Newsletter: Energy Vote Looms as Legislature Wraps Up

This newsletter was originally published on December 12, 2016.

Energy Vote Looms as Legislature Wraps Up

The Michigan Legislature is back in Lansing for its final week before they adjourn and the new term begins. Negotiations continue over Senate Bills 437 and 438, which would overhaul Michigan energy framework, with a vote on the measures coming as soon as today.

Introduced in spring last year, SB 437 and 438 have gone through several revisions before passing the State Senate last month. In its current form, the legislation maintains the energy efficiency programs and adds new incentives for energy efficiency, grows the renewable portfolio standard to 15 percent by 2022, institutes a new integrated resource planning process, and makes changes to the costs borne by alternative energy suppliers.
Unfortunately, the 50-50 market split in the existing RPS is not in the legislation, meaning there is no guarantee that independent developers will be able to build in Michigan – or that ratepayers will see the benefits of non-utility built projects. Furthermore, there are still concerns with the changes to net metering, and the Senate versions don’t contain language from the House side that would move towards a more interconnected transmission grid serving both Michigan peninsulas.

Michigan EIBC continues to play an active role in the negotiations, working to ensure the priorities of our member companies are reflected in the final version of the legislation, and that we work to boost opportunities for the advanced energy industry to do business in Michigan.

Want to make sure your business has a seat at the table?  Join Michigan EIBC today!


Michigan EIBC Tours Michigan CAT Facility in Lansing

As a part of our regular Michigan Energy Forum meetings, Michigan EIBC held a networking event and tour of Michigan CAT’s facility in Lansing on Friday. The company known for heavy machinery is also a leader in renewable energy and industrial energy efficiency, and has been a member of Michigan EIBC for three years.

The morning’s activities started with presentations from Kevin O’Connell from Michigan CAT and Patrick Bowland of the Michigan Public Power Agency. O’Connell briefed attendees on the history of Michigan CAT and it’s national parent company, highlighting its history within the advanced energy space. Bowland’s presentation highlighted the history of municipally owned utilities in Michigan and how the changing market landscape is making advanced energy more and more important. He alluded to the fact that market dynamics are beginning to have a larger impact.

The tour highlighted Michigan CAT’s entire facility, which was opened in February of this year. It is a state-of-the-art full service facility for the power systems, heavy equipment, and truck segments of their business. On the tour, attendees saw the parts department and service shops, including the 8,000 square foot gas engine overhaul facility. Additionally, guests toured the paint booth and got a chance to see a 5000 HP dynamometer for testing of both gas and diesel engines. The tour gave guests a chance to get up close with some of the large equipment and provided a glimpse into the many different markets Michigan CAT serves.

Earlier this year, Michigan EIBC took a similar tour of Bell’s Brewery in Comstock, showing their work within industrial energy efficiency, and has also toured Ventower Industries in Monroe.

Interested in getting the early scoop on events like this? Join Michigan EIBC today!


New/Renewing Members

Kent County Department of Public Works

The Department of Public Works, acting through the Board of Public Works, is an enterprise fund established by the Board of Commissioners to provide solid waste management services and water and sewer system construction, inspection and maintenance under contract with some local units of government. The Department of Public Works manages a landfill with a co-located gas-to-energy facility, transfer station, recycling and education center and a waste-to-energy facility in addition to a household hazardous waste and an unwanted pharmaceutical collection program. The Department of Public Works is committed to a fully integrated solid waste management system. This system includes: waste reduction, reuse and recycling, expanded education in resource recovery, incineration with electricity production and landfilling. Through its operations, the Department of Public Works help protect the health and welfare of its residents and the environment.


Michigan Energy News

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approved a $122 million rate increase for DTE natural gas customers.

Consumers Energy announced its intention to end their power purchase agreement with Entergy earlier than expected, meaning the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant would close in 2018, Mlive reports.

The announcement that the Palisades plant will close in 2018 is now affecting the energy policy debate, with 800 MW of capacity being taken off line, Mlive reports.

