New Initiative From Gov. Whitmer, Michigan CAT Interview and Powerley

Michigan EIBC Applauds Gov. Whitmer For New Advanced Energy Opportunities  

On Aug. 8 Gov. Whitmer announced that she has directed a number of state agencies to pursue renewable energy and energy efficiency practices, including reductions in energy use and the installation of on-site solar.

Whitmer presented the initiative as a chance for Michigan state government to “lead by example,” encouraging the private sector to embrace advanced energy, energy efficiency, and sustainability.

“By improving our government’s environmental footprint while lowering energy costs we’re able to prove that sustainable practices can and will work across our state from rural, forested locations to downtown Detroit,” the governor said in a statement.

The new steps include:
  • The Department of Technology, Management and Budget “is now aggressively working with state agencies to deepen those efforts and spread sustainable practices to the hundreds of buildings and structures owned by state government.” 
  • A new pilot program will conduct energy audits at the state-owned facilities in Michigan with the biggest energy footprints.
  • Another pilot will explore how to integrate renewable energy at state parks and state fish hatcheries, with a goal of using primarily solar power to offset electricity use.
  • The Department of Corrections is releasing a request for proposals for solar panels and energy performance improvements to make the St. Louis Correctional Facility the state’s first “green prison.”

“We are encouraged to see several state departments pursuing energy efficiency, solar and other advanced energy opportunities,” Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman said in a statement. “Michigan EIBC’s member companies are well-placed to partner with the state to execute the programs announced today. We commend the governor for making decisions that support the many advanced energy businesses in our state.”

Michigan EIBC’s Powerley Recognized For Smart Home Energy Management Innovations

Michigan EIBC member Powerley has been named the Smart Electric Power Alliance’s 2019 Change Agent of the year for its work partnering with utilities to transform their customers’ experience with an array of smart energy management technologies.

Based in Royal Oak, Powerley’s work centers around the idea that many utilities are missing out on a huge market by not unlocking the value of data for their customers. The company made the case in a recent blog post that utilities are in a unique position to serve consumers’ desire to optimize their energy use with data – which can mean figuring out the optimal hours to set your thermostat back to save on cooling costs, or identifying which pieces of equipment around your house are “silent energy vampires” that could save you money by being turned off.

“As the leader in smart home energy management, Powerley has not only created a new category of energy innovation, but also proven the commercial viability of smart home energy management,” according to the Smart Electric Power Alliance, or SEPA, which represents over 700 utilities on grid modernization solutions.

For example, Powerley has been a partner of DTE Energy. The Royal Oak-based company helped make DTE’s mobile app one of the most highly ranked in the industry.

As Powerley CEO Manoj Kumar explained in a recent interview with Electric Light & Power, “DTE Energy worked with us to rapidly develop and unlock the customer-side value proposition of the [advanced metering infrastructure] meter, enabling their customers to visualize energy usage, in real-time including every connected appliance and device within it.” The DTE Insight mobile app has created 15 million customer engagements, and DTE “is now delivering a curated DIY mass market solution for their customers to eliminate energy waste and reduce their bill through actionable insights developed through AI and energy usage data.” 

Powerley also has partnerships with utilities like BC Hydro, AEP Ohio and MidAmerican Energy.

Interview with a Michigan EIBC Member Company: Meet Kevin O’Connell of Michigan CAT

Michigan EIBC is initiating an interview series with our member companies. Let us know if your company would like to participate in the future!

Michigan CAT Power Systems is a member of Michigan EIBC and a provider of turnkey Combined Heat & Power (CHP) systems and many other energy solutions, like solar firming and waste-to-energy. Michigan EIBC talked to Michigan CAT Advanced Energy Systems Manager Kevin O’Connell about the innovative ways companies are managing their energy use and the kind of barriers that are preventing more of these projects from developing. [This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.]
You completed a project for Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo that is not only an interesting example of a value proposition in the clean energy business, but is also just downright cool. Can you tell us about it?
As Bell’s was growing, they ran into a situation where they were putting a larger burden on the local water treatment plant. They wanted to be a good corporate citizen.

