- Newsletter (395)
This newsletter was originally published on January 20, 2017.
As Trump takes office, nominees face scrutiny in hearings
As Donald J. Trump takes the oath of office as America’s 45th President, Trump’s nominees to lead the Department of Energy, the Interior Department, and the Environmental Protection Agency were before Congressional panels this week as part of the confirmation process.
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who Trump has tapped to serve as Secretary of Energy, told members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that he no longer favors eliminating the Department of Energy, and regretted recommending its elimination. He also highlighted Texas’s production of oil and wind power while he was governor, and others have noted that he led efforts as Governor to invest $7 billion in transmission infrastructure, helping to unlock more than 18,000 MW of new wind capacity during his tenure. Perry also pledged to oppose the Trump transition team’s recommendation to eliminate the Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, among others, quipping “maybe they’ll have the same experience I had and forget they said that.”
The confirmation hearing for Scott Pruitt to serve as EPA Administrator was testier, with Democratic Senators grilling the Oklahoma Attorney General on his ties to the oil and gas industry and potential conflicts of interests. In a floor speech Wednesday, Senator Ron Wyden (R-Oregon) stated that he had “no confidence” that Pruitt would uphold the Agency’s mission. Finally, Congressman Ryan Zinke, Trump’s pick to lead the Department of the Interior, stated he favored an “all of the above” energy policy, and would “absolutely encourage wind and solar.”
Governor Snyder highlights infrastructure, mobility in State of the State address
Governor Snyder delivered his 2017 State of the State address on Tuesday evening, and as expected, the Governor highlighted the need to rebuild Michigan’s infrastructure as a key theme. Noting that the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission he appointed last year had recommended “literally billions of dollars of new investment over the next several decades,” Snyder called for looking at “all public and private sources, including fees, taxes, grants, [and] bonds” to pay for the improvements. In addition, Snyder argued that “we can be smarter about how we invest,” and called for the creation of a new integrative asset management database to encourage coordination in updates to energy, water and sewer, energy, and telecommunications upgrades. Legislation has already been introduced in the State House and Senate to create a Michigan Infrastructure Commission as called for by the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission.
The Governor also celebrated the state’s efforts to position Michigan as a global center for mobility, including legislation signed last year to allow autonomous vehicles to operate on Michigan roads, among other things. Snyder’s remarks were followed by the announcement this week that the American Center for Mobility’s campus in Ypsilanti was selected as one of 10 federally-designated proving grounds for driverless vehicles.
In addition to his infrastructure remarks, Snyder also celebrated the passage of the recent energy legislation as “one of the big accomplishments this last year” and argued that the new laws will protect our environment, help us meet our energy needs, and it’s going to save Michiganders money.
New and Renewing Members
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Michigan Energy Clips
State Rep. Gary Glenn (R-Midland), widely expected to be named as the next chair of the House Energy Committee, told Inside Michigan Politics that “everything is on the table” when it comes to the new energy law, including possible repeal of the clean energy standards, expanding electric choice, or revisiting the state’s distributed generation program. Glenn also told the MIRS newsletter (sub. required) that he was looking to “return to the Gov. John Engler model of free market competitiveness and consumer choice that brough down Michigan electricity rates for a decade,” and that the new capacity charge for Alternative Energy Suppliers included in the recent energy legislation made the 10 percent cap on energy choice obsolete.
The City of Grand Rapids is extending its contract with Michigan EIBC member ChargePoint for one year to better understand usage of city-owned electric vehicle charging stations and growth trends in electric vehicles in order to make recommendations on any needed adjustments.
The Michigan Public Service is hosting a special meeting this afternoon dealing with its review of Consumers Energy’s proposal to accelerate the end-date of its power purchase agreement with the Palisades nuclear plant, and implementation of Section 6w of PA 341, which deals with resource adequacy, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator’s forward capacity auction, and the use of a Prevailing State Compensation Mechanism.
IEI President Dan Scripps stopped by the “Greening of the Great Lakes” radio show last week, where he offered support for Governor Snyder’s infrastructure initiatives and talked about the successes of the Solarize Michigan campaign.
The Michigan Public Service Commission is requesting utilities to submit their five-year power supply plans, the third time the MPSC has requested this information. Alternative Energy Suppliers will also have to submit their plans by May 12, and the Commission will release a report on their review of the data by June 30.
More than 400 defective motors are being replaced on 137 wind turbines in Tuscola County due to a design flaw that increased the noise levels of NextEra’s Tuscola Bay Wind Energy Center and Tuscola Bay II Wind Energy Center. A number of wind blades are also being repaired at the Deerfield Wind Energy Project in Huron County after two blades broke last fall.
The Michigan Public Service Commission denied a DTE Energy proposal to recover power supply costs from its customers related to the utility’s stake in the $2 billion Nexus Gas Transmission pipeline development project, while approving the DTE’s plans to purchase natural gas for power generation from the joint venture.
Kate Madigan of the Michigan Environmental Council was on Stateside this week discussing Traverse City’s plans to power all city operations with renewable energy by 2020.
Nominations are now open for the 2017 Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards, which recognize energy efficiency projects completed in 2016. The deadline for applications is March 31, 2017.
