons, MLive
- Zachary Gorchow, Gongwer
- Harnessing Federal Resources: Opportunities to Enable Michigan’s Energy Future
- Moderator: Kerry Duggan, SustainabiliD
- Cory Connolly, Michigan EGLE
- Rose Dady, U.S. Department of Energy
- Zach Kolodin, State of Michigan
- Trevor Pawl, State of Michigan
- Floods, Blizzards, and Heat Waves: The Role of DERs in Improving Reliability and Resilience
- Moderator: Sally Talberg, Talberg Policy Solutions
- Amy Heart, Sunrun
- Donna Northern, Detroit Homeland Security & Emergency Management
- Kevin Self, Schneider Electric
- Energy Storage: Exploring the Future of the “Bacon of the Grid”
- Moderator: Commissioner Katherine Peretick, Michigan Public Service Commission
- Julian Boggs, Key Capture Energy
- Nina Peluso, Form Energy
- Caitlin Smith, Jupiter Power
- Jessica Woycehoski, Consumers Energy
- All Energy is Local: The Role of City, Township, and County Government
- Moderator: Sarah Mills, University of Michigan
- Brenden Miller, Lapeer County
- Melissa Stults, City of Ann Arbor
- Heather Zygmontowicz, City of Detroit
Attendees of our Conference are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the start of the event. The CDC defines fully vaccinated as two weeks after receiving a second shot of a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. We will ask for proof of vaccine or negative test at registration. We will follow CDC guidelines with regards to COVID-19 and keep everyone updated as we get closer to the Conference. Michigan EIBC strongly suggests all attendees either be vaccinated or wear a mask inside the venue at all times if not fully vaccinated.
THANK YOU TO OUR CURRENT SPONSORS!
Michigan Energy News
- Reps. Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck) and Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) introduce legislation that would boost the credits utility customers receive following power outages.
- The Detroit City Council urges DTE to resume a moratorium on utility shutoffs.
- Michigan continues to have some of the highest annual fees on EV registrations of any state.
- One of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator’s (MISO) proposed transmission lines would be located in Michigan and potentially allow the state to access more clean energy.
- It is “imperative” that Consumers Energy retire the J.H. Campbell Power Plant, the utility’s last remaining coal plant, as soon as possible, Derrell E. Slaughter of the Natural Resources Defense Council writes.
- The MPSC approves a regulatory asset expected to allow Upper Peninsula Power Co. to install more EV chargers.
National Energy News
- Breakthrough Energy Ventures-backed startup Antora Energy proposes energy storage using heated blocks of graphite.
- Maryland lawmakers pass one of the most aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets in the country.
- Natural gas-fired generation likely peaked in 2020, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
- A “holy war” in climate politics is brewing over carbon removal, exemplified by Occidental Petroleum’s plan to sell credits in California to finance a plant in Texas that would capture carbon dioxide to enhance oil production.
- Scientists are achieving efficiency improvements in thermal batteries that could store and provide energy on-demand.
- The world is potentially still on track to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times, as long as countries fulfill their pledged emissions reduction targets, according to a study in the journal Nature.
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.
Advanced Energy Economy
Position: Executive Director, Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance / Policy Director, AEE. Austin, Texas, location preferred, but other Texas locations will be considered. AEE seeks a smart, innovative, and politically savvy Director to join AEE’s professional services team and lead our Texas engagement as the Executive Director of TAEBA. TAEBA’s Executive Director will lead and shape policy advocacy strategies in Texas and will work collaboratively with team members to develop and implement multi-year strategies and campaigns designed to achieve policy successes at the state and wholesale market level that will expand markets for the advanced energy industry and accelerate the transition to clean energy in Texas.
Advanced Energy Economy
Position: Policy Director – Decision Maker Education and Engagement & Wholesale Markets. East Coast location. AEE seeks a smart, innovative, and politically savvy Director to join AEE’s professional services team. To support the U.S. transition to 100% clean energy and electrified transportation, the Director will work with AEE team members to engage with and educate key decision makers on advanced energy, and to initiate, develop, and implement multi-year strategies designed to transform federally regulated wholesale electricity markets. The wholesale markets work will focus on building stakeholder coalitions in support of market rule changes necessary to support the growth of clean energy resources and speed the retirement of aging incumbent generating technologies in competitive wholesale electricity markets. The Director will also build and execute programs to educate key decision makers on advanced energy technologies and solutions to energy challenges facing them, whether through work with and at NARUC, regional NARUCs, or through other educational fora.
Position: Assistant Development Manager
Ranger Power is seeking an Assistant Development Manager to join its development team in its Chicago office. As part of a small and dynamic development team, assistant development managers are expected to manage varying responsibilities as projects progress through the development process. As a developer at Ranger Power, you will drive all aspects of project development and strategy, including site prospecting and land acquisition, site analysis, landowner relations, permitting, interconnection, business development, and community engagement and outreach.
