- Newsletter (377)
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:
Michigan Senate Passes Commercial PACE Financing Bills
On May 24, the Michigan Senate passed legislation to expand commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing. Michigan EIBC and other groups like Michigan EIBC members Lean & Green Michigan and PACE Loan Group and C-PACE Alliance have spoken out in favor of this legislation.
The bills, SB 302 and SB 303, expand the types of projects that are eligible for C-PACE financing and ease the energy savings requirements in the C-PACE statute so that more projects that produce incremental energy savings can qualify.
“Commercial property owners will be able to better leverage commercial PACE financing for investments that improve efficiency and lower their carbon footprint,” Sen. Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City) said, as reported by Gongwer. “Borrowers renovating existing buildings will be able to waive the current energy savings guarantee requirement and enable funding for projects that are beneficial and cost-effective over the long term, ensuring that new projects are energy efficient by requiring them to exceed the current energy code.”
The bills now await action in the Michigan House.
Bills to Eliminate Distributed Generation Cap and Create ‘Fair Value’ Tariff Introduced
Legislation introduced to the Michigan Senate this week would eliminate the cap on the amount of distributed generation a utility must connect in its service territory and offer distributed generation customers, like rooftop solar adopters, more fair compensation for the excess energy they export to the grid.
Senate Bill 362, introduced by Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), and Senate Bill 363, introduced by Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Keego Harbor), eliminate the cap and change the current tariff for distributed generation customers to a “fair value tariff.” This credit must take into account all the benefits that distributed generation provides for the grid and must be at least as high as what the customer would have received under net metering. Net metering was eliminated several years ago and since then Michigan EIBC and members have fought to restore fair compensation for distributed generation.
“This issue is probably the No. 1 thing that restricts rooftop solar in the state,” Michigan EIBC Policy Director Justin Carpenter said in a report from Crain’s Detroit Business about the bills. “We have a lot of rooftop solar developers, and a lot of them are really gearing up to expand and scale up their business due to federal opportunities from the infrastructure bill and the Inflation Reduction Act. But when it comes to Michigan, as long as there is this cap and it’s at 1%, it’s just an absolute no-go because there’s no certainty of it really being raised through the commission process and there’s no certainty that there will be a market.”
The current tariff does not reflect the many costs to the grid that are avoided due to distributed generation, as backed up by extensive research.
“We should take into account everything,” Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman was quoted as saying in a story from Michigan Radio. “Including the energy you’re providing to your neighbor, the benefit you’re providing to the utility because they don’t have to go build more distribution lines, and the benefit to reducing local power outages.”
In addition, Sherman told Planet Detroit about how this legislation looks to have better prospects than previous attempts to eliminate the cap. “We’re in a very different legislature, and we have a lot of new folks,” she said. “We have different folks in the majority, and I think there is a very good chance that we will move on these issues with this legislature. So we’re very hopeful and going to push hard.”
Michigan EIBC and Advanced Energy United Toolkits Emphasize Key Takeaways for Regulators and Governors
Toolkits recently released by Michigan EIBC and our trade organization member Advanced Energy United guide state utility regulators and executive branches through the numerous opportunities for advanced energy found in grants and other provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
Transportation electrification is in the news currently with the announcement about the Binational EV Corridor, and one of the advanced energy topics that the toolkits address is “The Challenges and Opportunities of Electrifying Transportation.”
“Turnover of the nation’s vehicle fleet takes decades and thus this increase will not happen overnight. It is entirely within the capability of utilities and regulators to meet this new demand, but they must do so in a manner that avoids unnecessary generation, transmission, and distribution costs,” the toolkits say.
The IRA, in particular, has provisions that will advance transportation electrification, such as the commercial clean vehicle credit and the expanded EV charging credit. The combination of those credits make switching to electric a positive net value proposal for many commercial applications. “The business case has never been clearer, and new work vehicle models are expanding. These fleets often have predictable routes and load patterns, making them great candidates for policies that encourage charging at times that are most beneficial to the grid,” the toolkits say.
Michigan Energy News
- A panel discussion convened by Crain’s Content Studio features Melissa Seymour, vice president of external affairs at the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) Simon Whitelocke, vice president of Michigan EIBC member ITC Holdings Corp. and president of ITC Michigan, Michigan Radio’s Tracy Samilton and Brian Calka, vice president of renewable energy sales and project development at DTE Energy.
- A bipartisan, newly-formed “Nuclear Caucus” group of Michigan legislators send a letter to Gov. Whitmer asking that the Palisades nuclear plant be reopened.
- A consortium of universities, community colleges, employers and industry groups will work on growing the semiconductor industry in Michigan, state officials say.
- Two EV fast charging stations are now active on Belle Isle in the Detroit River.
- The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and Michigan EIBC member Utilidata are partnering on an effort to collect real-time voltage, current and power data and use that data to analyze EV charging patterns.
