Newsletter: Glenn to Head House Energy Policy Committee; Cole to Lead Transportation and Infrastructure

This newsletter was originally published on January 27, 2017.

Glenn to head House Energy Policy Committee; Cole to lead Transportation and Infrastructure

Michigan House Speaker Tom Leonard announced committee assignments yesterday, with Rep. Gary Glenn (R-Midland) chosen as chair of the House Energy Policy Committee, and Rep. Triston Cole (R-Mancelona) tapped to lead the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The full Energy Policy Committee roster is as follows:

Name District/ Hometown Party Term
Rep. Gary Glenn (Chair) 98th District – Midland R 2
Rep. Roger Hauck (VC) 99th District – Mt. Pleasant R 1
Rep. Tom Barrett 71st District – Potterville R 2
Rep. Jim Bellino 17th District – Monroe R 1
Rep. Triston Cole 105th District – Mancelona R 2
Rep. Diana Farrington 30th District – Utica R 1
Rep. Beth Griffin 66th District – Mattawan R 1
Rep. Steven Johnson 75th District – Wayland R 1
Rep. Beau LaFave 108th District – Iron Mountain R 1
Rep. Jim Lower 70th District – Cedar Lake R 1
Rep. Jim Reilly 46th District – Oakland Township R 1
Rep. Jim Tedder 43rd District – Clarkston R 2
Rep. Donna Lasinski (MVC) 52nd District – Scio Township D 1
Rep. Darrin Camilleri 23rd District – Brownstown Twp. D 1
Rep. Scott Dianda 110th District – Calumet D 3
Rep. Brian Elder 96th District – Bay City D 1
Rep. LaTanya Garrett 7th District – Detroit D 2
Rep. Patrick Green 28th District – Warren D 1
Rep. John Kivela 109th District – Marquette D 3

Rep. Glenn signaled a desire to hit the ground running on his priorities, which include “making the case for a return to a (former Governor John Engler) model of choice and competition in the market (subscription required). “ Glenn also argued that the inclusion of a capacity charge for anyone who buys electricity on the retail open access market eliminates any justification for a cap on electric choice, and that if he is unable to move toward full retail open access, he will “try incremental steps such as ensuring all schools, colleges, units of government and hospitals … are free to choose where they buy electricity.” Other priorities Glenn mentioned include oversight of the Michigan Public Service Commission, the plan to shutter the Palisades nuclear plant in 2018, implementing choice in the transmission market, and looking at grid security.

On the transportation side, the Transportation Committee has been expanded to now cover infrastructure issues as well. The members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee include:

Name District/ Hometown Party Term
Rep. Triston Cole (Chair) 105th District – Mancelona R 2
Rep. Michael Webber (VC) 45th District – Rochester Hills R 2
Rep. Julie Alexander 64th District – Hanover R 1
Rep. Julie Calley 87th District – Portland R 1
Rep. Gary Howell 82nd District – North Branch R 1
Rep. Peter Lucido 36th District – Shelby Township R 2
Rep. David Maturen 63rd District – Vicksburg R 2
Rep. Jeff Noble 20th District – Plymouth R 1
Rep. Brett Roberts 65th District – Charlotte R 2
Rep. John Chirkun (MVC) 22nd District – Roseville D 2
Rep. Brian Banks 1st District – Detroit D 3
Rep. Cara Clemente 14th District – Lincoln Park D 1
Rep. Leslie Love 10th District – Detroit D 2
Rep. Tim Sneller 50th District – Burton D 1

In addition to Energy Policy and Transportation and Infrastructure, Michigan EIBC is also keeping a close eye on the Communications and Technology Committee, which will be chaired by Rep. Michele Hoitinga, a first-term Republican from Manton, and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and Insurance Services, which has responsibility for the budgets for the Michigan Public Service Commission and Michigan Agency for Energy. That subcommittee will be chaired by Rep. Tommy Brann, a first-term Republican from Wyoming.


