- Newsletter (386)
Welcome to the weekly newsletter of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC), the business voice for advanced energy in Michigan. Here’s what’s new this week:
Scott Viciana, VP of Sales and Business Development, Michigan EIBC member Ventower Industries, with Michigan EIBC Director of Policy Justin Carpenter (left)
Bills to Improve Siting of Renewable and Energy Storage Projects Introduced
New legislation introduced to the Michigan House this week would streamline the siting of wind, solar and energy storage projects, potentially accelerating the state’s ability to add new clean energy generation for years to come.
HB 5120 would authorize the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to certify wind, solar and energy storage facilities 100 MW or greater in size for zoning exemptions. HB 5122 would do the same but for solar and storage facilities between 50 MW and 99 MW in size.
Scott Viciana, VP of Sales and Business Development for Michigan EIBC member Ventower Industries, together with Michigan EIBC Director of Policy Justin Carpenter, testified in support of the bills at a Michigan House Energy, Communications and Technology Committee hearing on Oct. 11.
Viciana told the committee about how Ventower has provided Michigan-made steel components of wind turbines to support about 4,500 MW of renewable energy capacity, with 70% of that deployed in-state. But his company could do even more if there was less uncertainty about the ability of renewable energy projects to proceed with permitting – certainty that would be provided by these bills. “More projects, more project approvals will warrant the need for more skilled long-term hires to support increased manufacturing output of green energy components. Ventower wants to create more skilled and high-paying jobs for Michiganders,” Viciana said in his testimony. “With the streamlining of larger-scale project approvals, we can continue to do so while providing Michigan-made key components that can be made by local folks in Monroe and others in the region.”
The bills “present a measured, balanced and effective solution to the problems facing communities and renewable energy developers across the state,” Carpenter said in his testimony.
“It is imperative that the legislature continues to work on policies like these that help enable the buildout of renewable generation,” Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman said in a statement that also included words of support for the bills from groups like the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 252, the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights and Evergreen Action Midwest and the Michigan Sustainable Business Forum.“Requiring implementation of grid-scale energy storage and ensuring 50% independent ownership of renewable projects will increase grid reliability, lower project costs, and create a more efficient system,” Sherman said.
“Our members are prepared to build Michigan’s clean energy future, and this legislation will pave the way for our state’s energy transition, all while ensuring that we are creating good-paying, family-supporting union jobs in Michigan,” IBEW Local 252 Business Manager Ryan Husse said in the statement.
The legislation is also finding support from landowners who want renewable projects to co-exist side-by-side with agriculture, but have been frustrated by the lack of a coordinated process to resolve permitting disputes.
“Our farmland has been in the family for over 150 years. Hosting a solar project on part of that land is a life-changing opportunity that would help us keep our farm in the family,” Clara Ostrander, a Monroe County landowner, said in the statement. “Unfortunately, that opportunity could be lost at the last minute because of a broken township permitting process. We are thankful that Governor Whitmer and our legislators are working to fix this problem and are standing up for the property rights of farm families across Michigan.”
“My family has farmed our land for generations, but it’s gotten harder and harder due to crop market volatility and unpredictable weather. We’ve seen what hosting a solar project can do for other farmers, providing steady income and keeping family farms going,” Mike Fejes, a Genesee County landowner, also said in that statement. “Unfortunately, our local elected officials have decided that we can’t make decisions about our own property and that we’re not able right now to support our farm with a solar project. The legislature needs to pass these bills to protect our livelihood and the private property rights of small family farms.”
Michigan EIBC and Advanced Energy United Comment on MPSC Proposal for Utility Metrics to Improve Reliability
The MPSC recently released a straw proposal for a set of reliability metrics that could potentially be used to create financial incentives or disincentives for utilities tied to their reliability performance. The straw proposal represents a good “foundation” for building up a system of performance-based regulation that could push Michigan utilities toward more innovative approaches, but regulators should be careful not to offer utilities financial rewards until their reliability performance has significantly improved, according to comments filed by Michigan EIBC and Michigan EIBC trade organization member Advanced Energy United.
