This newsletter was originally published on June 19, 2017.
Bills would expand RPS to 50% by 2035, double efficiency standard
A group of Michigan legislators last week introduced legislation to increase the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard from 15% by 2021 to 50% by 2035, while at the same time boosting the annual energy efficiency savings requirement for electric utilities from 1% to 2%, beginning in 2022. The energy efficiency bills are SB 476, introduced by State Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D-Taylor), and HB 4791, introduced by State Representative Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township), while the bills to increase the renewable requirements are SB 475, introduced by State Senator Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) and HB 4792, introduced by State Representative Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo).
“Our legislation that increases the renewable energy standard to 50 percent by 2035 will spur innovation in Michigan’s clean energy industry and create good jobs for Michiganders,” said Sen. Warren. “Expanding renewable energy will boost Michigan’s green energy sector and make our state a national leader within this emerging industry.”
Red States Lead in Wind Energy
According to the New York Times, the strongest push for advanced energy is coming from red states, especially when it comes to wind. Over two thirds of all wind power produced in the country comes from states that President Trump carried in November. In these states, the push for clean energy is not coming from a place of concern for the environment, but rather because it makes good economic sense. Look for these trends to continue as developers look to those communities with good wind resources, available land, access to transmission, and community support for the economic development benefits wind energy provides.
Michigan Energy News:
- The House Energy Policy Committee is considering legislation to expand the number of companies that could build high-voltage utility lines. This bill raises the critical question of whether the measures would open up the issue of eminent domain, allowing additional firms to condemn property in order to build transmission lines.
- The Michigan Agency for Energy forecasts sufficient electric supplies this year, coming from diverse sources including natural gas, solar, wind, hydro, and biomass.
- An eco-friendly ‘green’ district has launched in Detroit.
- Rosina Bierbaum, professor and former Dean of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan, says Michigan needs federal investment in science.
- Last week, Bob Chapman, executive director of Michigan Interfaith Power and Light, presented to local businesses on how to drive profit through energy efficiency and energy waste reduction.
- Michigan Tech professor Joshua Pearce says replacing coal with solar will save 51,000 lives a year.
- Isabella planners voted to approve wind ordinance revisions at a recent meeting, with many residents in attendance speaking in favor of Michigan EIBC member company Apex Clean Energy’s proposed wind energy project.
- Consumers Energy is preparing for the construction of 19 new wind turbines in Columbia Township.
- A DTE Energy subsidy, DTE Biomass, is investing in landfill gas operations across the country.
- MISO will share information on gas usage by power plants with pipeline operators as part of its reliability pilot program.
- A nearly $20 million combined heat and power project will allow Eastern Michigan University to produce most of its electricity and heat.
- GM is planning to speed up its timeline to meet 100% renewable energy goals.
- A net-zero energy school building in Michigan built in 2013 continues to serve as a valuable teaching tool for students.
- The University of Michigan endowment is looking to boost investments in energy.
- As Michigan EIBC member company Geronimo Energy develops wind projects across the Midwest, the company’s CEO says he wants to “make certain the farms are taken care of.”
- Future Wind Technicians Finish Training In Michigan http://nawindpower.com/graduation-day-future-wind-technicians-finish-training-michigan
- An Ann Arbor based company specializing in sustainable waste management and alternative energy has created a system that allows clients to convert manure into clean water for farm use and surface water discharge.
- Energy efficiency and demand response efforts are getting an early test this year in keeping prices low and demand stable as high temperatures hit the Midwest.
- According to the annual ACEEE Utility Acorecard, Michigan’s utilities are about average.
- DTE’s efforts to phase out its use of coal by 2040 – and reduce its carbon footprint by 80% by 2050 – was featured in a Utility Dive article on the utility sector’s business case for deep decarbonization.
- General Motors has built 130 self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric cars at a factory in Michigan, “making it among the first automakers to mass produce self-driving vehicles.”
