- 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:
State Sen. Roger Victory (R-Hudsonville), a sponsor of S.B. 695
Bill Supported by Industrial Customers Looks to Expand Retail Electric Choice
A new bill in the state legislature would expand the abilities of large industrial customers to get power from sources other than their regulated utility, including distributed energy projects.
S.B. 695 is supported by the Association of Businesses Advocating for Tariff Equity (ABATE). Under current law, utility customers can participate in an electric choice market in which they can select an alternative retail electric supplier, but participation is limited to no more than 10% of the default utility’s electricity sales. That cap has been filled, meaning there is a waiting list for customers who want to pick alternative suppliers.
The bill would change this law so that “an eligible industrial customer may purchase electricity from an alternative electric supplier, regardless of whether the sales exceed 10% of the serving electric utility’s average weather-adjusted retail sales, if the eligible industrial customer enters into a power supply contract with an alternative electric supplier that, for a duration no less than 3 years, provides capacity for a minimum 80% of the eligible industrial customer’s projected annual peak load contribution value from a resource located within the same local resource zone or locational deliverability area in which the eligible industrial customer is located and agrees to provide a minimum of 5 years’ notice before returning to full utility service,” according to the text of the bill.
“Our organization represents large industrial energy customers and we’ve said for years the current 10% cap on electricity choice hampers economic development in Michigan,” ABATE Executive Director Rod Williamson said in a statement. “Ford’s latest decision to build outside of Michigan hinged on the cost of electricity. Michigan policymakers must address the high cost to power our state’s economic future, so businesses invest here and grow here.”
Battery Storage Convening Examines Second Life Opportunities for Batteries
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, were thrilled to host the 4th Energy Storage Convening in-person at Advanced Battery Concepts’ facility in Clare, MI. Attendees explored opportunities to reuse and recycle energy storage technologies, through presentations, small group discussions, and a tour of Advanced Battery Concepts’ facility.
The lunch featured opening remarks from Michigan State University Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Dr. Annick Anctil. Her research into the end-of-life management of renewable energy technologies points to how components of solar and storage projects can have a second life, expanding economic opportunity and reducing environmental impacts in the process. Then, the event featured an industry panel with Advanced Battery Concepts CEO Ed Shaffer, NextEnergy President and CEO Jim Saber, and Ganesh Balasubramanian, VP of Sales at Renewance, moderated by Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman. Attendees discussed challenges and opportunities to advance the market for reuse and recycling of energy storage technologies.
Michigan House Hearings Over Power Outages Continue
The Michigan House Energy Committee continued its investigation into Michigan’s issue with power outages with a hearing on Oct. 20 featuring executives of DTE, Consumers Energy and Indiana Michigan Power.
Last week, the committee held a hearing with MPSC Chair Dan Scripps in which several representatives voiced their frustration with utility practices and their interest in reforming utility business incentives to spur better performance.
This week’s hearing featured the utility executives each presenting how their company is working to harden the distribution grid through measures like enhanced tree trimming.
In the question and answer session, Rep. John Reilly (R-Oakland Township) asked Consumers Energy Vice President of Electric Operations Guy Packard about what kind of “creative ideas” it was pursuing to make customers more willing to cut down trees on their property. Packard said that while most customers are happy to have dead trees removed from their property, in many cases the utility needs to work with the customer and offer to plant a new tree to replace the one that is potentially affecting power lines. “There are other programs we are looking at from best practices of other utilities” to get more customer cooperation for tree trimming programs, Packard said.
Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham) questioned DTE Electric President and COO Trevor Lauer about what the utility was doing to go “beyond tree trimming” and get to the “heart of the matter” behind poor reliability. “Customers are frustrated but also looking for solutions that will get us through the future,” she said, such as distributed generation.
