Newsletter: Efficiency Programs Generate $5.2 Billion in Ratepayer Savings

This newsletter was originally published on December 5, 2016.

MPSC Report: Efficiency Programs Generate $5.2 Billion in Ratepayer Savings

The Michigan Public Service Commission released its annual report on Michigan’s Energy Optimization standard, noting that Michigan ratepayers have saved more than $5.2 billion since 2008 as a result of the state mandated efficiency programs. The report also shows that for every dollar spent on energy efficiency in 2015, ratepayers saved $4.35 – a total of $1.08 billion in savings last year.

Added in 2008, electric utilities in Michigan are required to reduce energy usage equal to one percent of their annual retail sales, three-quarters of one percent for natural gas utilities. A current legislative package would keep the energy efficiency program through 2021, renaming it the “Energy Waste Reduction Standard.” After such a time the MPSC is permitted to approve energy waste reduction plans from the utilities that are higher or lower than the existing programs.

Michigan EIBC hailed the report’s findings, which should serve as a call to action for the legislature to continue to invest in energy efficiency and build on the proven success of the energy efficiency standard going forward.


Governor’s Infrastructure Commission Calls for $4 Billion in Additional Annual Infrastructure Spending

The 21st Century Infrastructure Commission wrapped up its work with a report to Governor Snyder that makes the case for $59.8 billion in additional public spending on infrastructure over the next 20 years to address a range of priorities, including transportation, water and sewer systems, telecommunications, and energy. The report, which was publicly unveiled yesterday by Governor Snyder at an event in Dearborn, calls for improving water safety by replacing aging systems, investing in roads and bridges while also looking to boost passenger rail and mobility efforts, modernizing the electric grid to eliminate power outages, and making Michigan a top-five state for broadband internet service.

In addition, the report also calls for the establishment of a Michigan Infrastructure Council to oversee coordination of infrastructure investment, including the development of a state infrastructure database to track needs and assets.

The Commission’s Report also included fifteen pages of recommendations involving Michigan’s energy infrastructure. These upgrades, which would be funded by ratepayer investments, include ensuring resource adequacy to meet Michigan’s energy needs; expanding efforts to reduce energy waste; obtaining 30% of Michigan’s energy needs from energy efficiency and renewable energy; reducing the frequency and duration of electricity outages; increasing the safety of Michigan’s natural gas distribution infrastructure by accelerating pipeline replacement timelines; continuing efforts to make Michigan’s energy regulatory framework more adaptable; increasing the security of Michigan energy infrastructure assets; and enhancing Michigan’s competitive position through competitive energy prices, flexible rate structures, and expanding demand response and other programs to help companies control their energy costs.


Michigan EIBC Advocates for Strong Advanced Energy Policies in Lansing

Last week, as the legislature returned to Lansing for a possible vote on SB 437 and SB 438, Michigan EIBC was there to ensure the final version of the legislation upholds our major priorities: grow the advanced energy industry, maintain strong policy signals and ensure market access for renewable energy companies. Over the course of three days, Michigan EIBC members and staff met with over 40 House offices from both sides of the aisle, including a joint lobby day on Wednesday that included businesses with Michigan EIBC, Advanced Energy Economy and Wind on the Wires.

Since introduced, the bills have changed significantly, making significant progress from their original form. The package as introduced last year repealed the state’s renewable portfolio standard and energy optimization standard for electric utilities. Now, it keeps the EO standard, adding new incentives for energy efficiency, and grows the RPS to 12.5 percent by 2021 and 15 percent by 2022, with a local capacity requirement.
Unfortunately, the 50-50 market split in the existing RPS is not in the legislation, meaning there is no guarantee that independent developers will be able to build in Michigan – or that ratepayers will see the benefits of non-utility built projects. Furthermore, there are still concerns with the changes to net metering, and the Senate versions don’t contain language from the House side that would move towards a more interconnected transmission grid serving both Michigan peninsulas.

There’s a lot going on – groups opposing the legislation continue to weigh in, while others continue to work to improve the legislation – and Michigan EIBC will continue to push to ensure our members’ priorities are represented in the final version of this legislation. Want to make sure your business has a seat at the table?  Join Michigan EIBC for an introductory rate of $350!


