New Approaches to Grid Planning Needed, Energy Industry Is Behind on Diversity and More Advanced Energy News

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 Calls for New Approaches to Grid Planning in Light of Outages

Michigan’s electric distribution grid is struggling with two related problems: insufficient maintenance in prior years has led to aging grid infrastructure that is prone to outages, and a changing climate is increasing pressure on this already-strained grid. Regulators and utilities need to adapt to these changing circumstances in order to maintain the reliability and resilience of the grid. That is why Michigan EIBC and Advanced Energy Economy have filed two separate sets of comments in response to the Michigan Public Service Commission’s (MPSC) request for stakeholder feedback on whether utility planning processes are sufficient to face this new reality. 

In comments filed today, Michigan EIBC and AEE called for distribution plans developed by Michigan’s investor-owned utilities to be broader in scope and to ensure that the potential value provided by alternatives to spending on grid infrastructure like energy efficiency and distributed energy resources (DERs) are considered throughout the planning process. “It is important for Michigan’s utilities to recognize the ways in which new technologies, such as [DERs], are not simply changes that the utility must accommodate but are resources that the utility can integrate effectively to enhance reliability and resilience,” the comments said.

Utility incentives need to change as well, which is why the MPSC has required the utility distribution plans to include initial steps toward performance-based ratemaking rules, in which the utility receives incentives (or penalties) for achieving (or failing to achieve) performance goals like improved reliability. Michigan EIBC and AEE encouraged the utilities to move more quickly and in a more comprehensive manner toward performance-based ratemaking with an eye toward efforts already underway in states like New York and Hawaii. 

The MPSC also asked for comments on whether planning processes that rely on historical weather data are sufficient given these new weather patterns. In response, Michigan EIBC and AEE argued that the MPSC should direct utilities to consider using updated climate models such as the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory’s Regional Climate Model, which can estimate flooding and other extreme weather risks down to the neighborhood level on a long timeline. “With these data and estimates, utilities can better understand long-term weather threats to their existing distribution and transmission system,” the comments said. “These data also allow utilities to make informed decisions regarding future grid investments and hardening measures.”  

Report Finds Clean Energy Industry Needs to Focus More on Diversity

The U.S. clean energy industry could do a much better job of integrating women and people of color into its workforce, according to the first-ever comprehensive report on diversity in this industry.

“Black and Hispanic/Latino workers are more poorly represented in clean energy than they are across the rest of the economy,” according to the report, written by BW Research Partnership for E2, the Alliance to Save Energy, the American Association of Blacks in Energy, Black Owners of Solar Services (BOSS), and Energy Efficiency for All. While 13% of the workforce across the nation is black, only 8% of the clean energy workforce is, and while Hispanic/Latino workers are 18% of the general workforce, clean energy is only 16.5% Hispanic/Latino.

Women, meanwhile, make up 30% of clean energy jobs, despite representing 48% of all jobs.

The study drew upon data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2021 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) and looked at the renewable generation, energy efficiency, electric, hybrid and alternative fuel vehicle, energy storage and biofuels and biomass sectors. Among the report’s recommendations aimed at making the clean energy industry more equitable are a call for increased investments in apprenticeship programs that serve underrepresented communities and the creation of green banks that invest in those communities.

This October: Energy Storage Convening In-Person at Advanced Battery Concepts

On Oct. 18 the Institute for Energy Innovation and Michigan EIBC, with support from the Michigan Department of Great Lakes, Environment and Energy (EGLE) and Michigan EIBC member Advanced Battery Concepts, are presenting the 4th Energy Storage Convening, an in-person event to be held at Advanced Battery Concepts’ facility in Clare, Mich. Advanced Battery Concepts recently announced the launch of a new addition to the microgrid storage market, the Home Emergency Energy Storage project, which will provide homeowners and small commercial business owners with emergency power.