National Energy News:
- Utility-scale system prices dropped below $1 per watt for the first time as the U.S. added 2 gigawatts of solar in the first quarter of 2017, according to a new report.
- Wind and solar in March accounted for 10% of U.S. electricity generation for first time.
- Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed legislation that provides a $2,500 rebate to electric-car buyers, along with eligibility for a $7,500 federal tax credit.
- The White House Office of Management and Budget said it received the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed changes to the Clean Power Plan, the last step before the EPA can release the proposal publicly.
- Following President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, more than 1,200 governors, mayors, businesses, investors, and colleges and universities declared their intent to continue to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions.
- Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the U.S. is still committed to promoting clean energy.
- The CEO of top coal-burning utility American Electric Power said AEP is planning to increase its wind and solar portfolio because the company wants to move toward a “cleaner energy economy.”
- A lawmaker in Ohio is looking for compromise on legislation to weaken the state’s renewable energy standards to gain Gov. Kasich’s support.
- Students at a university in Ohio are participating in a national competition to expand solar in low- and middle-income communities.
- Tesla and Sunrun say they will sell rooftop solar panels in Nevada after legislation is passed to restore net metering.
- Kansas City Power & Light has announced it will close six coal power units by 2019, and increase its renewable portfolio to compensate.
- President Trump’s plan to eliminate the Energy Star and Weatherization Assistance programs will hurt job growth and cost taxpayers money, according to a new report.
- Energy Secretary Rick Perry told a group of foreign energy ministers that President Trump’s proposed research cuts will leave technology development to private companies.
- Utilities must prepare for the rise of wind and solar power as coal and nuclear plants retire from the grid, according to a new report.
- China surpassed the U.S. as the world’s top producer of non-hydro renewables in 2017, while worldwide coal production had its biggest drop ever, according to a new report
- Apple Inc. has issued a $1 billion green bond to fund renewable energy generation in several states.
- The solar industry is continuing to grow under the Trump administration, thanks largely to state incentives, low prices, and a solar investment tax credit.
- Experts rejected EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s claims that retiring coal plants will compromise grid reliability.
- Most of the top solar developers are incorporating energy storage into their business strategy as part of a new solar-plus-storage trend.
- Competition for offshore wind is ramping up in Massachusetts
- Some residents in central Illinois hope to halt construction on a 139-turbine wind project through litigation. Meanwhile, two planned wind projects in Indiana are facing organized opposition from some residents, while a more than $100 million wind farm project is on hold after Tennessee lawmakers passed a yearlong moratorium on new turbines there. At the same time, a coalition of farm and clean energy groups are pushing a South Dakota county to overturn a restrictive wind farm ordinance.
- An industry group is spending millions of dollars on a campaign to educate lawmakers and the Trump administration about the economic benefits of wind.
- Advocates are pressing Ohio lawmakers this week to include a provision in a budget bill that eases setback restrictions for turbines.
- A hydroelectric facility run by Ameren Missouri set a record in May for the most amount of generation in the plant’s 86-year history.
- Eleven states sued the Trump administration over its failure to finalize and publish energy efficiency rules that the Obama administration approved for air conditioners and other products.
- Advocates are hopeful that Illinois will become the 20th state with Property Assessed Clean Energy financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects after receiving strong support in the legislature.
- A look at ways to reduce the cost of connecting distributed resources to the grid.
- Energy storage installations grew 945 percent in the first quarter of 2017, but customer-sited storage was down 28 percent compared to last year.
- To combat California’s “duck curve” problem, the state is looking at battery storage, shifting demand time and integrating its grid with other western states.
- A new car-sharing service in Los Angeles will bring 100 electric cars and 200 electric vehicle charging stations to the city.
- Iowa’s attorney general joins 12 other states in preparing to challenge any efforts by the Trump administration to roll back vehicle emission rules.
- A new law in Minnesota will allow clean energy funds to be used to shut down two biomass plants.
- Michigan EIBC member company Veolia will manage a cogeneration plant using poultry waste in North Carolina.
