Newsletter: GM Pledges 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

This newsletter was originally published on September 19, 2016.

GM Pledges to have 100% of the energy supplied by renewables by 2050.

General Motors (GM) pledged on Wednesday that by the year 2050 the company would have their global operations completely powered by renewable energy by 2050. The global automobile manufacturer expects to have 3.8 percent of their electricity powered by renewables by the end of this year. They join 81 other companies who have committed to going 100% renewable.

“Costs have come down and economics are working,” said Rob Threlkeld, GM’s global renewable energy manager. The costs of renewables have been falling every year, and the fixed capital costs of renewables like wind and solar versus the variable fuel costs of conventional sources have made advanced energy more appealing.

Late last month, GM joined companies like Crystal Mountain, the Dow Chemical Company and Steelcase to establish the Corporate Purchasers Roundtable. The Corporate Purchasers Roundtable – spearheaded by Michigan EIBC – is focused specifically on identifying pathways that increase corporate advanced energy procurement in Michigan. According to a new Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) report by Meister Consultants Group, Inc. entitled Opportunities to Increase Corporate Access to Advanced Energy: A National Brief, Michigan ranks seventh for highest potential demand for corporate renewable energy nationally with an estimated potential of 12,300 megawatts (MW).


Senate Hopes to Move Energy Package.

Governor Snyder announced Monday an agreement with MISO on a framework to mitigate potential capacity concerns in the future. By creating an opt-out provision for states from the new Forward Capacity Resource Auction, MISO would allow commissions – here the Michigan Public Service – to set a state capacity charge after a contested case hearing. The goal of the negotiations is to offer other mechanisms to assure future capacity needs for Michigan are met. The Forward Capacity Auction structure will be filed with FERC in November along with a tariff to implement this agreement.

The continued work between the state of Michigan and MISO is a backdrop for ongoing legislative conversations. From the Governor’s announcement, it is clear that the administration sees legislative action as possible yet this year. “We will continue to work with our partners in the Legislature to enact needed reforms.  While we have identified a clear path to solving a key reliability issue, we need action to ensure that no matter what the federal government does, Michigan will be able to meet its responsibility to ensure resource adequacy,” said Valerie Brader, executive director of the Michigan Agency for Energy. “Moreover, we need state law changes to ensure our most adaptable, affordable, and environmentally protective solutions can compete on equal footing.  For instance, we need to remove the cap on reducing energy waste, and allow our pre-approval process to be used for renewable energy options.

In addition to understanding this new provision and how it impacts draft legislation, other issues in the package continue to be discussed. Over the weekend in the Free Press, Senator Nofs suggests a 10-15% RPS could be part of the current discussions.

The Senate will meet this week Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and then return for three days in Oct. The 18th, 19th and 20th will be the last session days prior to the November 8th election.


Michigan Energy Innovators Gala – Award Nominations Now Open!
Michigan EIBC Members and Gala Sponsors are invited to nominate companies and individuals for the following awards to be presented at the fourth annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on November 10, 2016 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. The awards are:

  • Business of the Year
  • Emerging Business of the Year
  • Employer of the Year,
  • Public Official of the Year…
  • …and Energy Innovators Business Hall of Fame.

For a nomination form, please contact Nicole Forward at You can also download the form here.
Michigan EIBC will accept nominations September 12 through September 30.


New/Renewing Members

The Ecology Center

The Ecology Center works to develop innovative solutions for healthy people and a healthy planet, and seeks to rapidly phase out the use of fossil fuels and ward off the worst impacts of climate change.



FirstFuel Software provides a customer intelligence platform that transforms energy providers into trusted advisors to their business customers. FirstFuel’s solutions accelerate customer acquisition; optimize energy efficiency and DSM programs, and boost customer engagement and satisfaction. The company draws on deep domain expertise in data analytics, building science, and software in its deployments with large utilities, energy service providers, and government agencies in North America and Europe. Founded in 2010 and privately held, FirstFuel is headquartered in Lexington, MA. For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter at @FirstFuelSW.


Michigan CAT

Michigan CAT Power Systems is Michigan’s premier provider of turnkey Combined Heat & Power (CHP or Cogen) systems. We have the expertise to optimize a CHP system for your facility and the boots on the ground to make sure you get the most out of your investment. Plus, as your Caterpillar dealer, only we can offer best in class CAT power generation equipment that is built in the USA.

Michigan CAT is also recognized as a leader in providing landfill solutions. Decades of leadership in converting landfill gas to viable energy mean millions of “green” kilowatts provided. Our CHP; Landfill customers include operations across the nation-with hundreds of generators operating in diverse applications.