The first Chevy Bolt was delivered this week, going to a customer in Fremont, California – the same town where Tesla’s vehicle manufacturing facility is located. The all-electric Bolt has a range of 238 miles, and costs $29,995 after federal tax credits.

Governor Snyder headed to the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn Friday to sign a package of legislation that updates Michigan’s laws covering autonomous vehicles – a move that’s designed to position Michigan as a leader in connected vehicles.

The QLine – the light rail system connecting downtown and midtown Detroit – rolled onto the tracks yesterday for the first in a series of tests before the system becomes fully operational this spring.

The MPSC authorized the creation of a new Michigan utility – the Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corporation – to serve customers previously served by Wisconsin Public Service Corporation and Wisconsin Electric Power Company.

A manager from DTE Energy spoke at the Huron County Planning Commission, expressing concerns around the restrictions put on wind energy in the existing ordinance and the proposed moratorium, Huron Daily Tribune reports.

The Sherman Township Board of Trustees adopted an ordinance to leave the county’s zoning ordinance, due in large part to the proposed wind overlay district adopted by the Huron County Planning Commission, Huron Daily Tribune reports.

A wind project in Shiawassee County proposed by Michigan EIBC member, APEX Clean Energy, is currently under review, WLNS reports.

The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum unveiled their “Reliable and Natural Resources” report. MCEF Executive Director Larry Ward penned an opinion article on it in Bridge Magazine.


National Energy News

President-elect Donald Trump named Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In announcing the pick, Trump said “For too long, the Environmental Protection Agency has spent taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs.”

Trump also has made his pick to head the U.S. Department of Energy, naming former Texas Governor Rick Perry to serve as the next Energy Secretary.

Advanced Energy Economy’s newest report, 2016 Corporate Advanced Energy Commitments, highlights 71 or the Fortune 100 companies have renewable plans, showing a growing trend, Utility Dive reports.

Google is expected to have 100 percent of the energy demands powered by renewables, Bloomberg reports.

Aaron Bloom penned an opinion article in Utility Dive about how the United States reaching 30 percent renewable by 2030 is not a difficult task.

Speaker Paul Ryan has indicated that the House will not take up an energy reform package that was previously in talks, The Hill reports.

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) wants state regulators to incentivize utilities to use cloud-based computing to modernize their services, as passed in these resolutions.

30 percent of distributed solar energy is owned by third parties, EIA reports.

Jigar Shah and Nicole Litvak penned an opinion article in Green Tech Media about the struggles and necessities around getting small commercial sites to invest in solar.


Michigan Energy Events
Michigan EIBC will be hosting their bi-annual “Energy 101” for state legislators on January 25, in Lansing. More details to follow.

National Energy Events

The Renewable Energy World International conference is being held December 13-15 in Orlando. Find out more here.

Advanced Energy Economy is holding a webinar, “Advanced Energy Year in Review: What happened in 2016 – and what to expect in 2017,” on December 15, at 1pm EST. Register here.

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
MI Agency for Energy Issuing RFP for Industrial Energy Efficiency
The Michigan Agency for Energy’s Energy Office has issued a Request-for-Proposals (RFP) for small business manufacturers interested in investing in retooling projects that result in energy waste reduction in manufacturing processes and/or the manufacturing of clean energy technologies. Proposals are due by Dec. 12.
The RFP is open to small manufacturers with 500 or fewer employees located in Michigan. Eligible projects are those that decrease energy waste in manufacturing processes (e.g. combined heat and power) or increase manufacturing of energy efficient technologies.
A total of $100,000 in funding is available.  Grant awards will range from $25,000 to $50,000 for equipment purchases only, with a 4-to-1 match requirement of cash or in-kind services. Funds for the Retooling and Manufacturing grant program come from the U.S. Department of Energy through MAE’s Energy Office.
The RFP is located here.

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 accepted through Monday, October 31, 2016. 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.