Newsletter: Electric Vehicles, Mobility Take Center Stage at North American International Auto Show

This newsletter was originally published on January 9, 2017.

Electric vehicles, mobility take center stage at North American International Auto Show

The 2017 North American International Auto Show is underway, and much of the buzz again involves developments electric vehicles and connected and autonomous vehicles. Even before NAIAS officially opened, Ford announced it was investing $4.5 billion to develop new electric vehicles, with CEO Mark Fields providing details on production plans for seven of the 13 new EVs Ford will make in the next five years. Not to be outdone, GM’s all-new, all-electric Chevy Bolt was named NAIAS Car of the Year. The Bolt was also previously named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year. And Volkswagen unveiled an all-electric version of its iconic VW bus. Vice President Joe Biden was also optimistic on electric vehicles, sharing his view that a majority of vehicles would be electric within 15 years during his tour of the auto show on Tuesday.

On the mobility side, much of the buzz surrounded the Automobili-D autonomous vehicle test track and demonstration hall, which also featured industry leaders and tech start-ups focusing on autonomous driving, connected car technologies, e-mobility, mobility services, and advances in urban mobility. John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, Google’s autonomous vehicle development company, provided keynote remarks at the Automobili-D press event, while Waymo and Chrysler showed off their new self-driving Pacifica. The Auto Show also highlighted a number of start-ups, including one that is looking to recycle batteries from electric vehicles for use in secondary applications.

As the transportation and energy sectors converge, Michigan EIBC will continue to play a leading role in unlocking innovation and supporting efforts to keep Michigan at the cutting edge of this rapidly developing industry transformation. Want to be a part of the action? Join Michigan EIBC today!


Walberg, Dingell added to House Energy and Commerce Committee; Upton to Chair Energy Subcommittee

With two new members to the state’s delegation and Congressman Upton stepping down after six years as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, many thought Michigan’s influence over federal energy policy might wane in 2017. Instead, the state saw Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI7) and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI12) newly appointed to the Energy and Commerce Committee, with Upton (R-MI6) taking over as chair of the Energy Subcommittee. Michigan will also be represented on the House Appropriations Committee for the first time since 2011, as Congressman John Moolenaar (R-MI4) earning a spot, while newly elected Congressman Jack Bergman (R-MI1) was appointed to the House Budget Committee. In the Senate, Senator Stabenow (D-MI) remains on the Senate Budget and Finance Committees, as well as the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where she also sits on the Subcommittee on Energy.


Solarize Michigan spurs 250+% growth in solar deployment in Great Lakes Bay Region 

Solarize Michigan, the state’s first campaign to bring affordable solar technology to homes and small businesses, successfully led to the growth of solar deployment in the Great Lakes Bay Region of Bay, Midland and Saginaw counties last year, increasing installed capacity by more than 250 percent over 2015. Today, more than 40 percent of the total solar deployed in the Great Lakes Bay Region is the result of Solarize Michigan, which should serve as a template for Michigan communities looking for opportunities to unlock the economic and energy benefits solar has to offer.

According to the final report released this week, Solarize Michigan made solar a simple investment through affordable solar technology to homes and small businesses. The seven-month campaign was led by the Institute for Energy Innovation, the non-profit partner of Michigan EIBC, in partnership with 5 Lakes Energy, a Michigan-based clean energy consulting firm, with funding from the Mott Foundation. Other partners included Saginaw Future, Midland Tomorrow and Bay Future. The full report can be found at


New and Renewing Members




Apex Clean Energy

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 12,000 MW of clean energy. The company is currently exploring the feasibility of constructing more than 500 MW of generation in Michigan.




Catalyst Partners

Catalyst Partners is comprised of a multi-dimensional consortium of knowledge leaders with licensures in science, engineering, architecture, and interiors who are committed to high-performance and restorative design protocols. They collaborate with a client roster of building owners, developers, contactors and architects on projects of all sizes that are  regional, national and international in scope.



Commonwealth Associates

Profiled among the EC&M Magazine 2016 Top 10 Electrical Design Firms in the nation, Commonwealth is committed to influencing and shaping the secure energy future. We do this by providing unique, sustainable, and mutually beneficial solutions to our valued partners, which include: utilities, independent power producers, municipalities, industrial clients, and some of the nation’s leading academic, research, and healthcare facilities. We bring thought leadership to the national committees setting tomorrow’s electric utility standards today. Let us help you successfully plan and construct your power generation and delivery project with our full range of consulting and engineering design services. We are proudly 100% employee owned and managed.




