Newsletter: Fourth Annual Energy Innovators Gala is a Huge Success; Michigan Senate Passes 437 and 438

This newsletter was originally published on November 14, 2016.

Fourth Annual Energy Innovators Gala is a Huge Success!

Michigan EIBC recognized three companies and three individuals, including two state lawmakers, for their contributions to growing Michigan’s clean energy economy at the annual Energy Innovators Gala Thursday, November 10.

John J. Viera, Global Director of Sustainability & Vehicle Environmental Matters for the Ford Motor Company, gave the keynote address and Michigan Public Service Commission Chair Sally Talberg offered opening remarks.

Viera spoke about the growing connection between energy and transportation, the incipient growth of autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles, and Ford’s growing use of renewable energy. In his address, he stated that Ford will begin “geo-fencing” vehicles, where autonomous vehicles will be used for ridesharing within one community.

The 2016 honorees are:

  • Business of the Year: McNaughton-McKay with offices in Madison Heights, Ann Arbor, Flint and Saginaw.
  • Emerging Business of the Year: Inmatech with offices in Ann Arbor and White Lake.
  • Employer of the Year: Walker-Miller Energy Services with offices in Detroit.
  • Public Officials of the Year: State Senators Jim Ananich (D-Flint) and Dale Zorn (R-Ida).
  • Energy Innovators Hall of Fame: Allan O’Shea of CBS Solar in Copemish.

“The leadership and enthusiasm for clean energy in the public and private sectors is continuing to grow in the state of Michigan,” said Liesl Eichler Clark, president of the Michigan EIBC.  “Across the board we’re witnessing the companies and individuals who are working hard to make clean energy an attractive option for consumers, as well as public officials who are supporting those efforts.  We celebrate both.”  

WKAR’s “Greening of the Great Lakes” did an entire segment on our gala. Read and listen here.


Michigan Senate Passes 437 and 438 with an 15% RPS

November 10 was a busy day for Michigan EIBC, with the Senate voting out SB 437 and 438 just an hour before the gala. The legislative package was introduced last year to make significant changes to our renewable energy laws and Michigan’s retail open access market. The legislation gained additional wind two weeks ago when the Michigan Chamber of Commerce announced their support for the package.

Since introduced, the bills have changed significantly, making significant progress from their original form. The package as introduced last year repealed the state’s renewable portfolio standard and energy optimization standard for electric utilities. Now, it keeps the EO standard, adding new incentives for energy efficiency, and grows the RPS to 12.5 percent by 2021 and 15 percent by 2022, with a local capacity requirement.

Unfortunately, the 50-50 market split in the existing RPS is not in its extension, meaning the utilities will be allowed to build all new renewable generation under the standard. Furthermore, there are still concerns with the changes to net metering. The legislation calls for the Michigan Public Service Commission to develop a new grid usage charge by December 1 of 2017. The legislation passed in the Senate last week is certainly a step in the right direction, but definitely needs additional improvements.

Are you a Michigan EIBC Member and want to help improve this package? Join us for a November 30 lobby day in Lansing! (Need to become a Michigan EIBC Member? Join now for $350)


New/Renewing Members

Mackinac Technology Company

The Mackinac Technology Company has developed an innovative window system that can achieve thermal performance of R-13 (U-.07) at price points low enough to achieve cost recovery from energy savings in 3-5 years. The new product is a “storm window” type insert that is attached to the interior side of an existing window; the original glazing remains in place. A key feature is that the product is color neutral and transparent to visible light. Mackinac’s product is compatible with solar control films and dynamic shading devices and it is ultra light-weight, making it suitable for high rise commercial buildings.


Michigan Energy News

These 17 businesses in Michigan co-signed a letter to the state senate supporting the 15% increase in the RPS with a 50-50 market split provision.

The Oakland County Commission voted unanimously to create a PACE financing district and join Michigan EIBC member Lean and Green Michigan’s program.

Several pro-energy choice groups and businesses within the retail open access market remain opposed to SB 437.

State Senator Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing) calls the energy bill a ‘good compromise’ on WKAR.

The Almer Township Planning Commission held a public hearing on the proposed Tuscola III Wind Energy Park from NextEra Energy Resources, Tuscola Today reports.

Renewable Energy is likely to thrive under any White House, according to a guest blog post in Crain’s Detroit Business.


National Energy News

Trump’s election won’t stop the advanced energy ‘revolution,’ according to Chris Bryant at Bloomberg.

Gavin Bade at Utility Dive is not as certain, sharing what he believes are the ‘4 takeways’ from how this election will impact the energy sector.

Electric Vehicles could add 5 gigawatts of new capacity by 2025, GreenTech Media reports.

Two of the five seats on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission are going to be filled by President-elect Donald Trump, read GreenTech Media’s analysis of how this could impact distribute energy.

Mercedes-Benz is launching their own energy storage arm, with the former CEO of the German energy storage company Sonnen leading the effort.

A Minneapolis tax attorney is suggesting a new method of businesses cooperating with public and nonprofit sector entities to implement renewable energy projects and reap the tax benefits, Midwest Energy News reports.

How much will the tesla ‘powerwall’ system cost you? GreenTech Media has run some of the numbers for you.


Michigan Energy Events

Michigan EIBC is hosting a members only “Post-Election Recap and Lunch” to discuss how the November election will impact the energy debate at the state and national level. This members-only event is on Friday, November 18 at the Varnum Law offices in Grand Rapids. You can RSVP here.
Want to become a member of Michigan EIBC to attend special meetings like this and join our monthly policy call? Sign up here for a $350 first-year membership
Join Michigan EIBC, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), and Wind on the Wires on Wednesday, November 30 for a Lansing Lobby Day.
Michigan EIBC members, AEE members, and Wind on the Wires members are invited to participate. We will start the day with coffee and pastries at Dykema before we head over to the lobby in the Capitol and engage with legislators.
Join Michigan EIBC for another session of the Michigan Energy Forum. This installment will include networking and a tour of the Michigan CAT facility on Friday, December 9 from 9:00 to 11:00 am in Lansing. Register here.

Additional Resources
MI Agency for Energy Issuing RFP for Industrial Energy Efficiency
The Michigan Agency for Energy’s Energy Office announced today 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. 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 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.