The basics of the proposal is that each Michigan investor-owned utility would either receive incentives if they achieve a preset target for reliability metrics like the average time to restore power after an outage, or receive penalties if they fall short of the target. “By tying each utility company’s financial performance to reliability improvements, the Commission is ensuring that motivation and accountability is shared across the company, from the engineers working in distribution system operations to the Chief Financial Officer and CEO. Our member companies stand ready to partner with the utilities to deploy innovative energy technologies in their pursuit of improved reliability,” Michigan EIBC/United’s comments said.
An example of that innovation could be the pursuit of demand-reducing technologies. Under the current cost-of-service regulatory model, utilities do not have much financial incentive to reduce demand. But ultimately, performance incentives could be designed so that they motivate utilities to invest more in things like demand side management.
But in the short term, while Michigan utilities’ reliability performance is among the worst in the country, performance-based regulation should not offer utilities rewards until that picture is substantially improved, the comments said. “Because maintaining acceptable levels of reliability is a core utility function, it would seem reasonable that [performance incentive mechanisms] for reliability would emphasize penalties as long as performance is subpar and the Straw Proposal appears to recognize this,” according to the comments. Mechanisms that include both penalties and rewards, however, could be considered “once reliability reaches an acceptable level.”
The AES Corporation (NYSE: AES) is a Fortune 500 global energy company accelerating the future of energy. Together with our many stakeholders, we’re improving lives by delivering the greener, smarter energy solutions the world needs. Our diverse workforce is committed to continuous innovation and operational excellence, while partnering with our customers on their strategic energy transitions and continuing to meet their energy needs today.
ChargerHelp! sits at the intersection of workforce development, adult learning, and clean technology enabling the on-demand diagnostics, maintenance, and repair of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. ChargerHelp! partners with network provider, manufacturers, and utility companies to ensure equitable EV charger reliability throughout the US.
CPower is a leading demand-side energy management solutions provider that helps commercial, industrial, educational, healthcare, and government organizations save on energy costs, earn revenue through energy curtailment, enhance their sustainability efforts, and contribute to a balanced, reliable grid through DER optimization. We serve more than 2,400 customers at over 17,000 sites and manage more than 6.3 gigawatts of electrical load across North America’s energy markets and utilities. CPower is owned by LS Power, a leading development, investment, and operating company focused on the power and energy infrastructure sector.
Enel Green Power in North America is a leading developer, long-term owner and operator of renewable energy plants with a presence in 14 US states and one Canadian province. The company operates 58 plants with a managed capacity of over 6.6 GW powered by wind, geothermal and solar energy.
Founded in 2008, Energy Sciences is an established and trusted resource that provides tailored energy consulting services and solutions with pride and integrity. A certified Women’s Business Enterprise headquartered in Berkley, Michigan, the Energy Sciences mission has a broad reach throughout the Midwest and beyond; we practice and promote sustainability and strive to be socially responsible for the benefit of our planet and its inhabitants. Working closely alongside building owners, facilities managers, contractors, and service providers, our diverse and highly skilled team provide a full spectrum of consulting and turnkey services to ensure the most impactful and sustainable outcomes. Energy Sciences’ additional service offerings include utility partnerships to design and implement incentive programs to lower commercial and industrial facilities’ energy usage, including full-time professional sales and engineering solutions for customers seeking embedded energy efficiency expertise. Energy Sciences has planned, designed, and deployed innovative utility energy efficiency and demand-side management programs, pilots, and research initiatives (e.g., demonstration studies) across commercial, industrial, and agricultural sectors for numerous Program Administrators, including ComEd, DTE Energy, Consumers Energy, Ameren Illinois, Indiana Michigan Power, Nicor Gas and Public Service Company of Oklahoma. Energy Sciences provides a wide range of services, from outreach and marketing, program management to engineering support and inspections.
