- Newsletter (396)
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:
Governor Says Michigan’s “Clean Energy Future Is Bright” At Signing of Landmark Bill Package
On Nov. 28, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a clean energy bill package that was recently passed by the legislature and represents the culmination of years of work from stakeholders, including Michigan EIBC and our members, to get the right policies in place to get Michigan to 100% clean energy generation by 2040, supported by energy storage, while expanding energy efficiency and customer-sited renewables, enabling siting of wind, solar, and storage projects, and creating thousands of jobs.
The bills she is signing will “make Michigan the best state in the Midwest for climate action and the strongest state in the nation when it comes to labor standards for clean energy production,” Gov. Whitmer said in a signing presentation at Detroit’s Eastern Market, where she spoke from a stage featuring solar panels provided by Michigan EIBC member Michigan Solar Solutions.
This summer, Gov. Whitmer delivered a speech calling for the passage of policies to realize the goals of the MI Healthy Climate Plan, and these policies were ultimately implemented by the package she just signed. In that speech, the governor cited this year’s report from Michigan EIBC and Michigan EIBC member 5 Lakes Energy that analyzed the economic benefits of state-level clean energy policies to make the case that these policies would grow the state’s economy while saving customers money.
The governor cited the numbers from our report again this week. “Michigan’s clean energy future is bright. Today’s bills will lower household utility costs by an average of $145 a year, create 160,000 good-paying jobs, and bring nearly $8 billion of federal tax dollars home to Michigan for clean energy projects,” she said.
The governor’s signing is “a well-timed action to further Michigan’s economic leadership, building upon a clean energy sector with more jobs and new projects than any other state in the Midwest,” Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman was quoted as saying in a statement released by the governor’s office. “By setting a strong renewable portfolio standard and nation-leading energy storage target, and by allowing more Michiganders to save money with energy efficiency, electrification, and rooftop solar, these bills pave the way for Michigan’s clean energy economy to grow and thrive.”
Governor Signs Right to Charge Bill Into Law
In addition to the package, this week Gov. Whitmer also signed into law HB 4706, popularly known as the “Right to Charge” bill.
Michigan EIBC, along with partners Clean Fuels Michigan and michAUTO, strongly supported the bill as a key step toward making it easier for businesses to add EV charging infrastructure and to ensure that Michigan can access all of the available federal funding under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program. The bill makes it clear that businesses that sell EV charging services do not automatically meet the definition of “electric utility” under Michigan law.
“Electric vehicles are the future of mobility, and we need to update our laws to lay the groundwork for that future,” bill sponsor and state Rep. Sharon MacDonell (D-Troy) said in a statement released after the signing. “By accelerating the growth of Michigan’s EV charging network, we can stimulate green business and job growth while eliminating range anxiety and encouraging more drivers to choose this cleaner form of transportation.”
MPSC Issues Orders on DTE Rate Case, Line 5
At a Dec. 1 meeting, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) made decisions in two of its most significant proceedings this year: DTE’s electric rate case, in which the utility was seeking one of the biggest rate increases on its customers in years, and an application from Enbridge for a permit to relocate a section of its Line 5 pipeline.
On DTE’s rate case, the MPSC approved a rate increase of $368 million, a significant cut from the $619 million originally requested by DTE. The return on equity approved for DTE was 9.9%, down from 10.25% as requested.
Commissioner Katherine Peretick said the MPSC decided to disallow DTE from collecting “hundreds of millions” of dollars of costs in rates for various spending projects that were found to be “poorly justified” by the utility. DTE needs to provide sufficient detail on the costs and benefits of its proposals “if DTE expects to spend customer money on their projects in the future,” she said.
On Line 5, the MPSC approved Enbridge’s application for a siting permit for a proposal to relocate a segment of pipelines “now located on the lakebed of the Straits of Mackinac” and replace this segment “with a single pipeline in a tunnel deep below the lakebed,” as the MPSC described it in a statement.
