Newsletter: Growth Continues in Renewable Build Through Corporate Goals

This newsletter was originally published on November 21, 2016.

Growth Continues in Renewable Build Through Corporate Goals

Michigan EIBC leadership, member companies, and Corporate Purchasers Roundtable (CPR) members joined 240 individuals from companies from across the US in a national conference hosted by General Motors in Detroit last week. The Business Renewables Center (BRC) conference focused on expanding the corporate renewable energy purchasing market by streamlining and accelerating the process of procuring large-scale wind and solar. This market had record-setting years in both 2014 and 2015 including important investments like those made by Steelcase with Michigan EIBC member Apex and Whirlpool as well as the goals to drive build like GM’s 100% by 2050.

The line-up included an opening keynote by Britta Gross of GM Director of Advanced Vehicle Commercialization policy for GM. Gross discussed GM’s advanced mobility strategy including a comparison of Bolt statistics to Volt statistics. GM tracks 1.5 billion electric miles driven out of the 2.5 billion total miles traveled by their EV fleet.

Corporate procurement of renewables continues to be commitments made for economic reasons and Gross shared that GM saves $5 million annually through use of renewable energy.

Michigan EIBC’s Corporate Purchasers Roundtable exists to inform Michigan businesses on opportunities to purchase renewable energy in Michigan, advocate for policies that allow for greater corporate renewable procurement, and connect companies with project developers and utilities offering renewable energy resources. Please email us if you want to participate!


Autonomous Vehicle Testing Facility Launches at Willow Run

In a reimagination of Michigan’s past, the historic Willow Run factory is being converted to a testing site for automated and connected vehicles. The State of Michigan continues to lead on advanced transportation by committing to innovative approaches to supporting the industry. A ribbon-cutting this week brought together many stakeholders interested in securing Michigan’s leadership role in the industry.

Autonomous vehicles are likely to be built on an EV platform which creates an important opportunity to enable many of the technologies that come along with the cars. The integration of a higher deployment of EVs has many implications on the grid including impact on load as well as grid support. McKinsey & Company, Inc. and Bloomberg Energy Finance predict that EV deployment could reach 40% in some parts of the world by 2030.

Many players are involved in supporting this effort including the state of Michigan, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the University of Michigan, the American Center for Mobility and more.


New/Renewing Members

CBS Solar

Located in the Village of Copemish, Contractors Building Supply, Inc.  has been in the renewable energy business for nearly 40 years.  We have a qualified team to meet all your renewable energy needs. From design and installation to energy assessing and consulting, CBS Solar is here to help you save money on your electric bill. From the smallest system for your home to the largest system for your business, CBS Solar has the experience and knowledge to do the job right!


Michigan Energy News

Advanced Energy Economy penned a blogpost about the steady progress around SB 437 and 438, the state’s energy overhaul bill which now includes a 5% increase in the RPS, but neglects to include the existing 50-50 market split provision.

These 10 Michigan businesses are renewing their call for increased renewable energy use and energy waste reduction in Michigan, Ceres reports.

Both The Monroe News and The Burton View highlighted their respective local state senators, Dale Zorn (R-Ida) and Jim Ananich (D-Flint), for being co-recipients of our “Public Official of the Year” award at our recent Energy Innovators Gala.

Indiana Michigan Power finished a new 4.6 MW solar system in Watervliet, the utilities fourth solar system in the last year, Daily Energy Insider reports.

Project Green Light, an initiative of the City of Detroit and DTE Energy, is offering thousands of dollars in rebates for LED lighting and energy efficiency upgrades to Detroit small business, Model D Media reports.

While Elon Musk is promoting his new building integrated solar-shingle, Luma Solar from Michigan is promoting their longstanding BIPV system, Fox 2 reports.

Despite the possibility of major policy changes nationally, DTE and Consumers Energy are still planning to retire their aging coal units, and market forces are pushing more towards advanced energy, Michigan Radio reports.

Convergen Energy, formerly Greenwood Fuels, just bought the at 20 MW biomass CHP plant in L’Anse, Biomass Magazine reports.

The Wisconsin Electric Power Company has filed to transfer its Michigan assets to a soon to be formed Michigan investor owned utility, Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corporation, the Houghton Daily Mining Gazette reports.

SF Motors, a Chinese-based electric vehicle company, is setting up an R&D center near Ann Arbor, Mlive reports.

Huron County collected responses to an online survey around their master plan, showing different opinions on wind power in the area, the Huron Daily Tribune reports.


National Energy News

The Tesla-SolarCity merger was finally approved by shareholders, 85 percent of them concurring with the move, Utility Dive reports.

Musk claims their solar shingles will cost less than a conventional roof, Bloomberg reports.

Microsoft is increasing their wind power usage by 237 MW, UPI reports.

More evidence highlighting changing market trends, industry leadership, and customer demands are moving the advanced energy agenda forward, regardless of the President-elect’s statements on energy policy, The Conversation reports.

Burlington, VT, is the first US city to be 100 percent renewable, and they are enjoying the benefits of cheap energy because of it, Politico reports.

SunShot, a DOE initiative to lower the cost of solar, is 90 percent of the way towards their 2020 goal, now looking for a 50 percent reduction between 2020 and 2030.

A combination of natural gas, renewable energy and energy efficiency will meet global energy demands by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency.

The Interchange Podcast from Green Tech Media discussed how Fortune 100 companies are buying so much renewable energy. The podcast includes Rob Threlkeld, general manager of renewable energy at General Motors and participant with our corporate purchasers roundtable.

Direct ownership of solar will overtake leases next year, according to a report from GTM Research.

General Motors signed a PPA with Renewable Energy Systems to procure a 50 MW wind farm in rural Texas, the companies single largest investment in advanced energy to date, Sustainable Brands reports.

Amazon is adding 180 MW of solar to their portfolio by the end of 2017, Yahoo Finance reports.

The White House issued a report outlining means of achieving deep decarbonization by 2050, largely through emission reductions in the electric generating sector, tapping more into advanced energy, UtilityDive reports.

The Energy Collective has a write up about the growing affordability of solar for middle-income households.

Michigan Energy Events
Join Michigan EIBC, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), and Wind on the Wires on Wednesday, November 30 for a Lansing Lobby Day.
Members of Michigan EIBC, AEE, and Wind on the Wires are invited to participate. We will start the day with coffee and pastries at Dykema for a briefing meeting before meeting with legislators.
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
ACEEE’s 2016 Intelligent Efficiency Conference will take place December 4-6 in Austin.  This annual event brings together leaders from the IT, telecom, energy efficiency, utility, solution provider, and policy sectors to share and learn how information and communications technology (ICT) can improve the use of energy.
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. is a national solar permitting database that provides information on permitting for solar in jurisdictions across the country. The database includes a variety of information, from average permit turnaround times, to information required to be included in the permit, to contact information for individual jurisdictions. You can browse the requirements for the Michigan cities included in the database here.
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.