Newsletter: Congress Passes One-Year Extension of PTC

This newsletter was originally published on December 15, 2014.

Congress Passes One-Year Extension of PTC, Other Energy Tax Provisions; State Legislature Passes Pair of Energy Efficiency Bills

It was a busy final week of legislative activity in both Washington and Lansing, with the U.S. Senate passing legislation that would extend the Production Tax Credit, the 179D Commercial Building Energy Efficiency Tax Deduction, the Energy Efficient New Homes Tax Credit, and a series of credits for the biofuels industry. The House had previously passed an identical version of the legislation, which now goes to the President’s desk. The various tax provisions contained in the measure are extended until the end of 2014, and are retroactive to January 1 of this year, meaning that any projects that meet the qualifications for the various credits and deductions and were done over the course of this year will qualify.

In addition, Congress approved a one-year spending plan that maintains funding for the EPA Clean Power Plan and the DOE Loan Programs Office, and includes a $25 million boost for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. On the downside, the so-called “CRomnibus” spending package includes language that restricts enforcement of lighting efficiency rules that were adopted by Congress with strong bipartisan support in 2007, but have more recently been the subject of political pushback.

At the state level, the Senate gave unanimous approval this week to a pair of important policy measures. HB 5397, which passed Tuesday by a vote of 36-0, would allow municipal electric utilities to offer their customers the option of financing energy efficiency upgrades, distributed generation installations, and the build-out of electric vehicle infrastructure through the local utility, with loans repaid through the utility bill. HB 5806, which would provide greater flexibility for Michigan community colleges in using performance contracting to finance energy upgrades. Both measures also received overwhelming bipartisan support from the House, and now go to Governor Snyder for his approval.

Michigan EIBC strongly supported federal tax extenders legislation and the two measures that passed the Michigan legislature, and congratulate legislative leaders in both Lansing and Washington for taking action prior to wrapping up for the year. Michigan EIBC’s policy committee recently convened to discuss its 2015 legislative priorities; we look forward to continuing to push for a more business-friendly environment for our industry in Michigan.


Michigan EIBC in Action

Michigan EIBC works hard to make sure the business voice for advanced energy in Michigan is heard loud and clear where it matters most. This section highlights some of our weekly activities so you can track our activities on your behalf. Any questions or want to make sure we’re aware of a key industry event? Contact us at

  • The Michigan EIBC Board held its quarterly meeting Monday in Lansing.
  • Michigan EIBC President Dan Scripps met Monday morning with Robert Jackson, the new director of the Michigan Energy Office.
  • Scripps also participated in a statewide press conference highlighting the release of a new report from A Renewable America entitled “Powering Up Michigan: A Report on the Economic Benefits of Renewable Electricity Development.”


Michigan Energy News

  • Midwest Energy News had a piece on the Municipal Utility Residential Clean Energy Program Act (HB 5397) that was approved this week by the Michigan legislature (see lead story above).
  • Michigan Technological University and Michigan Energy Innovators Award winner REL, Inc., a Calumet-based technology company with a focus on material-process development, have been awarded a $2.1-million, three-year investment from Southwestern Energy Company (SWN) of Houston, Texas.
  • With Cross Winds’ completion last week, Consumers Energy now meets the state of Michigan’s mandate of 10 percent of its electricity generated from renewable energy sources by 2015.
  • Walker-Miller Energy Services was recently honored as by Crain’s Detroit on its Business’ List of Cool Places to Work in Michigan.


Upcoming Michigan Events 

MAREC is hosting How to Buy or Sell a Business on January 13, 2015 from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. in Muskegon.

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

MEEA will be hosting their annual Midwest Energy Solutions Conference to raise awareness and reinforce the importance of energy efficiency in the Midwest on January 28 – 30, 2015 in Chicago.

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


U.S. Advanced Energy News

  • Utility companies across New England have been warning customers to expect sharp price increases, for which the companies blame the continuing shortage of pipeline capacity to bring natural gas to the region.
  • Iowa could add about 1,300 more advanced energy jobs next year, pushing up employment in wind, solar, renewable fuels and energy efficiency to nearly 24,000, according to a report from the Advanced Energy Economy Institute.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched its Energy Star Home Advisor, an online tool designed to help Americans save money and energy by improving the energy efficiency of their homes through recommended, customized and prioritized home-improvement projects.
  • Jigar Shah, who spoke at the inaugural 2013 Michigan Energy Innovators Gala, wrote a feature on why now is the time to invest in advanced energy.


