Newsletter: Advanced Mobility is Driving Good News

This newsletter was originally published on October 31, 2016.

Advanced Mobility and Advanced Energy: Driving Good News

While the growing buzz over self-driving vehicles might worry Uber drivers, it should make utility executives smile, according to Utility Dive.

That’s because, as a recent Bloomberg business report says, most autonomous vehicles will be all-electric. That’s a brand-new electricity market that could boost utilities’ sales by 8 percent by 2040. And companies could meet it largely without investing in big, new power plants or beefier power lines.

As Navigant Research explains, utilities could build their own EV charging stations, backed by their own smart grids, and offer bargain prices during peak solar production hours. Combined with low nighttime rates, already an option in some markets, smart grids and charging stations would allow power companies to sell more power by using all of their power plants—coal, gas, wind, solar, and battery storage—more effectively and efficiently.

And, as a Rocky Mountain Institute report explains, utilities could move beyond today’s classic demand management technique—remotely pausing appliances and HVAC systems to meet demand spikes—to borrowing power from hooked-up EVs when it’s needed and available, and crediting the vehicle owner.

There’s even an electric vehicle afterlife utilities and ratepayers could exploit—used EV batteries. They can provide additional years of service—and push down the price of new batteries—when stacked up at utility substations or business or home owners’ properties, storing extra electricity when the wind’s blowing, the sun’s shining, but demand’s sagging.

With solar and battery prices falling precipitously, forward-looking utilities can catch a good ride as more EVs, no matter who’s driving them, hit the road. Some power companies are already acting: Avista is building 300 charging stations in Washington and Idaho; Kansas City Power & Light and New England’s Eversource each operate about 700.

Join us for the 4th Annual Energy Innovators Gala to hear from Global Director of Sustainability & Vehicle Environmental Matters for the Ford Motor Company John Viera and learn more about this fascinating intersection!


Our 4th Annual Energy Innovators Gala is Going to be a bit Different







This year’s event features exciting new changes. We have doubled the size of the room at the Kellogg Center and there will be plenty of time for networking. We start at 5:00 pm with a one hour networking cocktail reception (open bar and appetizers) before the awards dinner begins. Later in the evening, we have set aside even more networking time so you can mingle with other attendees.

The keynote speaker will be John J. Viera, Global Director of Sustainability & Vehicle Environmental Matters for the Ford Motor Company. Michigan Public Service Commission Chairman Sally Talberg will offer opening remarks.
Last year’s gala sold out ahead of time, so be sure to purchase your tickets early!

Awards will be presented in the following categories to some very impressive businesses and individuals:

  • Business of the Year
  • Emerging Business of the Year
  • Employer of the Year
  • Public Official of the Year
  • Energy Innovators Hall of Fame

We hope to see you there!

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact Nicole Forward for more information.

Megawatt Sponsors



Kilowatt Sponsors



New/Renewing Members

Greater Gratiot Development, Inc.

Greater Gratiot Development, Inc. (GGD) is a private nonprofit development company now in its 37th year of operation. As a Michigan EIBC member, GGD is seeking to expand its knowledge and work with companies across the energy spectrum. We have assisted companies working in wind, solar, bio, as well as oil and gas.

GGD provides a wide range of development services for private industry on behalf of Gratiot County and all the municipal units. GGD administers the Economic Development Corporation, the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, the Hospital Finance Authority and partners with State and Federal agencies to assure the availability of public and private services to companies residing or considering locating in Gratiot County. GGD may show a company a variety of sites options either as a stand-alone or in one of 5 Michigan Certified Business Parks.


Michigan Energy News

The Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE) launched four topical listservs for people interested in keeping up to date on its grants and technical assistance programs. The four listservs are for industrial, commercial, agricultural and municipal programs. You can sign up here.

The Detroit Free Press, the Detroit News, Crain’s Detroit Business, Mlive and Utility Dive all have pieces on the possible vote on an energy deal on November 10.

The Independent Power Producers Coalition, including several hydroelectric and biomass plants, are making their case to be included in future energy plans, Midwest Energy News reports.