National Energy News
- New details are out about the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act’s provisions for rural electric cooperatives, representing “the biggest jolt of federal funding since the New Deal law” that created those co-ops, Canary Media reports.
- China’s CATL announces a “semi-solid state” battery that will have an energy density of up to 500 watt-hours per kilogram, which, if achieved, would double the energy density of the leading batteries on the market, Inside Climate News’s Dan Gearino reports.
- Permitting reform for energy projects is on the table as part of the federal debt limit negotiations.
- The California Independent System Operator is implementing a new approach to coordinating transmission planning, interconnection queuing and resource procurement that experts say could cut down on interconnection congestion.
- Minnesota lawmakers pass a bill updating commercial building energy codes.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include in the email a specific end date for the job posting.
The Stakeholder Relations Intern will work within AES Clean Energy’s Stakeholder Relations team in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, and many other MISO & ERCOT territory states. This is an exciting opportunity to learn and apply industry-leading engagement strategies to empower communities and advance a carbon-free future. This role will support AES’ strategic renewable energy related stakeholder engagement from drafting communications and collateral materials to strategic planning, social impact development, and local community engagement. This role will report to the Manager of Stakeholder Relations MISO & ERCOT and is an excellent opportunity for someone who is planning a career in the renewable energy industry.
The Public Policy Intern is responsible for tracking legislation and other policies, as well as providing support to the team on ChargePoint’s legislative objectives throughout the Midwestern US. While this position is focused on ChargePoint’s policy engagement across the Midwest, the Policy Intern will also support the team with the development of policy briefing material to support policy engagement across the US on an as needed basis. Must be goal-motivated, adaptable in a fast-growing technology company environment, a strategic thinker, and detail-oriented. Successful candidates will have an educational background in public policy or prior work experience working with elected officials and state agencies. Knowledge of electric vehicle, energy or climate policy is preferred but not required.
Our Energy & Water Optimization Leaders interface with various facilities and sites and lead water, energy, and carbon reduction activities. They collaborate with external resources and provide leadership to – Energy Engineers, Energy & Water Optimization leaders, and Analysts, contractors, suppliers, utility companies, and others to enable energy and cost reduction.
Michigan and National Energy Events
The Michigan Climate Action Network is holding the 2023 Michigan Climate Summit at Oakland University on June 2. Register here.
On July 18-20, PlugVolt will be hosting Battery Seminar 2023 in Plymouth, Mich., featuring an entire day of in-depth technical tutorials on cutting-edge battery research presented by industry subject matter experts and world renowned professors from Top 50 U.S. Universities. The next two days will include complementary industry updates provided by speakers from Automotive and Grid Storage OEMs, major battery manufacturers and global Tier 1 system developers and suppliers. Attendees will also get an exclusive opportunity to tour INTERTEK Battery Testing Center of Excellence in Plymouth, MI (USA) firsthand, ask questions to resident experts, and enjoy some light appetizers and beverages while networking with industry peers. Register here.
Save the dates Aug. 6-9 for the Mid-America Regulatory Conference (MARC) Annual Meeting at the JW Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Clean Energy Innovator Fellowship program is hosting two fellowships for recent graduates and energy professionals at the Michigan Public Service Commission. The projects these fellows will be working on are, respectively, “Incentivizing Resilience through Distributed Energy Resource Expansion” and “Resiliency Metrics, Valuation, and Application to Undergrounding Backlot Electrical Lines.” Innovator Fellow applications are now open and are due June 12 at 4 p.m. EST.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to expand the weatherization assistance program utilizing bipartisan infrastructure law funding for multi-family dwellings. The five-month award begins on May 1 and ends Sept. 30, 2023, with the total available amount being $1 million dollars. Successful applicants may be awarded funding annually through at least Sept. 30, 2028, based upon funding availability and acceptable performance. For more information or to apply, visit the EGrAMS website.
Indiana Michigan Power Co. has issued its 2023 All-Source RFP. Proposals are due May 26. Find the RFP documents and more information here.
Consumers Energy Company has announced it will seek competitive bids in response to a RFP from participants in the MISO Energy Market in accordance with the Company’s expansion of the Voluntary Green Pricing (“VGP”) Program. With this RFP, Consumers Energy will solicit proposals for solar and wind generation projects, separate and distinct from the ongoing Consumers Energy 2022 IRP RFP for solar generation projects. A stakeholder pre-bid webinar will be held for this RFP on June 1.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Buildings Upgrade Prize (Buildings UP) is offering more than $22 million in cash prizes and technical assistance to teams across America with winning ideas to accelerate widespread, equitable energy efficiency and building electrification upgrades. Follow Buildings UP on HeroX.com for all prize-related updates. Phase 1 submissions are due by July 18.