Michigan Energy Forum to Visit Michigan CAT in Lansing

Please join Michigan EIBC on Friday, December 9 from 9:00 to 11:00 am for a networking meeting and tour at the Michigan CAT facility in Lansing. Patrick Bowland, General Manager & CEO of the Michigan Public Power Agency, will make a presentation at the meeting.

Register today!

The tour will highlight Michigan CAT’s entire facility which was opened in February of this year. It is a state-of-the-art full service facility for the power systems, heavy equipment, and truck segments of their business. On the tour, attendees will see the parts department and service shops, including the 8,000 square foot gas engine overhaul facility. Additionally, guests will tour the paint booth and get a chance to see a 5000 HP dynamometer for testing of both gas and diesel engines. The tour will give guests a chance to get up close with some of the large equipment and provide a glimpse into the many different markets Michigan CAT serves.

Tentative Timeline:

8:45-9:00 am – Registration/Coffee & Pastries

9:00-10:00 am – Networking Time, Welcome by Michigan CAT, and Remarks by Patrick Bowland, General Manager & CEO of Michigan Public Power Agency

10:00-11:00 am – Guided Tour of Michigan CAT Facility
This meeting is free for Michigan EIBC members and $25 for non-members. To RSVP, please register here.

Interested in membership with Michigan EIBC? New members receive an introductory rate of $350 for the first year. For more information, please contact Nicole Forward.


New/Renewing Members

Lincus Inc.

Lincus works with electric and gas utilities – and their commercial, industrial and agricultural customers – to find and implement energy savings. Our services include: Energy Engineering and Consulting, Program Design and Management, Evaluation Monitoring and Verification, and Software Solutions. Lincus is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona and has an industry leading record with DSM/DR solutions in Arizona and California. We are currently expanding our services in the Midwest and Southwest. Lincus brings deep energy efficiency engineering capability and expertise – combined with innovation – to deliver maximize savings from complex commercial and industrial loads.


Michigan Energy News

Michigan’s nuclear power fleet is on good financial standing through 2021. After that, it becomes less certain, Midwest Energy News reports.

A public hearing has been set for a $1 billion natural gas plant proposal in Niles, Mlive reports.

Lowell City Council and city-owned Lowell Light & Power announced three motions at a special meeting on December 1 that signify their efforts to shutdown the Lowell AD biodigester, Wood TV 8 reports.

A public hearing for a moratorium on wind turbines in the 16 townships zoned by Huron County has been set for December 14, Huron Daily Tribune reports.

The MPSC has directed staff to develop new rules to strengthen utility cyber security, Utility Dive reports.


National Energy News

Congressional lawmakers are working to merge the two different Energy Bills into a piece of legislation that the President would sign. If done, this would be the first bipartisan energy package passed in almost a decade, Utility Dive reports.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), has proposed a new rule requiring regional transmission organizations and independent system operators to create rules for energy storage to participate in wholesale markets, Green Tech Media reports.

Michigan EIBC member company Renovate America issued its first Green Bond Impact Report, highlighting the Renovate’s HERO PACE Bond program, the first asset-backed securities platform to solely produce green bonds.

Secretary for Energy Ernest Moniz stated that the Department of Energy programs created under the Obama Administration are going to need to show their value to be kept in the incoming Trump Administration, Utility Dive reports.

75 percent of those who voted for President-elect Trump support “action to accelerate the deployment and use of clean energy,” with the same percentage wanting to see the pace of wind development maintained or increased.

Roads paved with solar will be built on four continents next year, Bloomberg reports.

Wind energy is now very close to 15 percent of Texas’ energy portfolio, Green Tech Media reports.

Advanced Microgrid Solutions CEO Susan Kennedy believes private investment will help scale storage, and not federal subsidies, Utility Dive reports.

Deepwater Wind has completed testing on its 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm, the first offshore wind farm in the United States. Commercial operation is expected to begin in the next few days.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is offering nearly 80,000 acres for offshore wind development off the coast of New York, to be followed by an additional lease offering next year off the North Carolina coast.

Renewable advocates are urging Congress to extend the remaining tax credits for energy investment and production that weren’t extended last year, Morning Consult reports.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, over three-quarters of installed wind capacity were manufactured by three companies: GE, Siemens and Vestas.

