- Newsletter (377)
Michigan EIBC President Named Director of Department of Environmental Quality
The Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC) is proud to announce Michigan EIBC President Liesl Eichler Clark is taking on a new role as the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for the State of Michigan. Clark brings to the position deep expertise in energy, natural resources, corporate sustainability, agriculture and environmental policy.
“Liesl Clark’s background, expertise and strong values make her an excellent choice to lead the Department of Environmental Quality in a way that serves all Michiganders,” said Laura Sherman, EIBC Vice President of Policy Development. “She has a proven track record of working with a diverse range of stakeholders to advance innovative policies to protect Michigan’s air, land, water and Great Lakes, and forge solutions to Michigan’s energy and environmental challenges.”
Prior to joining the Whitmer Administration, Clark worked as a partner at 5 Lakes Energy LLC, a clean energy policy consulting firm that she co-founded with Stanley “Skip” Pruss, and served as President of Michigan EIBC and the Institute for Energy Innovation. Under her leadership, Michigan EIBC has become the premier organization dedicated to the interests of the advanced energy industry in Michigan.
Michigan EIBC is committed to strengthening the Michigan network of advanced energy businesses, engaging the public and policymakers around policy and regulatory initiatives, creating partnerships to expand business opportunities, and advancing energy innovation. The organization will continue to serve these roles for its members and Michigan’s advanced energy industry after Clark’s departure. Michigan EIBC looks forward to working with Clark and the entire Whitmer Administration as well as the state legislature to continue to grow Michigan’s role as an advanced energy leader.
Michigan EIBC Applauds MPSC decision Approving EV Charging Pilot Program
Yesterday, Michigan EIBC issued the following statement applauding a decision by the Michigan Public Service Commission to approve an electric vehicle charging pilot program proposed by Consumers Energy. The pilot program will provide $10 million for electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Michigan.
“Consumers Energy’s EV pilot program will advance electric vehicle charging infrastructure and bolster Michigan’s growing advanced transportation sector,” said Laura Sherman, Vice President of Policy Development for Michigan EIBC. “Expanding access to charging stations is essential for EV growth in Michigan, and we are pleased to see that our efforts to engage stakeholders and state regulators helped result in a consensus proposal and today’s EV program approval. Michigan EIBC will to continue engaging all involved parties to develop a comprehensive strategy for greater EV adoption in Michigan.”
Michigan EIBC has been engaged in crafting a comprehensive strategy for electric vehicle adoption in Michigan, including convening six policy meetings with stakeholders, businesses, utility companies, state regulators and more throughout 2018.
HB 5143 and HB 5680 Vetoed During Lame Duck
HB 5143 and HB 5680, a bill package seeking to create clarity and consistency in how residential and commercial solar installations are taxed across Michigan, were vetoed by Governor Snyder after nearly unanimously passing the state legislature.
HB 5143 was introduced by Representative Tom Barrett in October 2017. It proposed to exempt behind-the-meter distributed energy generation systems from real property tax assessment. It would have applied to fuel cell, photovoltaic, solar-thermal, wind, CHP, microturbine, miniturbine, Stirling cycle, battery cell, clean fuel, and electricity storage systems. HB 5680 would have added alternative energy systems to the list of repairs and household upgrades that are not considered when determining the true cash value of a property for assessment purposes, until the property is sold.
Michigan EIBC was supportive of this legislative package and was surprised by the Governor’s veto. Taxes on solar panels are currently assessed inconsistently across the state and this legislation is necessary to avoid the patchwork system of interpretation and enforcement. A contradictory set of policies from the Michigan Tax Tribunal and Michigan Agency for Energy has further complicated and confused the situation. Michigan EIBC will continue to work to address these issues in 2019.
Growth Capital Network
Growth Capital Network manages education and development programs for the innovation and entrepreneurial community. This has included the million-dollar Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition (AMIC), researcher education for Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization program (M-TRAC) and the Midwest Green Technology Entrepreneur Academy (MI-GTEA). GCN also provides analytical and evaluative services to measure the impact of entrepreneurial and innovation programs for the foundation and non-profit community.
Kent County Dept. of Public Works
The Kent County Department of Public Works, acting through the Board of Public Works, is an enterprise fund established by the Board of Commissioners to provide solid waste management services and water and sewer system construction, inspection and maintenance under contract with some local units of government. The Department of Public Works manages a landfill with a co-located gas-to-energy facility, transfer station, recycling and education center and a waste-to-energy facility in addition to a household hazardous waste and an unwanted pharmaceutical collection program. The Department of Public Works is committed to a fully integrated solid waste management system. This system includes: waste reduction, reuse and recycling, expanded education in resource recovery, incineration with electricity production and landfilling. Through its operations, the Department of Public Works helps protect the health and welfare of its residents and the environment.
Michigan Energy Stories
- Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a bill with near-unanimous support from the Legislature that would have clarified tax exemptions for residential and commercial solar installations.
- Michigan regulators fined DTE Energy $840,000 over improper power shut-offs to customers and billing practices.