National Energy News
Bloomberg New Energy Finance is out with its annual projections of energy trends to watch. Among this year’s projections: a growth spurt for batteries and smart meters, strong growth in corporate procurement of renewable energy, and electric vehicles surpassing the million vehicle mark.
With 374,000 workers, solar is the largest employer in the U.S. electric power generation sector, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2nd annual jobs report. In total, the traditional energy and energy efficiency sector employs 6.4 million people. Over the last year, the wind sector was the fastest growing, expanding by 32% while solar jobs rose 24%. Energy efficiency also saw growth, adding 133,000 positions to reach 2.2 million jobs.
FirstEnergy has signed a deal with Michigan EIBC member EnerNOC and CPower to offer demand response programs to commercial and industrial customers of three of FirstEnergy’s Pennsylvania utilities.
The Wall Street Jounal this week profiled how advances in battery technology, lightweighting of materials, and smaller, more powerful electric motors are transforming transportation. The piece is entitled “How Electric Vehicles Could End Car Ownership as We Know It. “ Meanwhile a new report from the California Air Resources Board finds that EV technology is progressing far faster than anticipated.
In one of the final moves of the Obama Administration, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced it would make available 122,405 acres off of Kitty Hawk, NC to be auctioned off on May 16 for offshore wind development.
Onshore, the Bureau of Land Management has approved Phase 1 plans for the largest U.S. wind development, the 1000 turbine, 3000 MW Chokecherry Sierra Madre Wind Project in Wyoming.
A new report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory finds that concerns over the impact of distributed generation, across a range of Value of Solar assumptions and estimates of distributed solar penetration, are much smaller than other factors affecting electricity rates.
Las Vegas is now home to the first self-driving, all-electric shuttle service to operate on public roads in the U.S.
Michigan Energy Events
The Institute for Energy Innovation is hosting their bi-annual “Energy 101” for state legislators on January 25, in Lansing. Contact Nicole Forward for additional information.
Michigan EIBC is hosting a Michigan Energy Forum event on Monday, February 6 at the Varnum Law offices in Grand Rapids. This event will feature a recap of the recently enacted energy legislation, details from the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission report and Governor Snyder’s State of the State address, and top-level networking opportunities. Contact Nicole Forward for additional information.
The 2017 UP Energy Summit will take place on Thursday, February 16 at the Don H. Bottom University Center on the campus of Northern Michigan University in Marquette.
The Institute of Public Utilities is hosting its annual Michigan Forum on Economic Regulatory Policy on Friday, February 24 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing.
The Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association is hosting its 2017 Annual Gala on Thursday, March 2 in East Lansing. Tickets and more information are available here.
SAVE THE DATE: Michigan EIBC’s 5th Annual Member Meeting will take place on Wednesay, April 12 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. Additional details, sponsorship opportunities, and registration will be available shortly.
The Michigan Geothermal Energy Association is hosting its 2017 annual meeting on April 26-27 at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mt. Pleasant. Trevor Lauer, president and chief operating officer of DTE Electric, will speak at the dinner on April 26. Additional details to follow.
The 2017 Energy Efficiency Conference and Exhibition, hosted by DTE Energy and the Engineering Society of Detroit, will take place May 9 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. The conference is now accepting proposals for presentations on topics related to energy efficiency.
National Energy Events
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.
The SAE 2017 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium will take place February 7-9 in San Diego. This annual event is the source for current and forward-looking hybrid and EV technology advances, with presentations from senior level executives and engineers from OEM and supplier companies.
GreenBiz17 is taking place on February 14-16 in Phoenix. Join the world’s brightest sustainability thinkers for a look into the pressing challenges, emerging trends, and biggest opportunities in sustainable business today.
The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance is hosting their annual Midwest Energy Solutions Conference on February 22-24 in Chicago. This annual events aims to raise awareness and reinforce the importance of energy efficiency in the Midwest.
The 2017 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit is taking place February 27-March 1 in National Harbor, MD. Now in its 8th year, this annual event brings together technical and professional experts for a program aimed at moving transformational energy technologies out of the lab and into the market.
The 2017 ACEEE/ CEE National Symposium on Market Transformation will take place April 2-4 in Washington D.C. The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Innovative Approaches from Emerging Technologies to Market Transformation.’
The Energy Storage Association’s 27th Annual Conference and Expo is taking place April 18-20 in Denver. This event brings together leaders in the global energy industry working at the nexus of policy, technology and markets for energy storage.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s annual Future of Energy Summit will take place April 24-25 in New York. This annual event brings together traditional players and advanced energy leaders to discuss the critical energy issues of today and the next decade.
The annual AWEA Windpower Conference is taking place May 22-25 in Anaheim, CA. The marquee event for the US wind industry returns with top-tier speakers, world-class education, cutting edge technology, and premium marketing.
Greentech Media’s Grid Edge World Forum 2017 will be held in San Jose, CA on June 27-29. As the only conference exclusively focused on emerging distributed energy system, this event highlights the trends, opportunities, and innovation happening at the grid edge.
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 now closed. 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: www.rd.usda.gov/reap 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.