Advanced Energy Resources

  • The Department of Energy has unveiled a website that will provide free public access to accepted peer-reviewed manuscripts or published scientific journal articles from projects funded by the DOE within 12 months of publication.
  • Advanced Energy Economy, Michigan EIBC’s national partner organization, has launched PowerSuite, a new suite of tools that allows companies a one-stop on-line portal to search, track, and collaborate on state legislation and regulatory proceedings from around the country. PowerSuite includes both BillBoard, the AEE dashboard for managing state legislation, and DocketDash, the AEE dashboard for managing state public utility commission proceedings.
  • First Energy Finance, which includes Michigan EIBC Board Member Rachel Tronstein, launched, a new national solar permitting database that provides information on permitting for solar in jurisdictions across the country. The database includes a variety of information, from average permit turnaround times, to information required to be included in the permit, to contact information for individual jurisdictions. You can browse the requirements for the Michigan cities included in the database here.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy has launched A Guide to Federal Finance Facilities Available for Energy Efficiency Upgrades and Clean Energy Deployment. The downloadable guide provides information about the various federal financing programs available for energy efficiency and renewable energy — making it easier for state, local and tribal leaders, along with their partners in the private sector, to find capital for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
  • The Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker, an online resource developed by Advanced Energy Economy, Michigan EIBC’s national partner, and the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University, features a free, searchable database of pending and enacted advanced energy legislation covering electric generation, energy efficiency, infrastructure, energy finance, economic development and other issues.
  • DOE’s Wind Program recently updated its website, expanding its Offshore Wind RD&D webpage to a full section, including content on its portfolio of technology development, market acceleration, and demonstration projects. The program’s offshore wind portfolio is aimed at overcoming key barriers to offshore wind development, including the relatively high cost of energy, the mitigation of environmental impacts, the technical challenges of project installation, and grid interconnection. These pages create a hub for program-funded offshore wind project results, reports, and resources, and will be updated regularly as projects conclude.
  • The Energy Department has launched a new online tool—the Wind Career Map. The map highlights the broad range of careers and required skill sets across the wind industry


Funding Opportunities

  • Apply to participate in Rebuild Michigan, a program that helps commercial property owners reduce energy use, while saving money and improving building quality. Applications will be evaluated as they are received.
  • The Michigan Business Accelerator Fund provides support to organizations providing specialized business acceleration services and resources. Maximum funding is $50,000. Applications will be evaluated as they are received.
  • NextEnergy has launched NextChallenge, a business competition meant to inspire the development of innovative energy solutions. The challenge will address the unique lighting technology needs of Ford Motor Company and RecoveryPark, a major urban farming operation in Detroit. Participants are asked to submit an online Request for Solutions proposal to one, or both, lighting challenges by 11:59 p.m. EST on March 6, 2015. Michigan-based winners are eligible for up to $80,000 cash and/or in-kind support and non-Michigan-based winners are eligible for up to $40,000 in-kind support.
  • The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) through the Energy Office (MEO) is offering small businesses, currently located in Michigan, financial assistance for energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy project implementation. Deadline: September 30, 2015 or until funds are exhausted.
  • The SunShot Initiative has released a notice of intent to Issue Solar Energy Manufacturing 2 Funding Announcement.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy will provide loans for projects that employ innovative and renewable or efficient energy technologies. Deadlines: January 14, 2015; December 2, 2015: March 2, 2016
  • MEDC opening funding announcements.
  • Funding opportunities listed on NextEnergy’s website.
  • Financial opportunities from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
  • U.S. Small Business Administration grants.
  • The United States Department of Energy announced the topics for an upcoming funding opportunity for small businesses which include two geothermal subtopics: a) innovations to develop under-utilized markets and b) a technology transfer opportunity for coproduced geothermal resources. Letters of intent are due December 15 and full applications by February 3, 2015.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy will provide loans for projects that employ innovative and renewable or efficient energy technologies. Deadlines: January 14, 2015; December 2, 2015: March 2, 2016
  • DOE-SBIR provides funding to small businesses using a funding ladder similar to that of cleantech investors with $150,000-$225,000 at Phase I; $1 million-1.5 million at Phase II; a potential additional $1 million for sequential Phase II and Phase III (not-set-aside funded) at up to $4.5 million.
  • Mandatory Letter of Intent deadline: December 15, 2014 Application (requires LOI) deadline: February 3, 2015
    • The Physics of Reliability: Evaluating Design Insights for Component Technologies in Solar 2 (PREDICTS 2) funding opportunity announcement (FOA) seeks research and development projects that will advance the reliability and durability of solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies. These projects will directly support SunShot’s mission to cut the cost of solar energy technologies and increase widespread deployment of safe, reliable and efficient solar electricity nationwide. The federal funding for this opportunity will likely range from $500,000 to $1,500,000 with a minimum 10%-20% required awardee cost share.
    • Submission Deadline for Concept Papers January 7, 2015 at 5:00pm ET
    • Submission Deadline for Full Applications March 12, 2015 at 5:00pm ET
    • Submission Deadline for Replies to Reviewer Comments April 22, 2015 at 5:00pm ET



The Energy Department and U.S. Department of Agriculture will present a live webinar titled “Residential Energy Efficiency Deep Dive, Part Two” on Thursday, December 18, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Energy Department and U.S. Department of Agriculture will present a live webinar titled “On-Bill Financing” on Thursday, January 8, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Michigan EIBC national partner AEE will be hosting Order 745 and the Future of Demand Response: An Interview with Former FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff on January 21 at 1 ET.