Energy 101

The Institute for Energy Innovation, the non-profit affiliate of the Michigan EIBC, hosted its biannual Energy 101 for incoming lawmakers on Wednesday, providing a half-day overview of Michigan’s energy system, how electricity is regulated, and emerging issues in energy. The event, which was attended by legislators, legislative and MPSC staff, and advanced energy businesses, also featured a luncheon discussion with Rep. Gary Glenn, the incoming chair of the House Energy Policy Committee (see story above).

Topics and presenters included the following:

  • Michigan’s Energy Profile – Liesl Eichler Clark, President, Michigan EIBC
  • The Regulatory Compact and Utility Regulation – Jan Beecher, Executive Director, Institute for Public Utilities at MSU
  • Understanding Utility Operations – Cathy Wilson, Executive Director of State Government Affairs, Consumers Energy
  • Introduction to Regional Transmission Organizations – Tanya Paslawski, Executive Director, Organization of MISO States
  • Alternative Energy and the Changing Energy System – Bruce Goodman, Counsel, Varnum LLP
  • Energy and Mobility – Jean Redfield, President and CEO, NextEnergy
  • Advanced Energy and Conservative Principles, Larry Ward, Executive Director, Michigan Conservative Energy Forum
  • Grid Modernization and Infrastructure, Danny Waggoner, Manager – Regulatory Transformation, Advanced Energy Economy
  • Corporate Procurement of Advanced Energy, John DeAngelis, Energy Programs Manager, Steelcase

Slides and presentations from Energy 101 will be made available shortly on the Institute for Energy Innovation website.


Michigan Energy Clips

A planned 225 solar development at the former Butterworth Landfill in Grand Rapids is on hold after the developer, American Capital Energy, “disappeared” and stopped communicating with the City. The City may look for another developer to step in, and reports suggest the City may also be considering an anaerobic digester at the site.

Farmers in Huron County are being offered $800/ acre to house solar farms by Cyprus Creek Renewable Energy, an Arizona solar developer.

A public-private partnership including Lansing Board of Water and Light and Michigan EIBC member organization Michigan Energy Options is working to develop a community solar project in East Lansing. The project has pre-sold approximately 20% of the projected 300 kW project, which is expected to be online by late April 2017.

DTE announced that a series of grid modernization efforts improved its distribution service by 70 percent from 2014 to 2016. The investments included more than 3500 smart sensors and nearly 2.5 million smart meters installed in 2016. The utility company also is in the process of building four new substations, upgraded circuits, and replaced utility poles and performed tree-trimming. Future plans include upgrating half of its distribution network by 2020.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley and Kirk Steudle, Director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, highlighted the replacement of 13,000 streetlights with LEDs on metro Detroit freeways. The partnership – the first public-private partnership to replace freeway streetlights in the country – also includes DTE Energy and local agencies operating freeway lighting in the region, and is expected to save $2 million in energy and operations costs each year.

Responding to questions over how it will replace the electricity generated at the Palisades Nuclear Plant when it goes offline next year, Consumers Energy told the MPSC that it will expand a wind farm in the Thumb, increase energy efficiency, and purchase electricity from the MISO market, as well as converting the 60 MW Filer City coal plant in Manistee to natural gas and doubling its production.

The Huron County Board of Commissioners this week approved ballot language for the May 2 election on whether to authorize wind energy overlay zones in Bloomfield, Dwight, Lincoln, Sherman, and Sigel townships.

Carla Walker-Miller, President and CEO of Michigan EIBC member company Walker-Miller Energy Services LLC, has been reappointed by Governor Rick Snyder to the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Consumers Energy is moving forward with plans to sell the former B.C. Cobb coal plant in Muskegon to a single purchaser, despite negotiations taking longer than expected.

Michigan State University has been awarded a $2.6 million National Science Foundation grant to consider new ways of producing hydropower, with a focus on increasing food production and lessening the environmental impact of dams.

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

For the first time in nearly 40 years, carbon emissions from the US power sector have fallen below emissions from the transportation sector, according to data from the Energy Information Agency. Despite consuming more energy, the shift to natural gas and emissions-free renewables has helped the electric sector reduce emissions far faster than transportation.

