Newsletter: Call on Congress to Support Extension of Energy Tax Credits

This newsletter was originally published on November 24, 2014.

ACTION ALERT: Call on Congress to Support Extension of Energy Tax Credits

With only a handful of days left before Congress adjourns for the year, Michigan EIBC is calling on Congress to pass a crucial tax extenders bill that is needed for the advanced energy industry. And we need your help in encouraging Congress to act.

You can send a message directly to your Member of Congress through the AEE Action Center, which is coordinated by Advanced Energy Economy, Michigan EIBC’s national partner. After filling out the form, a letter will automatically be sent to your Member of Congress and Michigan’s two U.S. Senators.

The tax provisions under consideration include the following:         

Generation  Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit (PTC; Section 45) with option to claim the Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC; 48) instead

 Bonus Depreciation (168)

Efficiency  Energy-Efficient Commercial Building Deduction (179D)

 Residential Energy Efficiency Credit (25C)

 Energy-Efficient New Homes Credit (45L)

Transportation  Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit (30C)

 Alternative Fuel and Fuel Mixtures Credit (6426)

 Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Credit (40A)

 Second Generation (Cellulosic) Biofuel Producer Credit (40)

 Special Depreciation Allowance for Second Generation Biofuel Plant Credit (168)

In addition to the provisions listed above, AEE continues to push for an amendment that replaces the investment tax credit (ITC) placed-in-service deadline with a commence construction standard would allow industries to make full and effective use of the ITC through its current expiration in 2016.

This is a simple and quick way to make sure the business voice of Michigan’s advanced energy industry is heard on this critical issue. Please contact if you have any questions or need more information.


Michigan EIBC Continues to Grow

Michigan EIBC, Michigan’s only trade association representing the full spectrum of Michigan’s advanced energy industry, continues to add members as it grows in strength and influence.

The following companies have recently joined Michigan EIBC:

Membership in the Michigan EIBC offers a broad range of benefits, including direct access to leading policymakers and opportunities to shape a more business friendly environment in Lansing and Washington; unparalleled networking opportunities through Michigan EIBC events; industry and business development opportunities; and cutting-edge news and information to help your business grow.

If you’re interested in how membership in the Michigan EIBC can add value your business, contact Nicole Forward for more information. Or you can sign up today on the Michigan EIBC website.


Michigan Energy Innovators Gala Honors Industry Leaders

Earlier this month, the 2nd Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala brought together a full room of Michigan advanced energy industry leaders, policymakers and others to celebrate the achievements of Michigan’s growing advanced energy industry.

Business awards were given in three categories: Business of the Year; Emerging Company of the Year; and Employer of the Year. The winners included:

  • Business of the Year: REL, Inc., a Calumet-based material and process developer that’s pioneering conformable fuel tanks for natural gas vehicles
  • Business of the Year: Sakti3, an Ann Arbor-based battery company that earlier this year announced test results that could double the energy intensity of lithium-ion batteries
  • Emerging Company of the Year: Energy Power Systems, LLC, an Oakland County-based battery start-up that is poised to deliver substantial increases and power and battery life without compromising the low cost profile of current battery chemistries
  • Employer of the Year: Suniva, the nation’s leading solar manufacturer, which recently opened a 200 MW solar manufacturing facility in Saginaw Township

In addition to the business awards, the Gala also recognized the following individuals:

  • Public Official of the Year: State Senator Mike Nofs, Chair of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee and Chair of the Senate Energy Workgroup
  • Michigan Energy Innovators Hall of Fame: Bruce Goodman
  • Michigan Energy Innovators Hall of Fame: Stanley “Skip” Pruss

Bruce Goodman is Counsel at the Varnum Law Firm in Grand Rapids, where for thirty years he’s assisted clients in a range of complex energy issues, as well as helping to build the industry through the West Michigan Bio Energy Consortium, the West Michigan Wind Manufacturing Network, and the West Michigan Solar Supply Chain. He was named a “Thought Leader in Law” in 2010 for his work in energy, and is routinely included on the list of Best Lawyers in America.

Skip Pruss is a Co-founder and Principal with 5 Lakes Energy, a clean energy policy consulting firm, and previously served as Michigan’s first Chief Energy Officer and the Director of the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth. In those roles he served as the architect of Michigan’s clean energy economic diversification efforts, and helped attract billions of dollars in public and private investment into Michigan to support the state’s advanced energy industry.

Goodman and Pruss join previous Michigan Energy Innovators Hall of Fame Inductees Stanford Ovshinsky and Rich VanderVeen.

The evening also featured a keynote speech from Chris Brown, President of Vestas Americas. Brown oversees Vestas’s sales and service operations in the United States and Canada and is a member of the company’s executive committee as Group Senior Vice President for Vestas Wind Systems, the world’s largest provider of wind turbines.

A number of leading companies and other organizations generously supported the Gala, including Gold Sponsors Veolia Energy and Advanced Energy Economy; Silver Sponsors Consumers Energy, ITC, NextEra Energy Resources, the Michigan Energy Office, and the Varnum Law Firm; and additional sponsors 5 Lakes Energy, Advanced Energy Group, Energy Power Systems, Invenergy, NextEnergy, OU Inc, Patriot Solar Group, and Sakti3.

Big congratulations from the Michigan EIBC to the companies and individuals honored last night!


Flurry of Energy-Related Proposals Marks Start of Lame-Duck Legislative Session

With the election behind us, policymakers at the state and federal level are now turning their attention to the “lame duck” legislative sessions. And in Michigan, the lame duck session has started with a bang.