ESA is a prominent clean energy development and decarbonization platform. Over the past decade, ESA has successfully transacted over 6 GW of operating solar energy projects and pre-construction development assets. Our diverse portfolio spans a broad array of asset classes, including installations at corporate headquarters, commercial and industrial facilities, community solar portfolios, and multi-100 MW utility-scale solar projects. ESA’s influence extends across 22 states, where projects have interconnected with 27 distinct utilities. ESA operates with the freedom and flexibility inherent in a privately owned and managed corporation. To learn more about ESA, please visit our website at esa-solar.com.
Inovateus Solar LLC
Inovateus Solar is an experienced solar energy provider with over 500 MWs delivered since we opened our doors in 2008. Our development and EPC team is committed to investing in your energy future by providing affordable, reliable, and sustainable solar and energy storage solutions. Inovateus serves utilities, municipalities, electric cooperatives, Fortune 500 firms, schools, universities, and commercial industries throughout Michigan, the greater Midwest, and East Coast.
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.
Metro Consulting Associates
Metro Consulting Associates (MCA) is a multifaceted energy, land, and community development firm that serves both private and public sector clients throughout the Midwestern United States and beyond. Founded in 2009 as a land surveying firm, MCA has grown to provide a mix of services, talent, and technology driven by client needs and community goals to make life better. With the capabilities and expertise typically found in large, multidisciplinary firms, combined with the agile project management and budget-friendly services of a smaller firm, Metro Consulting Associates delivers on value. Serving clients in the power and energy, municipal, land development, and oil and gas markets, MCA’s technical expertise will satisfy any and all emerging challenges, taking you where you want to go.
McNaughton-McKay Electric Company
McNaughton-McKay Electric Company is a leading distributor of electrical products for the industrial, automation, commercial, and construction markets. We opened in 1910 and are headquartered in Madison Heights, Michigan with 22 additional locations in 5 States and Germany. Each of our branch locations are committed to ensuring your needs are being met and we truly understand your business and industry goals.
Founded in 2002 as 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, NextEnergy works with innovators to accelerate smarter, cleaner, more accessible solutions for communities and cities. Since its inception, NextEnergy has worked with more than 400 companies, universities, federal agencies, and philanthropic organizations to drive more than $1.5 billion in advanced energy and mobility technology investments. Based in the center of Detroit’s growing innovation district with access to a microgrid, smart home, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and an alternative fuels platform, we demonstrate and pilot technologies in real-world environments to gather data and diverse user-experiences. This process helps us to quickly scale and deploy solutions by accelerating commercialization with a specific focus on smart mobility and smart grid. Our depth of experience, technical knowledge and established network of partners have enabled us to develop effective programs and pilots and facilitate new relationships to help our clients achieve their commercialization goals. Contact us today to learn how you can start transforming your ideas and technology into smarter, cleaner more accessible solutions to create a better quality of life for all. To learn more visit nextenergy.org or call 313.833.0100.
Orion Renewable Energy Group LLC
Orion is a pioneer in the development, finance, construction, and operation of renewable energy projects throughout the United States. The principals of Orion have developed over 5,000 MW of operating renewable power projects through power purchase agreements, development asset sales, and build-transfer arrangements.
Uplight is a software provider that delivers customer engagement, enrollment, and load flexibility programs for over electric and gas utilities covering 110 million customers across North America. Our technology platform connects people, products, services, and other platforms to the grid and each other to power the clean energy transition. We empower utilities to harness their greatest power, energy customers, to achieve their customer engagement and satisfaction goals as well as energy and carbon reduction goals. We are a B-Corp with over 500 employees and are headquartered in Boulder, Colorado with staff and operations in Boston, Vancouver and Pune, India.
Michigan Energy News
- The Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen, which is planning a hydrogen “Truck Stop of the Future” in the Detroit area and a hydrogen production facility at the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti, receives an award for up to $1 billion from the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Michigan is in danger of missing its emissions reduction targets, and “a significant reason for that is that there’s an inconsistent process with siting in our state, which results in confusion for developers and a slowdown for protecting our planet,” Rep. Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck), a sponsor of the siting reform bills, says in testimony before the House Energy, Communications and Technology Committee
- MLive covers the recent hearing on the legislation that would allow residents of homeowners’ associations to add rooftop solar, storage, EV charging equipment, heat pumps or other kinds of energy-saving improvements or modifications to their homes.
