Newsletter: Consumers Announces Plans to Cut Emissions by 80% by 2040; 30×30 Ballot Initiative Launched; MPSC releases 2016 reports on EWR/RE

This newsletter was originally published on February 21, 2018.

Consumers Energy Announces Plans to Cut Emissions by 80% by 2040

On Monday, February 19, Consumers Energy announced its plans to stop using coal by 2040 and reduce its carbon emissions by 80 percent. The company also plans to generate more than 40 percent of its electricity using renewable energy and storage by 2040.

According to Patti Poppe, president and CEO of Consumers Energy and CMS Energy, the company has already reduced carbon emissions by 38 percent. The company currently has five coal-fired units at two sites that account for 23 percent of their generation capacity. All of these coal-fired units are planned to close by 2040.

In addition to their carbon goals, Consumers Energy also released five-year environmental goals that include saving one billion gallons of water, reducing waste to landfills by 35 percent, and protecting/restoring/improving 5,000 acres of land in Michigan.

Of the Consumers announcement, Liesl Clark, Michigan EIBC president, said “Consumers Energy’s bold commitment to clean, renewable energy will help bolster Michigan’s growing clean energy industry, which is home to more than 92,000 jobs, and spark a new generation of entrepreneurs, small businesses and startups in the clean energy sector. Businesses big and small across Michigan should applaud Consumers Energy and challenge other energy providers, like DTE Energy, to follow through on commitments to increase investments in clean energy and continue sparking jobs in the clean energy sector.”


MPSC Releases Reports on Energy Waste Reduction and Status of Renewable Energy in Michigan in 2016

The Michigan Public Service Commission released its annual energy waste reduction and renewable energy reports for 2016. The reports highlight ongoing customer benefits of utility energy waste reduction programs as well as the growth of renewable energy projects.

The Utility Energy Waste Reduction Programs report found that Michigan utility providers met a combined average of 128% of their targets for electric energy savings in 2016 and 125% of their targets for natural gas energy savings. Energy waste reduction programs saved more than 1.19 million MWh of electricity and more than 5.24 billion cubic feet of natural gas. The report found that every $1 spent on energy waste reduction programs resulted in $4.29 in savings.

The Renewable Energy Standard report shows that wind continues to be the primary source of new renewable energy in Michigan, with more projects expected in the future. At the end of 2017, there were 1,925 MW of utility scale wind projects operating in the state, and three wind farms with 294 MW of wind capacity began operating during 2017 and the beginning of 2018. The report found that wind accounts for 69% of renewable energy capacity in Michigan. There were over 9,000 advanced energy jobs in Michigan through the second quarter of 2017, up from 6,775 in 2005. That’s in part because the average cost for renewable energy is $72.60/MWh, compared to $133/MWh for coal.


Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan Ballot Initiative

On Tuesday, February 13, the Board of State Canvassers approved the language of a proposed ballot initiative from Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan to legislatively increase the renewable energy standard to 30 percent by 2030. The campaign has already begun to collect signatures and will have until July to gather the more than 225,000 necessary to place the initiative on the November ballot. 

There is significant interest in this issue from many different stakeholders. DTE Energy CEO Gerry Anderson has expressed opposition to the ballot initiative, stating that “Energy policy is complex, and a ballot initiative is a bad idea.”


Renewing Members

Apex Clean Energy is an independent renewable energy company focused on developing utility-scale generation facilities. Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, Apex is building one of the nation’s largest, most diversified portfolios of renewable energy resources, capable of producing over 13,000 MW of clean energy. The company is currently exploring the feasibility of constructing more than 500 MW of generation in Michigan.


Covanta Kent, the Kent County Waste to Energy facility, is critical to Kent County’s integrated solid waste system: it generates electricity for 11,000 homes, about the number of residences in the City of Walker; it’s a baseload energy source diversifying Michigan’s renewable energy portfolio; they’ve recovered over 124,000 tons of scrap steel that would have otherwise not been recycled; they preserved 10 years of South Kent Landfill airspace, extending the life of the landfill; they provide good jobs for 50 employees; and it has generated 100,943,000 KWh of electricity in 2016.