In response to Manoogian, Lauer mostly downplayed the role of distributed generation, saying solar panels without batteries do not have much value in outages. However, Michigan EIBC has cited the wealth of evidence that DG, including rooftop solar and paired solar plus battery systems spread across a utility service territory, can materially improve reliability. We address these points in our recent comments on utility distribution plans and how they should take a broader scope on solutions like DG and microgrids. Customer interest in DG has been supercharged in Texas due to the reliability problems there.
EDF Renewables Distributed Solutions partners with its customers to optimize renewable energy resources and related energy services. We originate, develop, build, and operate customer-focused energy projects that incorporate solar generation, energy storage, electric vehicle charging, energy storage management, or any combination of these energy offerings.
Orion Renewable Energy Group LLC
Orion is a pioneer in the development, finance, construction, and operation of renewable energy projects throughout the United States. The principals of Orion have developed over 5,000 MW of operating renewable power projects through power purchase agreements, development asset sales, and build-transfer arrangements.
Michigan Energy News
- “There are tangible, near-term steps to build a sustainable and resilient solar supply chain while bolstering U.S. manufacturing jobs if policymakers, purchasers and manufacturers all do their part,” former MPSC Chair and current Public Sector Consultants Senior Policy Fellow Sally Talberg writes in Utility Dive.
- A new study from Michigan State University researchers finds that expanding community solar can contribute $1.5 billion to the state’s economy over three decades.
- A hosting capacity study published by Michigan EIBC member ITC for the MPSC shows where new sources of generation can be built without requiring costly transmission upgrades.
- Vehicle electrification can help make a significant dent in air pollution that makes Detroit the 8th-worst city in the country for asthma-related deaths, according to an opinion piece from the Environmental Law & Policy Center and the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America Michigan Chapter.
- Michigan’s high level of natural gas storage capacity relative to the rest of the country means customers are not as exposed to rising natural gas prices this winter, according to the MPSC.
- The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is recognizing October as Weatherization Month.
National Energy News
- The Natural Resources Defense Council analyzes how federal legislation can jumpstart the construction of transmission lines.
- Mass electrification in the U.S. would create up to 25 million new jobs across every ZIP code, MacArthur Fellow Saul Griffith writes in an article about findings from the think tank Rewiring America.
- Newly revealed text messages indicate favors the former top utility regulator for Ohio made for FirstEnergy executives.
- Building more transmission lines connecting the Eastern and Western interconnections could produce $2.50 in benefits for every dollar spent, according to a study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
- Hy Stor Energy announces plans to build a green hydrogen facility in Mississippi that could produce 110,000 metric tons per year and store 70,000 metric tons in the project’s first phase in 2025.
- B2U Solutions has a commercial storage project with used EV batteries that is making money using power arbitrage strategies in California.
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 email@example.com. Please include in the email a specific end date for the job posting.
“As a senior retro-commissioning engineer with Energy Sciences, you will join our team of degreed and licensed engineers, scientists, and energy efficiency professionals to meet the energy use challenges of commercial and industrial facilities. We’re looking for experienced and talented technical team members to assist our clients, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, in making their building systems work, identifying energy-savings opportunities, reducing waste, and saving operating cost. You will play a key role in a growing company that is dedicated to driving our vision of a sustainable and socially responsible energy future, working in an exciting, collaborative environment.”
Inovateus Solar is hiring for several positions in South Bend. Check out the company’s LinkedIn page for more information.
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
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. Michigan EIBC members can register using code MIEIBC2021 for a 5% discount off nonmember passes. Learn more here.
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.
The U.S. Department of Energy has an opportunity for $105 million in funding for small businesses that are working to deploy clean energy technologies. “This funding opportunity is open to small businesses that have previously received SBIR or STTR grants to provide additional opportunities to compete for funding to develop working prototypes of their discoveries,” according to the DOE.
The Lansing Board of Water and Light has put out a Request for Information for Energy Storage. Responses are due Nov. 30. More information here.
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: www.michigan.gov/sigmavss. 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 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.
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 2030districts.org/Detroit to find out more information including how a building can apply.