- 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:
Legislators Advance Clean Energy Bill Package
The Michigan Senate passed bills to implement a clean energy standard, strengthen energy efficiency requirements on utilities and expand the authority of the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) with changes from previous versions, bringing the package of legislation to codify the MI Healthy Climate Plan another step closer to law.
Speaking to Gongwer, Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman praised the new versions of the bills. “I would definitely characterize these (bills) as a very large step forward,” Sherman said.
SB 271, which Michigan EIBC testified in favor of several weeks ago, would require electric utilities to meet a 50% renewable energy standard from 2030 to 2034 and 60% in 2035. The bill also establishes a separate clean energy standard, which includes nuclear energy, of 80% by 2035 and 100% by 2040. To ensure reliability, the bill requires Michigan’s utilities to build, acquire, or contract for 2,500 MW of utility-scale energy storage by 2030 and requires the MPSC to do a study of long duration and multi-day energy storage. The bill would also increase the cap on distributed generation from 1% to 10% and allow projects up to 550 kW in size to participate in the distributed generation program.
SB 273, which Michigan EIBC has also testified in support of before the committee, would require energy waste reduction standards for electric utilities to increase from 1% to 1.5%, with a goal of 2% of energy sales, and energy waste reduction standards for gas utilities to increase from 0.75% to 0.875%, with incentives in place for reducing waste over 1% of energy sales. This bill also allows utilities to create electrification plans to allow for fuel-switching to efficient electric appliances, with gas and municipal and cooperative utilities able to incentivize these upgrades. SB 273 creates new low-income program requirements for utilities; electric utilities would be required to focus at least 25% of energy waste reduction spending on low-income customers, and gas utilities would be required to focus at least 35% of spending.
SB 502 would require the MPSC, when approving utility Integrated Resource Plans, to consider reliability, service quality, affordability, energy burden, and the impact on environmental justice communities. It would also double funding to the Utility Consumer Protection Board, allowing more intervening parties in utility cases and encouraging participation from environmental justice and impacted communities.
“These clean energy bills will support and grow Michigan’s already thriving clean energy economy,” Dr. Laura Sherman, said in a statement on the bills. “The legislation passed today would set a strong renewable portfolio standard, require energy storage to ensure grid reliability, open up the market for rooftop solar development, and ensure that more Michiganders are able to lower their energy bills by making their homes energy efficient. We urge the Legislature to keep moving these bills to the governor’s desk for signature, along with the legislation to improve the siting of renewable energy projects.”
Read Michigan EIBC’s Justin Carpenter in Bridge on Siting Reform
Clean energy and agriculture are natural allies and can build on their mutually beneficial relationship with the passage of legislation to streamline the siting of renewable energy projects, writes Michigan EIBC Director of Policy Justin Carpenter in a new article in Bridge Michigan.
A recently-introduced package of bills, HBs 5120, 5121, 5122 and 5123 would authorize the MPSC to certify large wind and solar project for zoning exemptions, helping those projects get past opposition that has sidelined some projects on the local level. Opponents of these bills have created a false narrative where renewable energy and rural areas are pitted against one another, Carpenter writes.
But “a look at how renewable energy has actually been deployed throughout the country and world shows a mutually beneficial relationship between clean energy and agriculture that is financially and environmentally productive for both parties and the communities, states and countries where these projects are built,” according to Carpenter.
He goes on to discuss many examples of how landowners have been able to keep agricultural land in their families thanks to lease agreements with renewable energy projects, how rural counties have been able to avoid raising taxes to improve their school districts due to revenue from solar and wind projects and how a number of approaches to make sure agriculture and renewable energy can coexist on the same land have developed in places that encourage both.
Listen to Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman on Energy Central Podcast
Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman recently appeared on an episode of the Power Perspectives podcast from online energy industry portal Energy Central to talk about her career,
Michigan EIBC and the factors that have allowed the organization and the Michigan clean energy industry in general to achieve some major successes lately.
In conversation with podcast host Jason Price, Dr. Sherman explains how Michigan EIBC has pursued a unique approach informed by Midwestern values. “I have gotten some feedback from members the way we do things in Michigan and with Michigan EIBC is pretty unique. We have a very clear policy that every member is equally important to us. We don’t have a model that allows voices that contribute more to have more of a say. Everybody’s opinion and voice is important,” she said.
A good example of the results of this approach is the passage and signing into law this year of a bill to allow utility-scale solar systems over 2 MW in size, at the discretion of local governments, to make “payments in lieu of taxes (PILT) instead of paying ad valorem property taxes, potentially paving a path forward for the construction of more solar projects. That bill was the result of two years of effort and “countless hours in work groups,” Sherman described, to find a compromise among parties like local governments, utilities, rural landowners and more.
“I think we’ll really make a huge difference in terms of incentivizing local communities and developers on solar projects. It ended up being a win-win that a lot of our members are really excited about,” she said in the podcast.
Atwell, LLC is a national consulting, engineering, and construction services firm with offices throughout the country that deliver a broad range of strategic and creative solutions to clients in three core markets: real estate and land development, power and energy, and oil and gas. Atwell provides comprehensive turnkey services including land and right of way support, engineering, land surveying, environmental compliance and permitting, and project and program management.