Homeland Solar (also known as Homeland Builders) is a general contractor specializing in solar installations in Michigan since 2010.  Great designs, engineering and installation work are company hallmarks as it conducts business with “own your own power™” as its service mark.  The company’s  diverse solar installations include residential, commercial and industrial, as well as public sector and non-profit work.  Details at  As the electric future unfolds, Homeland Solar aims to employ teamwork with its customers and new technologies as they’re proven.


Michigan Policy, Regulation & Utilities

  • A case before the Michigan Tax Tribunal may determine if residential solar panels should be taxed as property improvements.
  • Consumers Energy’s claim that it doesn’t need any new capacity over the next decade is stalling hundreds of megawatts of new solar projects, according to developers seeking PURPA contracts with Consumers Energy.
  • State representatives are working to find the cause of skyrocketing utility bills from customers around mid-Michigan.
  • DTE Energy awaits a MPSC decision on the utility’s proposed combined-cycle natural gas plant in the spring.
  • DTE Energy’s top executive questions the need for Michigan to adopt a statewide 30% renewable energy standard by 2030, saying the state’s utilities are already transitioning to renewables.

Michigan Energy Leaders

  • A Grand Rapids utility is using a network of pipes carrying hot water from a new natural gas plant to melt snow and ice on downtown sidewalks.
  • With support from the Michigan Energy Office, the Grand Rapids 2030 District has announced upcoming events to help cut energy waste and assist small businesses purchase energy.


National Energy Stories

  • Congressman Walberg’s bill intends to remove key provisions of a federal law, the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA), that requires utilities to buy generation from independent producers if it is cost-competitive.
  • All five FERC commissioners spoke at this year’s National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners conference, on topics ranging from resilience to potential reforms to PURPA.
  • Energy Secretary Rick Perry unveiled a new office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response at the Department of Energy, which will focus on “energy infrastructure security.”
  • The Trump administration’s fiscal 2019 budget calls for $30.6 billion for the Energy Department (a 1.3% increase from fiscal 2017) and $696 million for the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (a 66% reduction from the 2017 budget).
  • A federal judge rules the Trump administration illegally delayed and must publish four energy efficiency standards that will ultimately save U.S. consumers $8.4 billion on their utility bills.
  • According to Greentech Media, generation from renewables, including hydropower, broke a record last year, accounting for 18% of the overall energy mix, according to new data.
  • Clean energy projects create jobs, fuel the economy and drive down emissions, says the president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and a director at Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum.
  • Millions of dollars are on the line as Iowa and Kansas consider how to calculate the benefits of energy efficiency programs.
  • A former lawmaker and utility regulator says ratepayers would benefit from a proposal by grid operator PJM to compensate generators fairly when power is needed most.
  • Utility companies across the country are increasing their reliance on solar energy and batteries, which could edge out natural gas in power markets.
  • A Minnesota project looks to show that “solar developments can coexist with agriculture in a very effective way.”
  • The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis highlights nine electricity markets leading the transition to wind and solar.

National Energy Leaders

  • A Washington company could be on the verge of bringing hydrogen power to the commercial scale.


Michigan Energy Events 

Michigan EIBC will host a Michigan Energy Forum: Solar Networking Lunch at member company Varnum’s Grand Rapids office on March 5. Register here.

You’re invited to MEECA’s 4th Annual Gala & Awards Celebration on March 6 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. Learn more and register here.

Michigan EIBC’s 6th Annual Member Meeting is scheduled for April 30 in Lansing, followed by a Lobby Day on May 1. Mark your calendars, and register here to reserve your spot at the Annual Member Meeting today.

Michigan EIBC will host a Michigan Energy Forum on energy efficiency and lighting on June 11 at member company CLEAResult’s office in Detroit. Stay tuned for details!

On July 17-19, PlugVolt will be hosting its next Battery Seminar in Plymouth, Michigan (USA), featuring an entire day of in-depth training by EnerDelon Lithium Ion technology, alongside complementary industry updates by automotive and grid storage OEMs, global battery manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers. Attendees also get a tour of Intertek’s Battery Testing Center. Register here.