- “Clean energy is the future Michigan residents want,” writes Rewiring America Policy Analyst Charles Hua, RMI Manager Ana Sophia Mifsud and Slipstream Managing Director of Policy Robin Lisowski in Energy News Network.
- Michiganders should not count on their state being a “climate haven” spared from the worst impacts of climate change, the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council says.
National Energy News
- “Unfounded concerns” about the toxicity of solar panels are slowing decarbonization efforts, according to a new article in the journal Nature Physics.
- Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom signs bills requiring large companies to make more disclosures about their emissions and climate change risk exposure.
- To advance long-term transmission planning, FERC needs to pass a rule that identifies the broad benefits of transmission, writes Americans for a Clean Energy Grid Executive Director Christina Hayes.
- Local opposition to wind projects is growing in Iowa, a state that has historically been a leader in new wind power capacity.
- The city of Cleveland commits to the goal of net zero by 2050.
Attention Michigan EIBC members: if you have a job announcement you would like in the newsletter, please send a paragraph describing the position and a link to apply to Matt Bandyk at email@example.com. Please include in the email a specific end date for the job posting.
Advanced Energy United
Advanced Energy United is currently seeking a Director to join our Wholesale Markets team as we expand our engagement into the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) and Southwest Power Pool (SPP) markets (United’s current wholesale markets engagement is focused on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, ISO New England, and PJM Interconnection).
This role will be responsible for launching and leading United’s advocacy in these markets to increase opportunities for advanced energy technologies to compete and participate in wholesale markets. This will include working with United member companies to identify priorities and form positions; attending relevant stakeholder meetings; building relationships with MISO and SPP staff, relevant state representatives, and other stakeholders; and developing and advancing advocacy strategies.
Michigan and National Energy Events
The Institute for Energy Innovation (IEI) is holding its next Energy 101 Lunch & Learn about Solar + Storage on Oct. 18 at 12 pm at the Mackinac Room in the Anderson House Office Building in Lansing. Come learn more about what behind-the-meter solar and storage systems can do to protect Michiganders from outages and what policymakers can do to support their buildout. Please note this event is only for legislators, legislative staff administration officials and Michigan EIBC members. Register here.
Join Michigan EIBC member Foresight Management on Thursday, Oct. 26 at 10:00 am EST for this month’s Foresight Forum. Three energy procurement experts will discuss how to build a resilient and profitable approach to purchasing energy despite volatile seasons in the marketplace. This webinar will help you understand how to navigate dynamic regulatory environments, assess risk profiles, incorporate emerging technologies, and get ahead of the energy transition. Register here.
Michigan EIBC member Walker-Miller Energy Services is presenting the inaugural Resilience and Equity in the Clean Energy Sector Summit (RECESS23) on Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 in Detroit. Register here.
Clean Fuels Michigan is hiring a Member Engagement Member. This is a cross functional, business development-focused role with elements of communications and event planning. Find out more about this opportunity here.
Michigan EIBC member Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University is calling all innovators to apply for its Industrial Decarbonization Innovation Challenge. The goal of this challenge is to globally crowdsource best-in-class industrial decarbonization technologies and connect them with industrial corporate sponsors to accelerate their emission reduction goals and industrial decarbonization programs. Up to $250,000 in prizes will be made available to demonstrate and test best-in-class industrial decarbonization technologies in a real world setting.Click here to learn more about the challenge. Applications will close on Nov. 30.
Acadia Center is seeking to fill the role of Senior Director, Climate & Clean Energy Programs. Learn more here.
Consumers Energy plans to issue a RFP for solar generation projects in accordance with the company’s Proposed Course of Action in its Integrated Resource Plan. This forthcoming RFP is separate and distinct from the ongoing Consumers Energy 2023 VGP RFP for Wind and Solar generation projects.Enel X anticipates formally releasing the upcoming RFP and associated documents in October 2023.