Tradewind Energy

Tradewind is one of the largest independent renewable energy project development companies in the U.S. With over 90 full-time employees in its Lenexa headquarters, Tradewind’s success is built upon the experience and expertise of its management team and professional staff. Our team of subject matter experts in wind resource, mapping systems, environmental studies, permitting, land acquisition, and power marketing places a unique emphasis on the development craft which is unparalleled in the US renewable energy market. Tradewind takes great pride in its ability to deliver affordable wind and solar energy to diverse markets while maintaining an uncompromising commitment to long-term project quality. Throughout its history, Tradewind has partnered with commercial and industrial customers, investor-owned utilities, cooperatives, and municipalities to develop mutually-beneficial low-cost wind energy projects that directly benefit the ultimate residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural customers. Tradewind has signed a 200MW PPA with Google for its Cimarron Bend project in Kansas and is actively in discussions with corporate customers across the country interested in our wind and solar portfolio. Along with close to 3 GW of wind and solar projects across 25 states that are either operating, in-construction or contracted, Tradewind, through its subsidiaries has a 9 GW pipeline of wind and solar projects under development. Tradewind has enjoyed a successful financing partnership with Enel Green Power North America since 2006. EGP-NA is a leading owner and operator of renewable energy plants in North America with projects operating and under development in 21 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces. EGP-NA owns and operates over 100 plants with an installed capacity exceeding 2.5 GW powered by renewable hydropower, wind, geothermal and solar energy. EGP-NA has more than doubled its total installed capacity since 2010.



Varnum is a leading Michigan law firm with a long-standing energy practice, which encompasses significant experience in conventional, alternative and renewable energy sources. From finance and siting issues to regulation and tax incentives, energy law is a diverse and thriving practice at Varnum. Our client-focused, service team approach has made us a beacon in the profession.


Michigan Energy News

Crain’s analysis of the newly announced MI/MISO agreement

DTE Energy’s Chairman and CEO, Gerry Anderson, penned an opinion article in Bridge Magazine about the need for reliability and for alternative energy suppliers (AES) to be “ held to the same standards as utility companies.”

The Michigan Freedom Fund, a longtime conservative political organization in Michigan, authored an op-ed in the Detroit News against SB 437, legislation rewriting retail open access in Michigan.

Midwest Energy News profiled Michigan EIBC member company, the Mackinac Technology Company, on their soon to be marketed clear, low-cost window covering making buildings more efficient.

DTE Energy began installing 7000 solar panels on a 10-acre of vacant land in the city of Detroit to create one of the largest urban solar arrays, the Detroit Free Press reports.

The Herald Palladium published an editorial on the possible wind farm being proposed in southern Berrien County by Michigan EIBC member company, APEX energy. They highlight the benefits to land-owners and local governments, as well as their reliability.

Midwest Energy News quoted Michigan EIBC President Liesl Clark in a story about the state’s recent net metering report, showing a 20 percent increase in the program in 2015.

The Midland Daily News ran a similar story, quoting a statement from Solarize Michigan, an initiative of Michigan EIBC’s sister organization, the Institute for Energy Innovation.

60 Galien Township residents met to discussed one of the proposed wind projects from APEX in Berrien County, Harbor County News reports.

Consumers Energy cut the ribbon on a 1 MW community solar garden near Western Michigan University, Wood TV 8 reports.

Exelon Energy Corporation reached a settlement with Huron County over three years of tax appeals for wind turbines in the region, Huron Daily Tribune reports.


National Energy News

A new mapping tool from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance showcases advanced energy policies and projects, Midwest Energy News reports.

Prices for renewables are dropping and so it’s use is growing at unprecedented levels, ArsTechnica reports.

James Dozier, executive director and chairman of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions penned an opinion article praising Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) for introducing legislation to expand investment tax credits to cover energy storage projects.

Amazon’s wind farm in Texas will increase their renewable capacity by 60 percent, the Seattle Times reports.

Tesla Motors won a contract to build a 20 MW energy storage project in southern California, Bloomberg reports.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will fund $10 million in industrial energy efficiency projects, Utility Dive reports.

The Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee launched an investigation into possible impropriety in the use of the investment tax credit for solar, the Wall Street Journal reports.


Michigan Energy Events
The fifth annual Heating the Midwest with Renewable Biomass Conference will be held October 11-13 in Harris, Michigan at the Island Resort and Conference Center.

SAVE THE DATE: The 4th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala will be held Thursday, November 10 in East Lansing.

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 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.


Act Now to Support Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

In 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finalized historic regulations to double the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks. As the agencies complete a required review of the regulations, urge them to maintain strong standards. 
Sign your name here.
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.