National Energy Events  

EUCI invites you to the Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Utility Solar Rates Summit March 1-2 in Nashville, TN. The summit will explore common NEM rate structures and many alternatives under consideration and examine the array of options that utilities and regulatory commissions are looking to as a means for striking the necessary balance between promoting the advancement of solar policy and development, facilitating appropriate rate recovery, ensuring grid reliability and enabling consumer choice. Register here. Members, check out your inboxes for an exclusive member-only discount! 

EUCI invites you to its Renewable Energy 101 Forum, March 12-13, in Portland, Oregon. Learn more and register here.

On March 13-15, energy innovators from across industry, government, and academia will gather at the Gaylord National Convention Center right outside Washington, DC for a three-day program showcasing transformational energy technologies. The 2018 Summit agenda has been posted online! ARPA-E has assembled 20+ panel discussions (including topics on defense, bioenergy, and grid technologies), networking receptions, and technology demonstrations. (Please note the agenda is subject to change). Register TODAY

EUCI is hosting two courses on smart metering: Smart Metering 101 and Advanced Smart Meeting courses on March 19 and March 20, respectively.

EUCI invites you to its event, “Capital Planning for Grid Modernization: Building the Grid of Tomorrow,” April 3, in Denver, Colorado. Register here.

ACI invites you to “Microgrids East 2018,” on April 11-12 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Register here.

EUCI invites you to the Utility-Scale Solar Power Plant Fundamentals conference on April 18 – 19 in Portland, Oregon. Register here.

AWEA invites you to the Powering Forward conference May 7-10 in Chicago, Illinois. The conference, entitled WINDPOWER, will create an opportunity for the industry comes together to plan for the future and keep this success story growing. Register here.

Join ACI in San Francisco on June 6-7 for Grid-Scale Storage 2018 and learn through different panel discussions, site tours, workshops, and presentations on the significant market opportunities for energy storage. This three-day conference will cover all aspects of the implementation of energy storage technologies as a key enabler of grid modernization, addressing the electric grid’s most pressing needs by improving its stability and resiliency. Investment in energy storage is essential for keeping pace with the soaring demand for electricity. Register here.

You’re invited to present, advertise, exhibit, or sponsor at The Energy Fair, June 15-17 in Custer, Wisconsin. Learn more and register here.

You’re invited to the EV Roadmap 11, June 19-20 in Portland, Oregon. The Roadmap Conference is the nation’s largest and most advanced annual conference on electric and smart mobility. Held each summer in the Pacific Northwest, Roadmap includes nearly 100 national and international speakers, dozens of exhibits, regional smart mobility tours, and high-energy interactive sessions. Expect to make connections with a diverse mix of key leaders in the industry, government, and utilities. Register here.

You’re invited to the Grid Evolution Summit hosted by Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), in Washington, D.C., July 9-12. At the Grid Evolution Summit, you’ll have the opportunity to create solutions that will leave a lasting impact on our energy future. Register here.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) invite you to Solar Power International, September 24-27, in Anaheim, California. Registration opens in spring of 2018 here.


Announcements and Opportunities

The Michigan Battle of the Buildings is April 18. Join the awards and recognition program for energy use reduction today! The competition is open to all Michigan area commercial, industrial, non-profit, educational institutions & multi-family buildings. Any building type except single family residential. Registration ends March 31.

Nominations are now being accepted for the Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards to honor Michigan organizations and individuals for their commitment to responsible energy production and consumption. The Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards celebrate outstanding achievements by recognizing people and organizations that have taken firm, meaningful actions to stop energy waste. Last year, energy solutions honored at the awards ranged from installing energy-efficient, state-of-the-art heating, cooling and lighting systems to common-sense, lower-cost steps like caulking windows and adding insulation. Nominations can be submitted online at through March 31 with winners to be announced at a celebration in the fall.  

The Michigan Agency for Energy announced a $400 discount for public building operators who attend building operator certification classes this year in Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Lansing or Detroit. Register here for a Level 1 class and here for a Level 2 class.