They looked into putting their brewery waste into an anaerobic digester. It’s essentially a big keg with a set of bacteria they feed into it. That bacteria consumes the waste, and then produces methane. Methane goes into our generator to create electricity. Bell’s uses the electricity and captures the heat for hot water.

It’s a cost-saving measure: they’re using less water, less electricity and less natural gas to heat water.
What is the market for these kind of waste-to-energy projects like currently?
Most of our anaerobic digesters are being used to create renewable natural gas. Almost all instances where people buy our equipment is for renewable natural gas because tax credits make it more profitable. There are still healthy opportunities for growth in Michigan and the Midwest.

The interview continues here….


Save the Date – November 14

Michigan EIBC’s 7th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala will take place on Thursday, November 14 from 5:00 to 9:00 pm at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. During the gala, we celebrate businesses and individuals who are working to grow Michigan’s advanced energy sector. Advanced energy business leaders, state officials, MPSC staff, and legislators will be in attendance. Awards will be handed out at the event, and only Michigan EIBC members are able to nominate and vote for award winners. Sponsorship opportunities are available and can be found on our website. Individual ticket sales will open soon.

New Member

Ryzen Lighting Group
Ryzen Lighting Group focuses on improving the health and wellness of the planet, and its people through innovative LED solutions. Our Mission is to create a positive lighting experience that will provide people with energy efficient spaces in which to work and live.

Renewing Members

Helios Solar
Helios Solar provides turnkey solutions for Utility, Commercial, and Residential Photovoltaic Installations. Our founding principles of Environment, Economics, and Engineering guide our practices with the goal of designing and constructing the most efficient, value driven solar installations possible.

ITC Holdings Corp.
ITC Holdings Corp., the nation’s largest independent electricity transmission company, has two operating subsidiaries in Michigan: ITC Transmission and METC (collectively, ITC Michigan). The systems comprise 8,700 circuit miles of transmission line serving the majority of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. ITC’s focus on transmission and grid development drives operational excellence and delivers superior value for customers, communities and other stakeholders.

Mackinaw Power
Mackinaw Power is developing new renewable energy projects to provide power for the Great Lakes at competitive prices. Mackinaw Power also uses its experience within the wind industry to work with a variety of companies in Michigan to increase the supply chain for renewable energy technologies in the Midwest.

In 2003, Mackinaw Power acquired the assets of Bay Windpower, which developed the Great Lakes’ first privately developed wind power project. Mackinaw Power plans to be a catalyst for sustainable economic growth, environmental stewardship, and energy security. We are working to build sustainable communities to provide clean, affordable wind powered by harvesting the area’s wind resources.

Mackinaw Power is investing in Michigan’s future generations. We look forward to working with you to create renewable power that protects our Great Lakes, public health, and farm land.



Michigan Energy News

  • Before a joint committee of state House and Senate energy committee members, MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg outlined recommendations for improving the resiliency of the state’s energy supply, based on the MPSC’s Statewide Energy Assessment.
  • Also at that joint committee hearing, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters said the state needs to do more to confront rising energy costs.
  • Brandy Brown, the state’s new climate and energy advisor, explains why she thinks universities and the transportation industry must be key players in Michigan’s clean energy future.
  • Of Michigan’s counties, Kent County has received the most rebates for public EV charging stations under Consumers Energy’s PowerMIDrive program.
  • Several environmental groups say that Democratic presidential candidates at recent debates in Detroit gave distressingly little attention to Great Lakes environmental issues.
  • In an interview Ford CEO Jim Hackett talks about how Ford will compete with EV competitors like Tesla.