President Trump announced the appointment of Cheryl LaFleur as Acting Chairman the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. LaFleur, who was appointed as a a FERC Commissioner by former President Obama and has previously served as FERC Chair, is a former executive with National Grid USA, and is seen by some as friendlier to utility interests and more skeptical of efforts to promote market competition that current FERC Chair Norman Bay.

Meanwhile, the Trump Administration rolled out what its calling “An America First Energy Plan” that focuses on increasing oil and gas drilling and building out pipeline infrastructure. The plan also includes a pledge to roll back the Clean Power Plan. In written testimony to Congress, Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to lead the EPA, also reaffirmed his opposition to the Clean Power Plan.

A regulatory freeze put in place by the Trump Administration, similar to that done in previous presidential transitions, has halted four energy efficiency regulations from taking effect. These regulations, which are projected to save consumers billions of dollars in energy costs, affect portable air conditioners, walk-in coolers and freezers, commercial boilers, and uninterruptible power supplies.  However, Andrew deLaski, director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, said the regulations “should not be controversial” and expressed hope that DOE Secretary-designate Rick Perry would “swiftly approve” the regulations upon his confirmation.

A hearing to consider the nominations of Rick Perry to lead the Department of Energy and Congressman Ryan Zinke to lead the Department of the Interior was rescheduled for Monday, January 31.

Three California utilities are seeking approval to collect more than $1 billion from ratepayers to support electric vehicle charging, as part of Califonia’s efforts to get 1.5 million zero emission vehciles on the road by 2025.

The Long Island Power Authority has given its approval for an offshore wind farm to be built between the eastern tip of Long Island and Martha’s Vineyard. Once constructed, it would be the largest offshore wind farm in the U.S. LIPA has agreed to a 20-year power purchase agreement at approximately $160/ MWh.

Meanwhile, the cost of electricity from offshore wind farms in the UK has fallen by nearly one-third in four years, beating a goal set by the British government.


Michigan Energy Events
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.

Following the UP Energy Summit, Advancing Women in Energy is hosting a networking reception from 4-6PM on Thursday, February 16, also at the NMU University Center 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.

The 2017 Powering Michigan Agriculture Conference is taking place on Thursday, March 9 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing.

The Institute of Public Utilities will host Grid School 2017 from March 27-30 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing.

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.

The 2017 Energy Efficiency Conference and Exhibition, hosted by DTE Energy and the Engineering Society of Detroit, will take place May 9 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. The conference is now accepting proposals for presentations on topics related to energy efficiency.

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.  

The SAE 2017 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium will take place February 7-9 in San Diego. This annual event is the source for current and forward-looking hybrid and EV technology advances, with presentations from senior level executives and engineers from OEM and supplier companies.

GreenBiz17 is taking place on February 14-16 in Phoenix. Join the world’s brightest sustainability thinkers for a look into the pressing challenges, emerging trends, and biggest opportunities in sustainable business today.

The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance is hosting their annual Midwest Energy Solutions Conference on February 22-24 in Chicago. This annual events aims to raise awareness and reinforce the importance of energy efficiency in the Midwest.

The 2017 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit is taking place February 27-March 1 in National Harbor, MD. Now in its 8th year, this annual event brings together technical and professional experts for a program aimed at moving transformational energy technologies out of the lab and into the market.

The 2017 ACEEE/ CEE National Symposium on Market Transformation will take place April 2-4 in Washington D.C. The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Innovative Approaches from Emerging Technologies to Market Transformation.’

The Energy Storage Association’s 27th Annual Conference and Expo is taking place April 18-20 in Denver. This event brings together leaders in the global energy industry working at the nexus of policy, technology and markets for energy storage.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s annual Future of Energy Summit will take place April 24-25 in New York. This annual event brings together traditional players and advanced energy leaders to discuss the critical energy issues of today and the next decade.

The annual AWEA Windpower Conference is taking place May 22-25 in Anaheim, CA. The marquee event for the US wind industry returns with top-tier speakers, world-class education, cutting edge technology, and premium marketing.

Greentech Media’s Grid Edge World Forum 2017  will be held in San Jose, CA on June 27-29. As the only conference exclusively focused on emerging distributed energy system, this event highlights the trends, opportunities, and innovation happening at the grid edge.

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.