Homeland Builders

Homeland Builders of Michigan is a general contractor offering energy and solar solutions since 2004. They are a licensed builder and authorized installer for Michigan Saves, Lean & Green Michigan, as well as Trade Ally for utility incentive programs. Their solar installations include diverse residential roof and ground systems, as well as those on the Michigan Theatre in A2, NextHome at Next Energy in Detroit, Washtenaw Food Hub on Old US-23, Arbor Motion Service Center and the First UU Church.




Invenergy drives innovation in energy. Invenergy and its affiliated companies develop, own, and operate large-scale renewable and other clean energy generation and storage facilities in the Americas, and Europe. Invenergy’s home office is located in Chicago and it has regional development offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan and Europe. Invenergy and its affiliated companies have developed more than 13,000 MW of projects that are in operation, construction or advanced development, including wind, solar, natural gas-fueled power generation and energy storage projects.





Levin Energy Partners

Levin Energy Partners is a driving force helping to shape America’s sustainable energy future. Levin Energy Partners, LLC is pioneering public-private partnerships and market-based approaches to save companies money, eliminate waste, and drive the transformation to a sustainable economy. Levin Energy Partners works with a wide range of stakeholders – including multi-family, commercial and industrial property owners, companies in the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors and state and local governments – to develop solutions that move innovative energy projects forward.

Levin Energy Partners created Lean & Green Michigan™, a statewide Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) district that all Michigan cities and counties may join free of charge. This innovative public-private partnership is building one large and efficient market for energy efficiency and renewable energy financing for commercial, industrial, and multi-family property owners in Michigan.


Michigan Energy Clips

Changes to Michigan’s net metering laws are getting national coverage, with stories in Utility Dive and Energy Manager Today. Michigan EIBC will host a special members-only call to discuss these changes and what they mean for the solar industry (and your company) on Wednesday, January 18, 2017. Make sure your business has a seat at the table and access to the inside information you need: join Michigan EIBC today!

Tracy Samilton of Michigan Public Radio ran a feature story on Lean & Green Michigan, Michigan’s statewide PACE program, which is operated by Michigan EIBC member Levin Energy Partners. The story also featured the recent PACE-finance energy upgrades at Heller Machine Tools in Troy.

Governor Snyder sat down for a wide-ranging energy interview with Midwest Energy News, covering topics such as the recently enacted energy legislation, the future of net metering, and the UP energy crisis.

Consumers Energy announced it expect to complete installation of smart meters in 2017, adding 550,000 meters this year for a total of 1.8 million meters overall.

The Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners adopted a one-year moratorium on wind development this month. Despite the moratorium, Apex Clean Energy pledged to continue moving forward with its proposed Maple Rapids Wind project.

The Huron County Board of Commissioners also enacted a year-long moratorium on wind development, though the moratorium does not affect Sempra US Gas & Power’s development in Winsor Township, NextEra’s project in Sherman and Sigel townships, or DTE’s proposed project in Filion Township. Meanwhile, petitions are being circulated in Huron County on a range of wind-related issues, including wind overlay districts in Sherman and Sigel townships and in the Filion area.

The Upper Michigan Energy Resources Coalition, which won approval in December to serve customers previously served by Wisconsin Electric Power Company and Wisconsin Public Service Commission, is proposing to build two new natural gas plants, one in Baraga Township and the other near the Tilden Mine in Negaunee.

Appeals court rules against DTE in emissions case.

The 2017 Battle of the Buildings in underway, a friendly competition that has buildings compete against each other in working to reduce energy consumption. Interested building owners can register their buildings for free through March 31.

Traverse City-based Heritage Sustainable Energy is considering a 1MW solar project in Leelanau County, and is currently negotiating a contract with Traverse City Light & Power.

Ann Arbor launched its new A2 Group Solar program with an event last night. The program facilitates group purchases of solar panels to help interested parties get a better price.

Nominations are now open for the 2017 Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards, which recognize energy efficiency projects completed in 2016. The deadline for applications is March 31, 2017.