National Energy News

  • The U.S. wind industry is having trouble finding qualified workers, while many graduates of wind training programs cannot find jobs, according to a federal survey.
  • The Power for America Training Trust Fund and the AFL-CIO-affiliated Utility Workers Union of America announce a new apprenticeship program intended to produce “triple-threats”: workers who can seamlessly move between solar, wind and battery storage facilities.
  • Energy savings targets are the most effective state-level, utility-sector energy efficiency policy, according to a new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
  • Resistance to net metering is hindering the growth of renewable energy around the country.
  • MidAmerican Energy is planning to add more EV charging stations in Iowa, despite the state’s recent imposition of new fees on EVs.
  • Wisconsin’s largest-ever solar project involves a complex deal with many partners, resulting in a dairy cooperative being able to go 100% renewable.
  • Utilities are missing out on opportunities with microgrids, according to senior associates with the Rocky Mountain Institute.
  • A new North Carolina state law exempts EV charging stations from regulation as public utilities if they sell electricity by the kilowatt-hour.
  • ranking of the top locations for sustainable development ranks Grand Rapids as the top metro area in the country based on criteria like LEED buildings and corporate social responsibility.
  • The U.S. energy storage market interconnected a total of 760.3 MWh last year, an increase of 44.9% over 2017, according to a new report published Tuesday by the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA).

Michigan Energy Events

Michigan EIBC member Energy Sciences is conducting training sessions on the current Michigan Energy Code, which was recently revised with new requirements for lighting, HVAC, building envelope, motors, commissioning and more. These training sessions are sponsored by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. They are free to attend but you must register for a specific session. Links for each session are listed below:

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is hosting a luncheon on Aug. 28 at Grand Valley State University featuring Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe. Learn more here.

Michigan EIBC’s 9th EV Convening is on Sept. 17 at the Michigan Municipal League in Lansing. 

Michigan Energy Options is holding a Summer Solar Webinar Series. On Sept. 19, Marta Tomic of Vote Solar will discuss community solar projects.

The Battery Show’s North America 2019 conference on Sept. 12 to 19 in Novi will feature exhibitors and speakers covering all stages of the advanced battery supply chain. Learn more here.

For those interested in all sustainability issues, tickets are now available for the Rise Up & Drawdown Michigan conference at DeVos Conference Center in Grand Rapids on Sept. 25. Also see the exhibitor opportunity listed below.

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is throwing its 25th Anniversary celebration at Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids on Oct. 16. Check this link, which will be updated with more information soon.


National Energy Events

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s U.S. Commercial Service is holding Discover Global Markets: Powering & Building the Middle East & Africa in Houston, Texas from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. This event is for companies who want to learn how to enter the renewable energy, electricity infrastructure, construction, engineering, transportation and oil & gas sectors in the Middle East & Africa. There is also the opportunity to pre-schedule meetings at the event with U.S. commercial diplomats. Learn more here.

Register here for Advanced Energy Now | West, Advanced Energy Economy’s regional energy policy conference, to be held Oct. 16 to 17 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Energy Storage North America’s 2019 Conference & Expo is in San Diego from Nov. 5 to 7.

The U.S. Commercial Service has also organized the Clean Energy and Zero Emission Vehicle Technologies Trade Mission to Mexico from November 18 to 23. This one-week trip for U.S. companies involves one-on-one meetings, conferences, roundtables, a networking reception and OEM and tier 1 plant visits with the automotive and clean energy industry in Mexico. Contact U.S. Commercial Service Mexico Energy Industry Specialist Claudia Salgado at The U.S. Commercial Service is also offering free consultancies for Michigan EIBC members interested in these business sectors in Mexico.



The Michigan Energy Office’s Small Manufacturers Energy Waste Reduction Incentive Pilot is offering rebates of up to $15,000 per company for small manufacturers that can implement energy efficiency activities between Oct. 1, 2019 and July 31, 2020. There is a 100% minimum match requirement. Click here to learn more about eligibility and apply.

Click here to learn more about reserving an exhibitor table at the Rise Up & Drawdown Michigan conference in Grand Rapids on Sept. 25.