Newsletter: Governor asked to take leadership role supporting RPS Michigan EIBC Hosts West Michigan Networking Meeting

This newsletter was originally published on October 21, 2015.

Michigan Businesses Rally Around Strong State Energy Standards

After months of listening to testimony and delving into the details of SB 437 and 438, HB 4297 and 4298, many businesses in Michigan are making their voices heard about the importance of keeping and improving the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and energy optimization (EO) standard.

The package introduced by House Energy Policy Chairman Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton) and the package introduced by Senate Energy and Tech Chairman Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek) and his vice-chairman, Sen. John Proos (R-St. Joseph) would phase out the EO standard, and fails to build on the successes of Michigan’s RPS of 10 percent, which has been met.

Such moves are at odds with the 90 percent of Michigan voters who support maintaining the EO standard, and the 84 percent of voters who would like to see the RPS expanded. Many advanced energy businesses made their voices heard yet again this week, when Michigan EIBC and Advanced Energy Economy released a letter signed by over 65 companies calling for any new energy legislation to build on the strong energy standards contained in the 2008 framework instead of replacing it with an untested policy. The letter, sent to Michigan House Speaker Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant) and Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive), also highlighted the successes in the advanced energy industry, thanks to the 2008 law, and the possible benefits to ratepayers if the 2008 laws are improved upon and not scrapped.

Mark Goodwin, Apex Clean Energy president said, “Protecting the renewable energy standard will not only ensure clean, home grown energy for consumers, it will also keep millions in investments and thousands of jobs in Michigan.” Apex is an independent renewable energy company exploring the feasibility of constructing wind energy projects in the state. “Furthermore, keeping the production of pollution-free power in-state will lower electric bills for Michigan consumers.”

Also this week Crain’s Detroit Business joined the growing number of business voices calling for strong energy standards, with an editorial calling on Governor Snyder to take a larger leadership role in the energy debate. In the editorial, Crain’s expressed their desire to keep standards for renewable generation and energy waste reduction. On the RPS, Crain’s said:

“The Legislature should set a new renewable standard that can sunset when and if the new federal standards come into play. Otherwise, publicly traded utilities could be vulnerable to investor pressure to put current profits ahead of long-term investment.”

On keeping the successful energy efficiency program, Crain’s cited the recent report from the Public Service Commission, highlighting the $4.2 billion in accumulated savings. Crain’s also stated that “when the PSC dropped a similar mandate in 1995, many programs were eliminated until they were mandated again under the 2008 law.”


Reserve Your Seat for the GALA Now!

Michigan EIBC is happy to host the 3rd annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala.  James Chen, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Associate General Counsel of Tesla Motors, Inc. will give the keynote speech. Valerie Brader, Executive Director of the Michigan Agency for Energy, will offer opening remarks.

The Gala will take place on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing. Registration begins at 4:30 pm. The event will kick off with a reception at 5:00 pm followed by dinner at 6:00 pm. Tickets are available here.

James Chen joined Tesla in August of 2010 and currently serves as the company’s Vice President of Regulatory Affairs. Based in Washington, D.C., Jim is responsible for all aspects of government affairs and regulation at the international, federal and state levels for Tesla. He also serves as Tesla’s Associate General Counsel where he is tasked with ensuring compliance with the legal requirements applicable to Tesla’s products and facilities. Jim also assists on business deals for the company, including furthering Tesla’s relationships with strategic partners in the established automobile industry.
Valerie Brader is the Executive Director of the Michigan Agency for Energy, a position she has held since the Agency’s creation earlier this year. Her service with the Snyder administration began in 2011, previously serving as Deputy Legal Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Snyder, including work on the City of Detroit bankruptcy case. Before her service in state government she was a member (partner) at Bodman PLC, practicing primarily environmental and corporate law (with a specialization in assisting new or expanding businesses, from incorporation to securing permits and tax credits).
The annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala is the opportunity for Michigan’s advanced energy industry to pay tribute to and recognize those businesses, policymakers, and others who are doing the most to build the industry in Michigan.
Awards will be presented in five categories: 

  • Business of the Year
  • Emerging Company of the Year
  • Employer of the Year
  • Public Official of the Year
  • Energy Innovators Business Hall of Fame

There are several sponsorship opportunities available. All sponsorship levels include a table (8 tickets). If you’re interested in sponsorship, please contact Nicole Forward.