DTE is completing new solar array on a General Motors’ Warren transmission plant, it is GM’s largest array in Michigan, Detroit Free Press reports.

A 20.7 MW wind farm could be built off the Ohio shoreline of Lake Erie, Bloomberg reports.

Collectively, Michigan’s 9 electric cooperatives have a 20 percent renewable portfolio, Cherrlyand Electric Cooperative writes in their community blog.

MSU’s Capital News Service wrote an article on the cost savings of peak shaving and distributed solar.

With electric rates so high in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, many are seeing the financial benefits of going solar, Upper Michigan’s Source reports.

Groups in Detroit are working to create community solar projects, but facing hurdles due to a lack of regulatory framework, Midwest Energy News reports.

Resurge Detroit is a local nonprofit developing ‘grow houses’ replacing shipping containers into greenhouses with solar panels, Mlive reports.


National Energy News

Tesla Motors unveiled their new package of building integrated solar, energy storage and electric vehicles, possibly changing the distributed energy market, Bloomberg reports.

A new study from NREL suggests that serious improvements to the Eastern Interconnection would be necessary to increase renewable usage in the largest power system in the world.

The Bureau of Land Management is changing their rules for allowing federal lands for renewable energy projects, which could accelerate renewable development, E&E News reports.

Customers interact with their utilities online for 8 minutes a year, with half of all customers never interacting online, GreenTech Media reports.

Mercedes-Benz is currently developing an electric vehicle that charges wirelessly, GreenTech Media reports.

New Hampshire’s Office of Consumer Advocate is pushing three new alternatives to net metering in the state’s ongoing debate on new tariff structure, one including time of use credits.

The New York Department of Public Service released a report on how to best integrate distributed resources into the state’s grid, including a “full value” assessment and protecting existing net metering agreements for 20 years.

Alpine Bank, a small employee-owned financing institution in western Colorado is paving the way towards solar program supporting low-moderate income households, GreenTech Media reports.

GreenBiz highlighted the three trends facilitating business procurement of advanced energy: private capital, access to data and the ability to use data to improve.


Michigan Energy Events

The Accelerate Michigan competition is going to be on Thursday, November 3 in Detroit. Sign up here.

The Pew Clean Energy Business Network will host a panel discussion titled From the Lab to the Livingroom: How Public-Private Partnerships Can Advance Your Energy Innovationfeaturing Argonne National Labs and MI EIBC members NextEnergy, Growth Capital Network and Navitas Systems on Thursday November 10th just prior (from 3:30-5 PM) to the EIBC gala. RSVP to Jamie Scripps at

The 4th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala will be held Thursday, November 10 in East Lansing. Click here to get tickets.

Michigan EIBC is hosting a members only “Post-Election Recap and Lunch” to discuss how the November election will impact the energy debate at the state and national level. This members only event is on Friday, November 18 at the Varnum Law offices in Grand Rapids. You can RSVP here.


Want to become a member of Michigan EIBC to attend special meetings like this and join our monthly policy call? Sign up here for a $350 first-year membership


Join Michigan EIBC, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), and Wind on the Wires on Wednesday, November 30 for a Lansing Lobby Day.


Michigan EIBC members, AEE members, and Wind on the Wires members are invited to participate. We will start the day with coffee and pastries at Dykema before we head over to the lobby in the Capitol and engage with legislators.


(SAVE THE DATE) Join Michigan EIBC for another session of the Michigan Energy Forum. This installment will include networking and a tour of the Michigan CAT facility on Friday, December 9 from 9:00 to 11:00 am in Lansing. Registration will open soon.

National Energy Events
The US Dept. of Energy is hosting a webinar with the Western Area Power Administration,“ Accessing Capital for Tribal Energy and Economic Development,” Wednesday, October 26, from 1-3 pm. Register here.

Additional Resources


MI Agency for Energy Issuing RFP for Industrial Energy Efficiency

The Michigan Agency for Energy’s Energy Office announced today 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 has 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.