Newsletter: Energy Efficiency Legislation Moves in State Senate

This newsletter was originally published on April 20, 2016.

Energy Efficiency Legislation Moves in State Senate

The Senate Local Government Committee this week recommended House Bills 4990-94, legislation that would allow local units of government to utilize tax-exempt lease purchase agreements for financing energy conservation projects and extend the contract term for energy performance contracts. This legislation expands the tools available for local units of government, which are not eligible for many of the incentives available for a business or individual because of their tax-exempt status.

This legislation provides local units of government with lower interest costs than traditional financing. Additionally, these lease purchase agreements would not be seen as new long-term debt, which helps many local governments concerned about their overall debt load. This legislative package also expands what qualifies as an energy conservation project to include improvements in ventilation, information technology improvements associated with energy conservation, and municipal utility improvements associated with energy conservation improvements.

The package was introduced in October of 2015 by Representative Al Pscholka (R-Lincoln Township). It cleared the House by a 102 to 4 margin last December, and with the approval of the Senate Local Government Committee, is now pending on the Senate floor.

As it has with previous efforts to expand performance contracting in Michigan, Michigan EIBC supports this legislation, and last week provided written testimony to the committee, urging they report the legislation to the full Senate with recommendation.  We will continue to advocate for this legislation, as well as other policy measures that can expand the use of advanced energy in Michigan.


Don’t Miss Out: Michigan EIBC Annual Member Meeting Less than Two Weeks Away!

With the Michigan EIBC Annual Member Meeting now less than two weeks away, seats are going fast. This week we added additional speakers and conference sponsors – including Consumers Energy and CLEAResult – so register today! The Annual Member Meeting is held Wednesday, May 4 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing.

This full-day conference provides attendees an opportunity to network, learn about innovations in advanced energy, and get an overview on the latest policy developments in Lansing. The meeting will feature an opening dialogue with Patti Poppe from Consumers Energy and The Honorable Sally Talbergfrom the MPSC. 

We will have a number of break-out panels throughout the day, including:

  • Innovations in Transportation: Discussion to highlight the big trends that are transforming transportation – including electrification, lightweighting, and connected vehicles.
  • Taking Advantage of the ITC/PTC: What Are the Next Five Years for Renewable Energy: How are utilities and independent developers taking advantage of the five years of certainty regarding the ITC and PTC, and what might the next five years look like for renewable development in Michigan and the Midwest?
  • Media Perspectives Panel: Discussion of all things energy related – political landscape, legislation, and 2016 elections.
  • How To Think Big in Small Place: Energy Innovations in Rural Communities, Industrial Parks, and Downtowns
  • The Changing Landscape of Energy Efficiency: Demand Response, ESCOs, and Where We Go From Here

A partial list of our panelists include:

  • Andy Balaskovitz, Midwest Energy News
  • Mathias Bell, Opower
  • Myles Burnsed, groSolar
  • Liesl Eichler Clark, Michigan EIBC
  • Lawrence Drzal, Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation/Michigan State University
  • Scott Ferguson, Rockford Construction
  • Zach Gorchow, Gongwer News Service
  • Robert Jackson, Michigan Energy Office
  • Emily Lawler, MLive
  • Andy Levin, Levin Energy Partners/ Lean & Green Michigan
  • Marc Lewis, AEP/ Indiana Michigan Power
  • Doug Luciani, TraverseCONNECT
  • Melanie McCoy, Sebawaing Light and Power
  • Kyle Melinn, Michigan Information and Research Service
  • Shane VanCise, Johnson Controls

Michigan EIBC members receive a $75 discount on event registration. This full day conference includes lunch.

Reserve your seat today!

Sponsorship opportunities are available, and most come with the opportunity to exhibit at the event. Please contact Nicole Forward at for more information.


Interested in membership with Michigan EIBC? New members receive a first-year introductory rate of $350. Please contact us for more information.