Position: Development Intern Ranger Power is looking for a full-time summer intern for the summer of 2022. The Development Intern will be involved in all aspects of solar power project development, helping to review and prepare real estate contracts, completing various mapping exercises, and preparing presentations for various team members, and gaining exposure to the development process assisting the Michigan development team. This position provides individuals with an opportunity to gain exposure to both the development and project management sides of the business. Candidates should have some interest and possibly familiarity with the renewable energy industry and real estate, and excitement about furthering Ranger Power’s mission to increase community-supported solar power throughout the Midwest. Please email a resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michigan and National Energy Events
The 10th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Conference will be held April 26 at the Kellogg Conference Center at MSU in East Lansing. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available now.
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.
Now in its fourth year, the E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) 1 Hotel’s Fellowship provides funding to six Fellows each year to tackle the most pressing environmental issues across the country. Open to U.S.-based early and mid-career professionals and students, this yearlong, flexible fellowship provides $20,000 each to six selected fellows to support the execution projects that help advance climate action and a cleaner economy by engaging the power of businesses and making the economic case for the environment. Click here to find out more details about the program, which includes a link to apply. Applications will be accepted until May 9.
This April and May, Michigan Energy Options (MEO) Executive Director John A. Kinch, PhD, will teach a course in the Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business on “Energy, Climate and Michigan Communities.” MEO is a member of MIEIBC and Kinch will host President Laura Sherman, PhD, speaking on “Renewable Energy Policy: The Good, Bad and The Not Enough.” Other expert guest speakers will address the solar industry, community energy equity and resiliency, decarbonizing the business sector and climate action. The course is intended for business professionals, local government officials, engaged community members and college students. Scholarships are available! Visit the website about the course here.
The University of Michigan (U-M) is committed to achieving carbon neutrality for all Scope 2 emissions (purchased electricity) for the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses by 2025. To meet this goal, U-M seeks to procure 100 percent of purchased electricity from renewable (solar and/or wind) energy sources. U-M is seeking proposals for a Power Purchase Agreement or a Michigan Public Service Commission-regulated renewable electricity option. The RFP deadline is April 22. For more information contact Senior Procurement Agent William D. Erwin at email@example.com.
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.
Indiana Michigan Power Company (I&M), via Charles River Associates (CRA) serving as the Independent Monitor, has released the 2022 All-Source RFP which seeks additional generation and capacity resources consistent with its 2021 IRP, including about 800 MW of wind, about 500 MW of solar and supplemental capacity resources. To view and download the RFP Documents, please navigate to the Documents section of the RFP website located at www.IMAllSourceRFP.com. Questions regarding this RFP should be emailed to I&M2022RFP@aep.com with cc to IMAllSourceRFP@CRAI.com. CRA will post a list of the non-confidential “Questions and Answers” to its website on a weekly basis following the issuance of the RFP until the Proposal Due Date. Proposals are due April 21.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) has announced the Renewables Advancing Community Energy Resilience (RACER) funding opportunity, which will award $25 million in funding for projects to enable communities to utilize solar and solar-plus-storage to prevent disruptions in power caused by extreme weather and other events and to rapidly restore electricity if it goes down. Prior to submitting a full application for this opportunity, a concept paper is due on May 27 at 5:00pm ET. SETO will host an informational webinar on April 27 at 1 p.m. ET to discuss the funding program and the areas of focus. Register for the webinar here.
To meet customer demand for the voluntary green pricing program (MIGreenPower), DTE is issuing an RFP for new wind and solar projects, both with and without energy storage. The projects must be ready to achieve commercial operation in 2023, be located in Michigan, and be interconnected to MISO or distribution level transmission. Anyone who is interested should register their company information on the Power Advocate website at this link for solar projects and/or this link for wind projects. DTE will be accepting proposals through April 29.
EGLE Energy Services is offering $250,000 in grants to small manufacturers in Michigan to implement energy efficiency activities that can be completed by Aug. 31, 2022, with a maximum grant for $25,000 per manufacturer. Application deadline is April 30.
Consumers Energy has released draft materials for its RFP that will solicit solar and wind generation projects in accordance with the company’s expansion of its Voluntary Green Pricing Program. This RFP will be administered by Enel X, affiliated with Michigan EIBC member Enel Green Power. According to the RFP administrator, “questions pertaining to this RFP or the proposal submittal process can be sent via email to Enel X by way of VGPRFP@enel.com. In the event others within your organization did not receive this notice and are interested in being added to the RFP listserv, please send a request via email to VGPRFP@enel.com with contact details for those to be added.” Final proposals are due May 31.
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.