A group of two Republicans and one Democrat recently introduced a package of three bills in the Michigan House that are being dubbed the Reliable, Affordable Clean Energy (RACE) Act. The bills – HB 5967, sponsored by Rep. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City), HB 5968, sponsored by Rep. Scott Dianda (D-Calumet), and HB 5969, sponsored by Rep. Rob VerHeulen (R-Walker) – include a number of provisions, including an increase to the state’s energy optimization (EO) program, a clean energy target to increase the use of renewable energy, improving the state’s net metering laws to allow for more distributed generation, spurring the development of microgrids, and consolidating a number of existing regulatory processes into a more comprehensive, multi-year power planning process in front of the Michigan Public Service Commission.

At the same time, Rep. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton), chair of the House Energy and Technology Committee, is set to introduce legislation that would include geothermal energy systems in the definition of both renewable energy and energy efficiency. This has long been a priority of the Michigan Geothermal Energy Association, as current law makes it difficult for geothermal energy systems to receive adequate credit under either the energy optimization (EO) program or the renewable energy standard.

Senator Howard Walker (R-Traverse City) also introduced a pair of bills just before the election that would shield project developers from nuisance law suits if they comply with applicable zoning laws. The bill numbers for this legislation are SB 1123 and SB 1124.

Michigan EIBC also continues to push for Senate action on two bills that have already passed the House. HB 5397, sponsored by Rep. Joe Haveman (R-Holland), would allow municipal electric utilities to offer on-bill financing to their customers to finance energy efficiency improvements and other energy measures. The bill passed the House 108-2 in June. Similarly, HB 5806, sponsored by Rep. Al Pscholka (R-St. Joseph), would increase the ability of Michigan community colleges to use energy performance contracting to reduce energy consumption and costs. That bill passed the House earlier this month by a vote of 106-1. Michigan EIBC is pushing for the Senate to take up both measures before the Legislature wraps up next month.

Finally, Michigan EIBC also strongly opposes HB5872, which would repeal Michigan Renewable Portfolio Standard that requires utilities to obtain 10% of their energy from renewable sources by 2015. The legislation, which has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Technology, has not had a hearing or vote.

Since its enactment in 2008, Michigan’s RPS has spurred more than $2 billion in new investment to the state’s economy and led to the deployment of more than 1 GW in new generation capacity. It has also spurred improvements in the state’s transmission system, leading to improved energy quality and reliability for Michigan ratepayers. And as the costs associated with wind, solar and other renewable generation technologies have continued to decline, Michigan utilities have largely phased out the surcharges for renewable generation authorized under state law. A recent white paper shows that in the eleven states that obtain seven percent or more of their electricity from wind, electricity rates have declined since 2008, while rates in the other 39 states have increased by nearly 8 percent. Another recent report from the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum demonstrates that expanding the state’s renewable target – as opposed to eliminating it – would support an additional $7 billion in Michigan economic activity. And polls show that Michigan voters overwhelmingly support additional renewable energy – with 75% of Michigan voters supporting an expansion of the renewable standard to 30% by 2035.


Michigan EIBC to Host December 4 Networking Lunch, Focusing on Microgrids

Michigan EIBC will host its quarterly West Michigan Networking Meeting on December 4 at the Varnum Law offices in Grand Rapids. The event will include a presentation on microgrids by Tom Stanton of the National Regulatory Research Institute, as well as a state and federal policy briefing and opportunities for networking and business development.


Michigan EIBC Member News

Michigan EIBC members receive a weekly e-newsletter featuring the latest industry and legislative developments from Michigan and around the country. Recent highlights include:

  • Updates on state and federal policy developments, including the progress of the Senate Work Group looking at updates to Michigan’s energy laws. Michigan EIBC has a seat at the table for these discussions, and is pushing on behalf of our members for an expanded renewable energy standard and opportunities to grow energy efficiency markets in Michigan;
  • An in-depth view of what the election results mean for your business;
  • Information on utility programs and the opportunities for Michigan advanced energy businesses; and
  • Special members-only information on grants and funding opportunities.

To make sure your business doesn’t miss out on all the latest industry news, join Michigan EIBC today!


Upcoming Michigan Events 

Michigan EIBC will host its quarterly West Michigan Networking Meeting on December 4 at the Varnum Law offices in Grand Rapids. The event will include a presentation on microgrids by Tom Stanton of the National Regulatory Research Institute, as well as a state and federal policy briefing and opportunities for networking and business development. The event is free for Michigan EIBC members and $25 for non-members.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is hosting a Michigan Wind Energy Forum on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 in Lansing. Registration is now open, and the early bird registration deadline is December 12.

Michigan State University’s Institute of Public Utilities is hosting its annual Michigan Forum on Economic Regulatory Policy on January 30, 2015 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing.

PlugVolt will be hosting the 2015 Battery Seminar in Plymouth, February 10 – 11, 2015.


Upcoming National Energy Events 

The U.S. Solar Market Insight Conference will be held December 8-10 in San Diego, CA.

CleanEdge, ACORE, Navigant Research, Biomass Magazine, AWEA and Latin America Renovable will be hosting Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo North America 2014 on December 9 – 11 in Orlando, FL.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s arpa-e Energy Innovation Summit will be held February 9-11, 2015 in Washington D.C.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is sponsoring a Finance and Tax Seminar on February 26-27 in New York, NY.

The Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit 2015 is taking place April 13-15, 2015 in New York, NY. The theme for the 2015 Summit is “Opportunities in Transformation.”

The American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) annual WINDPOWER 2015 Conference and Exposition is being held May 18-21, 2015 in Orlando, FL. The early-bird registration deadline is February 24, 2015, with additional discounts for those who register by January 9. Michigan EIBC will be hosting a Michigan Pavilion at WINDPOWER 2015. If your company is interested in exhibition space as part of the Michigan Pavilion, please contact