- The managing editor of Hydro Review explained how the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement could affect hydropower.
- Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds praised the University of Iowa’s plan to phase out coal by 2025.
- Most utility executives still see distributed generation as a threat to their companies’ viability.
- Expanded opt-out provisions in Ohio’s energy efficiency standard may lead to over $6 billion in added energy and health costs by 2027, according to a new report.
- Advocates say regulators are not moving fast enough on grid modernization.
- An Illinois utility’s microgrid will be able to “island” residential customers in an outage.
- Duke Energy is seeking a rider to pay for grid modernization in Ohio.
- The U.S. energy storage market experienced record growth and deployed 234 megawatt-hours in the first quarter of 2017.
- A new law in Minnesota created a $75 annual fee for electric vehicles. Advocates believe the fee is too high.
- Former EPA officials are worried that the Trump administration’s review of auto emissions standards could slow down U.S. innovation on fuel efficiency.
- Kansas City is leading the U.S. in electric vehicle growth, with a 95 percent increaseafter a local utility launched the country’s largest car charging network in 2015.
Michigan Energy Events:
Join Groundwork Center and the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association at Northwestern Michigan College June 23-25 in Traverse City for a conference designed to mobilize clean energy investments in homes, businesses, and communities. The conference includes a free film screening, panel discussions, keynote speakers, and a fair. For more information, click here.
The 2017 CHP Conference is taking place Wednesday, June 28 in Grand Rapids. This year’s conference is focused on the food processing, health care, and higher education sectors, and includes a primer on CHP technology and its applications; sector-specific case studies, showing how companies and institutions save money on energy costs by installing CHP systems; information on available technical resources and financing options; and a lunchtime update on the Michigan CHP Roadmap currently being developed for the Michigan Energy Office.
The Energy Alliance Group of Michigan is hosting a program entitled “PACE in West Michigan – Making Building Efficiency Upgrades Affordable” on July 12 in Grand Rapids. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing is now available in the City of Wyoming, and is under consideration in the cities of Grand Rapids, Walker, Grandville, East Grand Rapids and Kentwood. This event will provide information detailing how to use this new financing option for upgrading the energy efficiency of commercial, industrial, multi-family and non-profit buildings. For more information or to RSVP, click here.
The 2017 PlugVolt Battery Seminar is scheduled for July 18-20 in Ann Arbor. Industry leaders, policy decision-makers, and key stakeholders from more than 80 companies are expected to gather at the PlugVolt Battery Seminar to learn more about the challengers and opportunities for energy storage systems in grid/utility storage and automotive applications. Register here.
The Michigan Public Service Commission will host a technical conference on the future of electric vehicle charging on August 9 at the public service commission office, 7109 W. Saginaw Highway, Lansing. Subject matter experts interested in participating in a panel are asked to submit a letter of interest, resume and summary of expertise to Al Freeman at the commission offices or by e-mail to email@example.com.
The 1st Annual Sustainable Detroit Forum is scheduled for October 25. The event will consist of interactive learning, keynotes, and short presentations. Acoustic musicians will perform during breaks. Proposals for presentations will be accepted for Sustainable Projects, Personal Green Stories, and Lessons Learned/Greatest Failures. Proposals are due July 14.
National Energy Events:
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.
A web site from the Michigan Public Service Commission provides details on the laws, which took effect on April 20. For more information, or to sign up for notifications, visit www.michigan.gov/energylegislation.
Google’s free online tool, Project Sunroof, now shows which homes have already installed rooftop solar panels.
The Michigan Energy Office is offering rebates to eligible applicants to upgrade existing public streetlights with LED lights through the Exterior LED Lighting Rebate Program. The purpose of this program is to encourage energy waste reduction and promote community vitality by accelerating the transition to energy efficient LED lighting. MEO will match utility rebates up to $0.35/W reduced. Applicants with no utility rebate will be awarded at a rate of $0.35/W reduced. For more information or to apply, click here.