This event will focus on the reuse and recycling of energy storage technologies and participants will discuss how policymakers and businesses can best pursue second-life opportunities for battery technologies to keep both costs and environmental impact down. Opening remarks will come from Michigan State University Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Dr. Annick Anctil, a leading researcher in life cycle analysis and waste for energy technologies. An industry panel including Advanced Battery Concepts CEO Ed Shaffer and Renewance COO Tom Newell will discuss economic and technical aspects of the reuse and recycling of batteries.

In addition to the topical discussion, the event will include a tour of the facility and a boxed lunch. Click here to RSVP (at no cost).  

New Member

Highland Electric Fleet
Highland Electric Fleets is a comprehensive turnkey solutions provider that delivers electric school buses (EVSB) to school districts and third-party managed fleet providers (3PMs). We offer a model involving financing, infrastructure, vehicle deployment, and maintenance in an easily digestible, economic format that enables EVSB acquisition at traditional diesel cost of ownership. Our mission is to eliminate the barriers to better student health and cleaner air. We aim to mitigate risk for our customers, increase EVSB market penetration, and deliver positive impacts across a broad spectrum of stakeholders: students, communities, school districts, fleet operators, manufacturers, and utilities.

Renewing Members

Founded in 2002 as 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, NextEnergy works with innovators to accelerate smarter, cleaner, more accessible solutions for communities and cities. Since its inception, NextEnergy has worked with more than 400 companies, universities, federal agencies, and philanthropic organizations to drive more than $1.5 billion in advanced energy and mobility technology investments.

Based in the center of Detroit’s growing innovation district with access to a microgrid, smart home, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and an alternative fuels platform, we demonstrate and pilot technologies in real-world environments to gather data and diverse user-experiences. This process helps us to quickly scale and deploy solutions by accelerating commercialization with a specific focus on smart mobility and smart grid. Our depth of experience, technical knowledge and established network of partners have enabled us to develop effective programs and pilots and facilitate new relationships to help our clients achieve their commercialization goals.

Contact us today to learn how you can start transforming your ideas and technology into smarter, cleaner more accessible solutions to create a better quality of life for all. To learn more visit or call 313.833.0100.

Peracchio & Company, LLC
John Peracchio provides strategic consulting services in the intelligent transportation systems (“ITS”) sector and automotive industry for strategic and investor clients. His focus is on deployment of mobility solutions across transportation modes, especially those involving connected and highly automated vehicles as well as innovation in transaction management and payments processing.

From February 2017 to April 2020, Mr. Peracchio served as chair of the Michigan Council on Future Mobility having been appointed by Michigan’s governor. The council, within the Michigan Department of Transportation, provided policy recommendations to promote the development of technologies for autonomous, automated, and connected vehicles, and to enhance personal mobility. Currently, Mr. Peracchio serves as a senior advisor to the succeeding Michigan Council on Future Mobility and Electrification and leads the council’s electrification workgroup.

Mr. Peracchio has been active with the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, an association of public and private entities operating in the ITS and connected/automated vehicle sectors around the world and currently serves on its Standing Committee on Smart Infrastructure. He was a member of the organizing committee of the 2018 ITS America Annual Meeting in Detroit and is a former member of the Board of Directors of the World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems. He also chaired the International Program Committee for the 2011 ITS World Congress with responsibility for organizing all technical, special, executive, and plenary sessions at this event.

From November 2018 to September 2019, Mr. Peracchio was employed by Conduent Transportation, an integrated provider of tolling, transit, parking, and public safety transportation solutions and a business unit of Conduent, Inc. (NYSE: CNDT). He held the positions of General Manager – Mobility Solutions and Strategy and Interim Chief Executive Officer.

In January 2007, Mr. Peracchio resigned his position as Senior Vice President, Business Administration and Legal Affairs of Harman/Becker Automotive Systems, a global business unit of Harman International Industries. Employed by Harman/Becker from 1997 to 2007, Mr. Peracchio held several senior operating, executive positions and finally had worldwide responsibility for business administration, legal affairs, human resources, facilities, health, and safety. He also acted as designated business leader in the negotiation of technology licenses, strategic alliances, joint ventures, and acquisitions.