“Today’s order also found there is a public need to protect the ecological, natural, and cultural resources of the Great Lakes that would be helped by replacing the existing dual pipelines, now exposed to the elements and risks including ship anchor strikes on the Straits’ lakebed,” the MPSC said. “Other modes of transporting Line 5’s products, such as by truck, rail, oil tanker, or barges, likely would increase environmental impairment and increase the risk of spills that could significantly harm the Great Lakes and its environment.”
Ameresco, Inc. (NYSE:AMRC) is a leading cleantech integrator and renewable energy asset developer, owner and operator. Our comprehensive portfolio includes energy efficiency, infrastructure upgrades, asset sustainability and renewable energy solutions delivered to clients throughout North America and Europe.
Founded in 2008, award-winning Better World Builders is Southwest Michigan’s premier Home Performance Contractor and your one-stop shop for everything related to energy efficiency. Our mission is to create added home value through healthy, resilient, and energy-efficient homes. We help our clients take control of their energy use and indoor air quality environments.
Our team of experts has an intimate understanding of building science that allows us to create custom plans to make even the oldest homes perform like new. The average person spends 90% of their time indoors, and Better World Builders team wants to make your indoor spaces as comfortable, safe, durable, and efficient as possible.
We design and implement programs that reduce costs, protect people and the environment, and ensure the benefits of clean and efficient energy use reach those who need them most. Elevate Energy seeks to create a world in which everyone has clean and affordable heat, power, and water in their homes and communities — no matter who they are or where they live. Making the benefits and services of the clean energy economy accessible to everyone is how we fight climate change while supporting equity. We want to work with everyone we can to help them reduce their energy costs and improve their quality of life — from homeowners, renters, and building owners, to nonprofit organizations, utilities, and municipalities. Our team builds strong connections in the places we work and delivers high-quality programs and services that contribute to healthy, thriving communities.
Michigan Energy News
- “The fact that we have this mandate is an incredible victory,” Michigan EIBC member Walker-Miller Energy Services Director of Community Partnerships Ben Dueweke was quoted as saying in an NBC News report about the recently-signed bill package in Michigan.
- “We must not allow utilities and other corporate interests to continue to block critical reforms addressing affordability, reliability, and environmental justice,” Union of Concerned Scientists Midwest Senior Policy Manager James Gignac writes in a blog post about the bill package.
- The bill package also includes provisions related to waste-to-energy and landfill gas projects.
National Energy News
- The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is having desired effects on growth of infrastructure needed to support EVs, Alli Gold Roberts, state policy director, and Zach Friedman, federal policy director, at Michigan EIBC trade organization member Ceres write in Energy News Network.
- Washington state utility Puget Sound Energy is working with AutoGrid on a virtual power plant that they hope to grow to 100 MW by 2025.
- AM radios should not be mandated for EVs because electromagnetic signals produced by the vehicles’ batteries interfere with them, Consumer Technology Association President and CEO Gary Shapiro writes.
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.
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
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) is holding public input sessions as it prepares for competitive federal funding coming from the Climate Pollution Reduction Grant Program:
- December 5 – Flint
- December 6 – Marquette
- December 14 – Virtual
- December 12 – Petoskey
- December 18 – Virtual
These events are free to attend but registration is required.
The Center for Automotive Research (CAR) is conducting the 2023 Battery Industry Education and Training Needs Assessment, a workforce skills assessment of the Lithium Ion (Li) Battery Industry. The goal of this assessment is to gain a better understanding of the evolving employment needs within companies across the battery industry and identify any skills gaps that may be supported by further training and education. Click here to access the assessment through Dec. 1.
Consumers Energy has issued 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. Read the RFP documents here. Respondent and project qualification applications are due Dec. 6.
The City of Grand Rapids has released a Request for Information/Request for Qualifications related to its plan to develop solar on the Butterworth Landfill. Responses are due Dec. 29, 2023.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office has announced a $38 million funding opportunity focused on cross-sector technologies for industrial decarbonization. Applications are due March 20. Learn more here.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has several open grant applications related to energy efficiency for businesses, local governments, tribal governments and farmers, as well as support for public, private, or nonprofit entities for deploying publicly available fast-charging electric vehicle stations along the Lake Michigan Circuit. These applications have various deadlines from January to March of 2024. Find more information here.