New/Renewing Members

Johnson Controls 

Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in more than 150 countries.  Our 130,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and seating components and systems for automobiles.

Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through our growth strategies and by increasing market share, we are committed to delivering value to shareholders and making our customers successful.

In 2015, Corporate Responsibility Magazine recognized Johnson Controls as the #14 company in its annual “100 Best Corporate Citizens” list.


Michigan SAVES!

Michigan Saves is a nonprofit dedicated to making energy improvements easier for all Michigan energy consumers. To accomplish this, Michigan Saves makes affordable financing and other incentives available through partnerships with private sector lenders. We also authorize and monitor a network of contractors and recognize those with advanced training. Our current portfolio includes programs for residential, commercial, multifamily, and municipal customers, and supports energy efficiency, geothermal, and solar PV projects.


Michigan Energy News

Michigan EIBC member Sakti3 has been acquired by the vacuum company Dyson for a reported $90 million, with Dyson also planning a $1 billion battery plant, possible here in Michigan.

Platts has a piece on DTE energy retiring a 50 MW biomass plant in Wisconsin. DTE is also requesting bids for a 25 MW solar array.

General Motors and DTE Energy will soon break ground on an 800-kilowatt solar array at the automaker’s Warren Transmission plant, Free Press reports.

Mlive has a story on the surprising bipartisan group that united around the “Michigan Energy Freedom” package.

Environmental Entrepreneurs held a roundtable discussion with several key energy stakeholders at NextEnergy’s headquarters in Detroit, the Free Press reports.

Brad Williams, VP for Governmental Affairs at the Detroit Regional Chamber, had an opinion piece in the Detroit News defending the new regulations on the energy choice market proposed in the SB 437 and HB 4298.

The Free Press also has a piece on the television ads sponsored by Citizen’s for Michigan’s Energy Future, the utility-backed PAC.

MiBiz reported on the successful year of rate savings due to the energy optimization standard.

Utility Dive also reported about the success of Michigan’s energy efficiency law.


National Energy News

Morning Consult has a piece about groups highlighting the benefits solar storage to help push the extension of the solar ITC.

Utility Dive has an expose on the relationship between pro-renewable legislators in California and the state’s main investor-owned utilities, and the future of energy storage.

Utility Dive also has a piece on the positive aspects on utilities working to build solar.

Secretary of State John Kerry hosted a two-day Climate and Clean Energy Investment Forum at Georgetown this week, including a number of discussions around scaling up investment in advanced energy.

The San Antonio Business Journal has a piece on CPS Energy, the local municipal utility, increasing its commitment to solar energy and the positive effects its having on job creation.

The Northwest Indiana Times has a piece on the NIPSCO 2015 Energy Summit, and the discussion on the Midwest’s future with renewables.

San Diego 6 has a piece on the military’s usage of micro-grids and renewables to maintain higher grid security for Camp Pendleton.

Pacific Business News has a piece on the effects of Hawaii’s net metering program being capped at current customers.

Utility Dive has a story on the uncertainty of offshore wind in the US.

Greentech media has a piece on how increasing support from political conservatives increases the chances of the ITC being extended this year.

Tennessee is working on a mulit-state energy efficiency registry to help create standardized benchmarks for energy savings and help with compliance for the Clean Power Plan.

Michigan Energy Events

The 2015 Michigan Advanced Lighting Conference, featuring the Michigan Solid State Lighting Association Annual Symposium, will take place on Wednesday, October 29 in Lansing.

The Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association is hosting is 2nd Annual Banquet on Wednesday, November 4. More information is available here.

The 3rd Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala will be held Tuesday, November 10 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. Individual tickets can be purchased here. Contact Nicole Forward for more information on table purchases and other sponsorship opportunities.

National Energy Events

Platt’s 17th Annual Financing US Power Conference is taking place October 29-30, 2015in New York.
The 8th Annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum-West (REFF-WEST) will take place in San Francisco on November 5-6.

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.