Mr. Peracchio received his Juris Doctor degree from Columbia University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of Feonix – Mobility Rising, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the transportation needs of underserved and underprivileged communities.  He is a member of the American Public Transportation Association, the International Bridge, Tunnel & Turnpike Association, ITS Canada, and the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council.  He also is a member of the New York and Michigan bars and an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers.

Michigan State University
Sustainability is a Spartan Priority. Our land grant roots power our vision for the future. Established in 1855 as the nation’s pioneer land-grant university and Michigan’s first agricultural college, MSU was called upon to address growing areas of concern in the country: education, agriculture, infrastructure and science. Today, MSU’s 5,200 acre campus is still home to leading research, as well as cutting-edge technologies, award-winning programs and thousands of Spartans working to make a difference every day – addressing sustainability challenges across all disciplines. With dynamic facilities like the South Campus Anaerobic Digester, the Student Organic Farm and the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, MSU continues to serve as a beacon for innovative leaders who want to use their educational experience to shape the solutions of tomorrow. MSU continues to set a standard of sustainability excellence for universities globally: by eliminating the use of coal at the T.B. Simon Power Plant in 2016, building the largest solar covered parking area in the nation and continuing to invest in student research, cross-disciplinary partnerships and expanded building efficiencies.

Spartans are at the forefront of discovery, building on a foundation of strong core values to deliver high-impact results to the campus community and beyond. Guided by a powerful vision and mission, MSU strives to enable Spartans to conduct this important work on a campus that delivers on efficiency and innovation.

Ranger Power
Ranger Power is a solar energy development company. Led by an experienced team, the company is committed to working closely with landowners to bring new investment and clean energy to their communities.


Michigan Energy News

  • Gov. Whitmer and the governors of Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin announce the creation of a Regional Electric Vehicle for the Midwest Memorandum of Understanding, a partnership for the region to direct more resources into vehicle electrification.
  • General Motors accelerates its timeline for powering all its U.S. facilities with 100% renewable energy from 2030 to 2025.
  • The Michigan Department of Great Lakes, Environment and Energy will give grants to Michigan EIBC member Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University, as well as the University of Michigan, for work on asset mapping to identify opportunities for wind, solar, geothermal, and other clean energy technologies.
  • Consumers Energy announces it is expanding its Bring Your Own Charger EV charging program.
  • University of Michigan researchers are calling upon residents of Washtenaw and Wayne counties to participate in a study on the impacts of the widespread deployment of home heat pumps.
  • Michigan business leaders, including Michigan EIBC member Walker-Miller Energy Services, call for Congress to pass the budget reconciliation bill and that its passage can boost local economies.

National Energy News

  • Michigan EIBC member SunPower announces an initiative to improve access to distributed energy in marginalized communities and increase diversity among its workforce and contractors.
  • FERC’s decision to allow the mid-Atlantic grid operator PJM to scale back the Minimum Offer Pricing Rule is good news for renewable energy, particularly offshore wind.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy is using AI and machine learning to improve its research efforts into long-duration energy storage.
  • The DOE forms a consortium to determine how to provide the frequency pulse at the core of alternating-current power through 100% clean energy.
  • Recognizing the reliability value of distributed energy is an important goal of solar advocates as they clash with other groups over setting California’s new distributed energy tariff.
  • Lordstown Motors is selling its Ohio plant, formerly a GM facility, to Taiwan’s Foxconn.


Job Board

We are debuting a new section of the newsletter for Michigan EIBC members to post job openings in advanced energy fields. 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 Please include in the email a specific end date for the job posting.

Inovateus Solar

Positions: Construction Manager, Business Development Manager, Design Engineer, South Bend, IN

Inovateus Solar is hiring for several positions in South Bend. Check out the company’s LinkedIn page for more information.

Michigan Saves

Position: Director of Clean Energy Financing

The director of clean energy financing will support the Michigan Saves program, a clean energy financing nonprofit staffed by Public Sector Consultants. Michigan Saves addresses financing gaps to ensure that everyone — no exceptions — has access to the benefits of clean energy. Applications are due Oct. 17.