E&E News has a piece on the future of marine energy technology.

Green Tech Media has a feature on how utilities can become energy efficiency innovators.

Kansas City Light and Power’s demand response program using smart thermostats is seen as a method of turning a home into a “battery at the end of the day,” Utility Dive reports.

Michigan Energy Events
Petros PACE Finance, Lean and Green Michigan, and the Groundwork Center are hosting a happy hour in Traverse City around advanced energy financing on Thursday, December 8, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm. Register here.
Michigan EIBC is hosting a Michigan Energy Forum networking event on Friday, December 9 from 9:00 to 11:00 am in Lansing. The Forum includes networking and a tour of Michigan CAT Lansing manufacturing facility. Michigan Energy Forum events are free for Michigan EIBC members, and $25 for non-members. Register here.

National Energy Events
Advanced Energy Economy is holding a webinar, “Advanced Energy Year in Review: What happened in 2016 – and what to expect in 2017,” on December 15, at 1pm EST. Register here.

The International District Energy Association (IDEA), Microgrid Resources Coalition (MRC), and Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will host a joint briefing on “District Energy, CHP, Microgrids: Resilient, Efficient Energy Infrastructure” on December 6 in Washington D.C. A livestream of the briefing will be available starting at 9:30 Eastern at
Greentech Media is hosting the 2016 U.S. Energy Storage Summit on December 7-8 in San Francisco.  The Summit brings together utilities, financier, regulators, technology innovators, and storage practitioners for presentations, industry panels, and high-level networking opportunities.
The 15th annual Cleantech Forum will take place January 23-25 in San Francisco. This annual gathering brings together the global cleanteach innovation community for three days to network, chart the future, and get deals done.  

Additional Resources
MI Agency for Energy Issuing RFP for Industrial Energy Efficiency
The Michigan Agency for Energy’s Energy Office has issued a Request-for-Proposals (RFP) for small business manufacturers interested in investing in retooling projects that result in energy waste reduction in manufacturing processes and/or the manufacturing of clean energy technologies. Proposals are due by Dec. 12.
The RFP is open to small manufacturers with 500 or fewer employees located in Michigan. Eligible projects are those that decrease energy waste in manufacturing processes (e.g. combined heat and power) or increase manufacturing of energy efficient technologies.
A total of $100,000 in funding is available.  Grant awards will range from $25,000 to $50,000 for equipment purchases only, with a 4-to-1 match requirement of cash or in-kind services. Funds for the Retooling and Manufacturing grant program come from the U.S. Department of Energy through MAE’s Energy Office.
The RFP is located here.

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant cycle is now open, awarding grants for renewable energy projects in rural communities and agricultural areas. REAP is open to Agricultural Producers and Rural Small Businesses. Grants can be used for the purchase, installation, and construction of a Renewable Energy System or Energy Efficiency Improvement. Rural Small Business Projects must be located in a rural area with populations of 50,000 or less. The Agricultural Producer Projects can be located in rural or non-rural areas. REAP Grants provide a 25% cash reimbursement of the total system costs, with a maximum grant of $500,000 for Renewable Energy Systems and $250,000 for Energy Efficiency Improvements.
Applications for projects with Total Project Costs of $80,000 or less are accepted through Monday, October 31, 2016. Applications for projects with Total Project Costs greater than $80,000 are accepted through Monday, May 1, 2017.
The Application Templates and Forms are available at USDA Rural Development Offices or the National Website at: under Forms and Resources.
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is home to PowerSuite, a suite of tools that allows companies a one-stop on-line portal to search, track, and collaborate on state legislation and regulatory proceedings from around the country.
PowerSuite includes both BillBoard, the AEE dashboard for managing state legislation, and DocketDash, the AEE dashboard for managing state public utility commission proceedings. Subscription required.
The U.S. Department of Energy is offering A Guide to Federal Finance Facilities Available for Energy Efficiency Upgrades and Clean Energy Deployment. The downloadable guide provides information about the various federal financing programs available for energy efficiency and renewable energy — making it easier for state, local and tribal leaders, along with their partners in the private sector, to find capital for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
The Department of Energy offers free public access to accepted peer-reviewed manuscripts or published scientific journal articles from projects funded by the DOE within 12 months of publication.