National Energy News

A new report from the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory finds that the economic benefits of state renewable portfolio standards outweigh any costs.

PayPal and Arizona State University entered into an agreement with Arizona Public Service to purchase the output of a $90 million, 40 MW solar development north of Tucson.

It’s good news and bad news on global clean energy investment, which fell 18% to $287.5 billion in 2016. The upside is that part of the decline was doe to the continuing decline in the price of solar panels. Offshore wind also had a record year, growing to $30 billion globally.

The New York Times is highlighting the global energy transition and the limited ability of the federal government to stop it, noting that more than half of global energy investment is flowing to the development of clean energy resources, and that wind turbine technician is projected to be the fastest growing career in the U.S. over the next decade. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama penned an article for Science, entitled “The irreversible momentum of clean energy.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called on President-elect Donald Trump to drop the government’s defense of the Clean Power Plan as part of a letter that also included other efforts to limit regulations affecting coal mining and use.

Legislation introduced in the Wyoming State Senate would penalize utilities for using wind and solar as part of their energy mix. The bill specifies that by 2019, 100% of energy generated by Wyoming must come from a list of six approved sources, including coal and natural gas. Wind and solar are not on the list, except for personal use.

The EPA is alleging that Fiat Chrysler also cheated on diesel emissions testing, similar to allegations against Volkswagen that resulted in a $4.3 billion fine and the indictment of six VW executives.

The Senate Environment and Natural Works Committee has scheduled a hearing for January 18 to consider President-elect Trump’s nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, meanwhile, will meet on January 19 to consider the nomination of former Texas Governor Rick Perry to serve as U.S. Secretary of Energy.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called for the state to develop up to 2400 MW of offshore wind by 2030.


Michigan Energy Events
The Institute for Energy Innovation is hosting their bi-annual “Energy 101” for state legislators on January 25, in Lansing. Contact Nicole Forward for additional information.

Michigan EIBC is hosting a Michigan Energy Forum event on Monday, February 6 at the Varnum Law offices in Grand Rapids. This event will feature a recap of the recently enacted energy legislation, details from the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission report and Governor Snyder’s State of the State address, and top-level networking opportunities. Contact Nicole Forward for additional information.

The 2017 UP Energy Summit will take place on Thursday, February 16 at the Don H. Bottom University Center on the campus of Northern Michigan University in Marquette.

The Institute of Public Utilities is hosting its annual Michigan Forum on Economic Regulatory Policy on Friday, February 24 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing.

The Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association is hosting its 2017 Annual Gala on Thursday, March 2 in East Lansing. Tickets and more information are available here.

SAVE THE DATE: Michigan EIBC’s 5th Annual Member Meeting will take place on Wednesay, April 12 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. Additional details, sponsorship opportunities, and registration will be available shortly.

The Michigan Geothermal Energy Association is hosting its 2017 annual meeting on April 26-27 at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mt. Pleasant. Trevor Lauer, president and chief operating officer of DTE Electric, will speak at the dinner on April 26. Additional details to follow.

National Energy Events

The 15th annual Cleantech Forum will take place January 23-25 in San Francisco. This annual gathering brings together the global cleanteach innovation community for three days to network, chart the future, and get deals done.  

Additional Resources 

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant cycle is now open, awarding grants for renewable energy projects in rural communities and agricultural areas. REAP is open to Agricultural Producers and Rural Small Businesses. Grants can be used for the purchase, installation, and construction of a Renewable Energy System or Energy Efficiency Improvement. Rural Small Business Projects must be located in a rural area with populations of 50,000 or less. The Agricultural Producer Projects can be located in rural or non-rural areas. REAP Grants provide a 25% cash reimbursement of the total system costs, with a maximum grant of $500,000 for Renewable Energy Systems and $250,000 for Energy Efficiency Improvements.
Applications for projects with Total Project Costs of $80,000 or less are now closed. Applications for projects with Total Project Costs greater than $80,000 are accepted through Monday, May 1, 2017.
The Application Templates and Forms are available at USDA Rural Development Offices or the National Website at: under Forms and Resources.
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is home to PowerSuite, a 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. Subscription required.
The U.S. Department of Energy is offering 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 Department of Energy offers free public access to accepted peer-reviewed manuscripts or published scientific journal articles from projects funded by the DOE within 12 months of publication.