D2 Solar LLC
D2 Solar’s formation was motivated by a desire to improve social and environmental conditions through solar energy, and to help Michigan realize its solar potential. D2 operates a warehouse in Detroit that sells solar modules, and we also offer consulting to organizations who want to go solar.
Ecotelligent Homes is an award-winning and licensed home performance contractor that specializes in identifying the root cause of your home’s unique comfort, and indoor air quality concerns. We install customized energy efficiency improvements to solve your problem. If you’re looking for an energy efficiency contractor in Metro Detroit, we can improve your home’s energy usage, insulation, and heating and cooling. Our energy audits will show you what needs to be done so you can be on your way to a more comfortable home that helps preserve natural resources.
FLO is a leading North American electric vehicle (EV) charging network operator and a smart charging solutions provider. We fight climate change by accelerating EV adoption through a vertically integrated business model and delivering EV drivers the most dependable charging experience from curbside to countryside. Every month, we enable more than 1 million charging events thanks to over 90,000 fast and level 2 EV charging stations deployed at public, private and residential locations. FLO operates across North America and our high-quality charging stations are assembled with care in Michigan and Quebec.
GEM Energy provides comprehensive services and technologies to improve customer business performance and reduce facility operation costs by providing expertise in engineering, procurement, construction, operations and maintenance. Services include combined heat and power (CHP) systems; HVAC and plumbing, facility management, utility procurement, solar development and building automation controls for the commercial, industrial, institutional and mission critical markets. GEM Energy is part of the Rudolph Libbe Group (RLG), a one-stop provider of construction and facility services ranging from site selection and construction to energy solutions and ongoing facility management. The full-service contractor, comprised of Rudolph Libbe Inc., GEM Inc., GEM Energy, Lehman Daman and Rudolph Libbe Properties, is focused on ensuring its customers succeed. Our headquarters is in Toledo with offices in Cleveland, Columbus and Lima, Ohio; Ithaca, New York; and Detroit, Michigan areas.
Utopian Power is a Michigan-based clean energy development company focused on providing localized solutions that fit the needs of our customers and their communities. With a mission statement of “Accelerating renewable energy adoption by providing responsible energy options to communities, be they individuals, businesses, cities, regions, or the world.”
Utopian Power offers management and execution of clean energy projects, including consultation, development, finance, design, and construction; with a market focus on municipal, community or utility scale energy developments.
Michigan Energy News
- A state Senate Committee advances a bill to revise the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund (SOAR), including renaming it the Make It in Michigan Fund.
- The bills to streamline permitting of renewable energy projects are necessary if Michigan is going to be “truly serious about realizing the benefits of a solar-powered grid,” Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights Executive Secretary-Treasurer Tom Lutz writes.
- Climate change has led Consumers Energy to change the design standard for its distribution system from being able to withstand winds of up to 40 mph to being able to withstand winds of up to 80 mph, President and CEO Garrick Rochow said in the company’s recent quarterly earnings call.
- The MPSC issues an order asking Consumers Energy to explain why it shouldn’t be found to have violated billing practices for making too many estimates of bills for customers with faulty meters.
- Low-income Michiganders are receiving $161 million for energy bill assistance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), according to U.S. Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow.
National Energy News
- The U.S. Department of Energy releases a draft road map for reforming grid interconnection that has recommendations that go beyond FERC’s recent interconnection rule.
- Improving energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings is important to help ease the transition for the grid to accommodate growth in EVs, writes American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy Senior Research Associate for Transportation Peter Huether.
- Time is running out on a Wisconsin bill to enable third-party community solar.
- Battery storage operators in Texas are criticizing a new rule from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) that they say would discourage development of new battery storage projects.
- Canary Media profiles six start-ups working on carbon-free methods to make cement and concrete, an important accomplishment to reduce emissions from heavy industries.
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.
Elevate’s Senior Program Manager, Michigan Justice 40 Accelerator supports Elevate’s mission by leading equity-focused programs and projects that support building the capacity of community-based organizations to implement community-driven climate solutions. The Senior Program Manager collaborates across the organization as well as with key partner organizations, public sector partners. The Senior Program Manager will serve as the primary point of contact for the MI Justice40 Accelerator cohort members on their journey of federal funding readiness and implementation.
The Technical Project Manager, Community Programs (MI) leads the implementation of projects and small programs, maintains client relationships, and assists with program development for specific initiatives related to affordable housing and sustainable communities with an emphasis on energy and water efficiency and renewable energy. Many projects focus on utility affordability, building decarbonization, renewable energy access, climate planning, and/or community resilience. This position requires some technical background in building science, construction management, energy auditing, energy engineering, or other related analytical expertise.
Michigan and National Energy Events
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.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has announced $1.2 million in funding available for matching grants to advance strategic deployment of EV infrastructure along Lake Michigan, part of the “Lake Michigan Circuit” being built in cooperation with Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. Matching grants are available to public, private, or nonprofit entities, for publicly available level 2 chargers or direct current (DC) fast chargers. Applications are due by 5 pm, Eastern Standard Time, Dec. 4, 2023. The request for proposals and other information about this opportunity can be found here.
Michigan EGLE issues an RFP offering grants through its Retooling Program for small manufacturers to implement energy efficiency upgrades. Applications are due March 3, 2024 or until funds are committed.