New/Renewing Members


Opower (NYSE:OPWR) is an enterprise software company that is transforming the way utilities engage with their customers. Opower’s customer engagement platform enables utilities to reach their customers at moments that matter through proactive and digitized communications that drive energy savings, increase customer engagement and satisfaction, and lower customer operation costs. Opower’s software has been deployed to more than 95 utility partners around the world and reaches more than 50 million households and businesses.

Rockford Construction

Rockford Construction is a privately-owned, innovative construction services provider with significant experience across a wide variety of industries. Through the use of leading edge technologies, defined processes, and business practices, we are able to deliver construction services that foster an environment of collaboration, reduce risk, and produce successful outcomes for all stakeholders. Since we began in 1987, Rockford has completed more than 4,000 projects totaling more than $4 billion, all across the United States.

Rockford has the privilege of being a Michigan-based construction manager with a strong national reputation. We are ranked the #1 contractor in West Michigan and support projects through the strength of our relationships with local and national subcontractors, architects, engineers, and supply chain partners. Additionally, Rockford is licensed in 44 states and is one of the Top 400 Contractors in the nation.


Michigan Energy News

Fortune has a piece on the rise of advanced energy jobs in the Midwest

WCMU has a story on the Michigan Public Service Commission gathering comments on possible demand-response programs.

The Detroit Free Press has a piece on the Luna Pier plant closure. This is one of the older coal-fired plants that was taken offline last Friday.

Greentech Media has a story about the use of data in community solar programs, highlighting Michigan’s potential.

Mlive has an interview with Wind on the Wires Executive Director Beth Soholt on Michigan’s wind power potential.


National Energy News

Midwest Energy News has a story on the success of renewable portfolio standards in states, including Michigan.

Utility Dive has a piece about the potential for using graphene in energy storage.

The U.S. Senate has reached a deal on a bipartisan energy modernization bill, which had stalled in the Senate with Democrats calling for funding to support the city of Flint.

The Senate passed the FAA reauthorization bill, without provisions to extend tax credits for renewable energy sources that were not extended in the December deal. Previously, Senate Democrats promised to stall the legislation should the bill not include these provisions.

Utility Dive has a piece on Exelon pushing a microgrid proposal for a Hartford, CT neighborhood.

Utility Dive has a story on Ohio utility FirstEnergy offering 1000 customers the chance to have 100% of their energy be supplied by wind at no additional cost.

Greentech Media has a story about a new community choice aggregation program in Westchester, New York.

Utility Dive ran an opinion article from John Shenot, senior associate at the Regulatory Assistance Project and former policy advisor to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin​, about utility sector transformation.

Michigan Events
The U.S. Green Building Council – West Michigan is hosting its 2nd Annual Battle of the Buildings Energy Summit on Friday, April 22 at the JW Marriott Ballroom in Grand Rapids.
The Michigan Geothermal Energy Association has its Spring meeting in Mt. Pleasant on April 26 & 27. Email Larry Kaufman at to get a registration form.

The Engineering Society of Detroit – together with DTE Energy – is hosting its annual Energy Conference and Exhibition on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.
The 4th Annual Michigan EIBC Members Meeting will take place on Wednesday, May 4 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing. Registration is available here; contact Nicole Forward for sponsorship information.
The 2016 Michigan CHP Conference will be held Tuesday, May 10 at Oakland University in Rochester. The theme for this year’s conference is “Moving to Clean Energy with Combined Heat and Power: Matching CHP Customers to Suppliers.” Register here.
The Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association is hosting the Michigan Energy Fair on June 24-25 at the Ingham County Fairgrounds in Mason. This year’s Fair also boasts the Great Lakes Emergency Preparedness Expo and the Sustainable Living Summit 2016.
National Events
AWEA’s annual WINDPOWER event will take place May 23-26 in New Orleans.
Intersolar North America will take place July 12-14 in San Francisco.
Solar Power International is scheduled for September 12-15 in Las Vegas.
The Battery Show, collocated with the Critical Power Expo and Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo, will be held in Novi from September 13-15.

Additional 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. is a 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 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 has 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.