NOVI Energy

Position: Project Engineer, Novi, MI

NOVI Energy is growing, and they need your help. This month, they announced a joint venture with Osaka Gas USA to develop over 1000 MW of solar power generation facilities, enough solar and storage to power more than 150,000 homes with clean, affordable energy while creating good-paying jobs. This is one of several exciting projects NOVI Energy is developing! Learn more about their company and available Project Engineer positions. See open positions here.  

Michigan and National Energy Events

OnOct. 7, local, national and international HVAC and appliance companies are holding the 1st Annual Electric Appliance Showcase in a tent on the Michigan Capitol’s south front lawn. The showcase will debunk misinformation and show how feasible it is to switch to electric home appliances, HVAC systems and emerging technologies. A free boxed lunch will be provided while supplies last. The showcase is free and open to the public to attend.

On Oct. 4 at 10:30 am, the Institute for Energy Innovation will host a virtual Energy 101 education session for legislators and members focused on the role of distributed energy resources such as solar, energy storage, and energy management technologies in increasing Michigan’s resilience to extreme weather events and power outages. Members have received a calendar invite (email if you did not receive the invite!). 

The PlugVolt Battery Seminar 2021 in Plymouth, Mich., will feature an entire day of in-depth technical tutorials presented by world renowned professors from Top 50 US universities on Day 1, followed by Days 2 and 3 with industry subject matter experts presenting on Automotive and Stationary Storage applications respectively. Attendees will also get an exclusive opportunity to tour INTERTEK Battery Testing Center of Excellence in Plymouth, MI (USA). The seminar is scheduled for Oct. 5-7, and registration is open here

On Oct. 18 the Institute for Energy Innovation and Michigan EIBC, with support from the Michigan Department of Great Lakes, Environment and Energy (EGLE) and Michigan EIBC member Advanced Battery Concepts, are presenting the 4th Energy Storage Convening, an in-person event to be held at Advanced Battery Concepts’ facility in Clare, Mich. RSVP (at no cost) here.

The Distributed Wind Energy Association’s DIstributed Wind 2021 Conference and Lobby Day in Arlington, Va., has been postponed to Nov. 15-18. Tickets can be purchased for in-person attendance or virtual attendance

The U.S. Energy Storage Association Annual Conference & Expo (#ESACon21) will convene December 1-3 in Phoenix to bring together buyers, sellers, investors, and leaders in the energy storage industry for an event focused on driving deals and business in the energy storage industry. The #ESACon21 is a must attend for anyone looking to expand their business, invest in, or develop partnerships in the energy storage industry. Learn more hereRegister using this link and use code “MIEIBC2021” for a 5% discount on nonmember passes.

Gov. Whitmer created the Council on Climate Solutions as an advisory body to help formulate and implement the MI Healthy Climate Plan. The council is holding a series of meetings throughout the year on various topics related to cutting Michigan’s CO2 emissions and recommending solutions for communities disproportionately affected by climate change. Go to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy Office of Climate and Energy website to learn how to join these meetings.  


Michigan EIBC member Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University is now accepting applications for its C3 Accelerator. Apply here by Jan. 10, 2022. C3 is a growth stage Accelerator with up to $1.6M in funding in the form of grants, investments, and services to support the product development and scaling of Cleantech, Climatech, and Circular Economy technologies.

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: Use “Guess 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

Consumers Energy Company is planning to seek competitive bids in response to a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) from participants in the MISO Energy Market in accordance with the Company’s Proposed Course of Action in its Integrated Resource Plan. Enel X North America, Inc. will administer the solicitation and anticipates formally releasing the upcoming RFP and associated documents late September 2021. Questions pertaining to this RFP or the proposal submittal process can be sent via email to Enel X by way of

The Lansing Board of Water and Light will issue a Request for Information for electricity storage by the end of September. Vendors can register 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.

The Detroit 2030 District is a free program that challenges Detroit building owners and managers to reduce wasted energy. Those that achieve the greatest reductions from the prior-year baseline will be recognized at the first annual Detroit Energy Challenge Award Ceremony in 2021. Visit to find out more information including how a building can apply.