- Consumers Energy Co. CEO Patti Poppe was recognized by Crains as a 2018 “Newsmaker” for her leadership in Michigan in eliminating coal as an energy source, approving a strong policy on renewable energy production, adopting electric charging stations and autonomous vehicles as a major growth strategy and committing the company to a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
- Since 2016, the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ campus about 70 miles southwest of Detroit has invested tens of thousands of dollars in clean energy.
- General Motors reportedly hit 200,000 electric vehicle sales by the end of 2018, triggering a phase-out of a federal tax credit over the next 15 months.
- Michigan EIBC’s Laura Sherman helped provide perspective for the MiBiz’s 2019 Energy Outlook, touching on Michigan EIBC’s work on EVs, distributed generation, and other priorities for the coming year.
- A new NRDC report shows that clean energy makes up a greater share of jobs in the rural areas of Michigan than in any other Midwestern state, with 1 out of every 24 rural jobs in clean energy industries.
- With three new large solar array projects in Lenawee County, Mich., Michigan EIBC member Harvest Energy Solutions is the first provider of solar energy to a utility in the region. The three solar installations — each of which is capable of 1.0 megawatts of AC output — are owned by Stateline Farms, Gerken Paving, and Harvest Solar Lenawee.
- The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) issued a report which highlighted its efforts over the past year, focusing on key takeaways while addressing possible issues for the new administration.
- Michigan EIBC member Powerhome Solar announced the launch of its new commercial division. Since inception, the company’s primary focus has been on residential solar panel installation in the six states it currently serves. The company’s Michigan locations are in Troy, Chesterfield and Grand Rapids.
- Like other American states, Michigan is slated to received several millions of dollars from the Volkswagen dirty diesel scandal settlement. It’s the Michigan Energy Office’s job to figure out how and where to spend it.
- The chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission says the state is in the midst of a “fundamental transition” toward clean energy as coal plants close.
- Downtown Marquette offers one of the few public electric vehicle charging stations in the Upper Peninsula, but the state of Michigan is looking to expand that type of infrastructure in the coming years.
- A western Michigan municipal utility expects to burn about 20 percent less coalthis year ahead of a planned shutdown in 2020.
- A plan to tunnel the Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac could also include additional transmission lines connecting Michigan’s peninsulas, but the cost and need for doing so remain unclear.
National Energy Stories
- Developers have secured financing to repurpose a former coal plant along Lake Michigan in Indiana into a data center. See here for background on the development.
- Indiana is estimated to have installed more than 140 MW of solar in 2018, far exceeding previous years.
- MidAmerican Energy plans an additional $922 million wind energy investment in Iowa to help reach a 100 percent renewable energy goal.
- Over the last three years, 14 states have enacted annual fees for electric vehicles to make up for lost gasoline tax revenue.
- Multiple Midwest utilities’ renewable energy pledges in 2018 make the region a leader in the clean energy transition.
- Duke Energy’s 2019 rebates for installing solar panels were used up by homeowners in just two days.
- Michigan EIBC member Petros PACE Finance closed a $24.9 Million C-PACE Financing in Nebraska in late December.
- FERC Commissioner Kevin McIntyre, who last year rejected a Trump administration plan to aid coal and nuclear, dies at 58.
- With financial backing of several automakers, a Colorado company is building the nation’s largest solid-state battery factory outside of Boulder.
- Clean energy developers have submitted “jaw dropping” low prices for six solar-plus-storage projects in Hawaii recently submitted to regulators for approval by the state’s largest electric utility.
Michigan Energy Events
Attend Automobli-D January 14-17, an event showcasing suppliers driving mobility technology, V2I connectivity, urban mobility, smart cities, building a mobility workforce, ride sharing, cybersecurity and autonomous technologies.
The North American International Auto Show is Jan. 14-27 in Detroit.
You are cordially invited to participate in the first meeting of the Third-Party Community Energy Projects Workgroup. The meeting will be held on Thursday, January 24, 2019 at 10 o’clock in the Lake Michigan Hearing Room of the Commission Office at 7109 West Saginaw Highway in Lansing. The meeting content will also be available remotely. A website with information regarding this workgroup (including agendas and contacts) may be found at https://www.michigan.gov/mpsc/0,4639,7-159-16393-484912–,00.html.
Michigan EIBC members and legislators are invited to save the date for the Institute for Energy Innovation’s Energy 101 event for legislators on February 20th at the Michigan Municipal League (208 N. Capitol Ave, Lansing; basement room) from 12:00 – 3:30pm.
Join Michigan EIBC on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 for our 7th Annual Member Meeting at the MSU Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center.
National Energy Events
Attend the Smart Cities International Symposium & Exhibition Jan. 22-24 in Chicago.
On January 23, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois, the Great Plains Institute and the diverse participants of the Midcontinent Transportation Electrification Collaborative (MTEC) will host a Transportation Electrification Summit.
The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Winter Policy Summit is February 10-13, 2019 in Washingtion DC. Click here for more information.
The 12th annual Storage Week is February 25-27 in San Francisco.
The Solar Power Finance & Investment Summit is March 19-21 in San Diego.
Attend the Midwest Renewable Energy Summit on April 16-18, 2019, in Chicago, IL.