- Newsletter (386)
Welcome to the weekly newsletter of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC), the business voice for advanced energy in Michigan. Here’s what’s new this week:
Michigan EIBC Holds Convening on Home Energy Rebate Programs
To explain the multitude of federal and state funding being offered right now for home energy efficiency and provide an opportunity for networking, Michigan EIBC held a public convening focused on the Home Energy Rebate Programs on Nov. 8 at the offices of Michigan EIBC member Varnum in Grand Rapids. The event was sponsored by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).
To kick-off the event, Julie Staveland, Assistant Division Director, Materials Management Division at EGLE, gave a presentation about how EGLE is working with other state agencies to help Michiganders access energy efficiency rebates that were created by the Inflation Reduction Act. These include the High Efficiency Electric Rebate Program, which offers rebates of up to $14,000 for qualified electrification projects including the installation of electric heat pumps, and the Home Energy Performance Based Whole House Rebates Program, which offers rebates of varying size based on the amount of projected energy savings.
After Staveland’s presentation, Michigan EIBC Senior Director of Policy Grace Michienzi moderated a panel discussion featuring:
- Greg Driscoll, Residential Sales Manager, Michigan EIBC member Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US LLC
- Ben Dueweke, Director of Community Partnerships, Michigan EIBC member Walker-Miller Energy Services
- Kevin Hettler, Owner, Home Performance Solutions
- Alison Sutter, Sustainability and Performance Management Officer, City of Grand Rapids
Michigan EIBC looks forward to working with our members and EGLE to ensure these programs are implemented successfully in the coming year.
Michigan EIBC Calls for Improved Implementation of New Interconnection Rules
The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) recently approved new procedures for interconnection of distributed energy resources (DERs) that Michigan EIBC helped craft as part of an effort to speed up and ease the process for adding distributed solar facilities, behind-the-meter storage and other DERs. Now, Michigan EIBC is pointing out problems with the implementation of these rules that are delaying, instead of accelerating, DER deployment.
Michigan EIBC members are finding longer timelines for approval of interconnection applications due to issues like being rejected for minor, typographical errors or failures by the utility to make clear that information previously not needed in applications is now required, we said in comments submitted to the MPSC in response to applications from DTE and Consumers Energy for regulatory approval of their new interconnection procedures and forms.
The comments explain ways the MPSC should address these problems. For example, “if new information or new forms are required because of the new standards and new procedures, this needs to be made very clear at the outset to applicants and developers,” the comments said. “Michigan EIBC would be happy to work with any interested utility to host a webinar or other information sharing opportunity to ensure that developers are aware of the new requirements.”
In addition, our comments on DTE’s application oppose a request from the utility to be allowed to require fees for interconnection applications that are excessively greater than the initial fee caps set by the MPSC. “DTE has not provided sufficient explanation to justify its fees being such an outlier,” the comments said.
In the coming months, Michigan EIBC plans to work with the MPSC to ensure that the upcoming changes to the distributed generation program made by the recently passed legislation are fully reflected in the utility interconnection procedures.
Need for “Right to Charge Bill” Discussed on Radio Interview
Last week, the Michigan Senate passed HB 4706, also known as the “Right to Charge” bill, sending it to Gov. Whitmer’s desk. In a radio interview with WSJM, Michigan EIBC Director of Policy Justin Carpenter explains why we need the jumpstart to EV charging infrastructure that would come from this bill.
“Our charging infrastructure is not where it should be,” Carpenter said in the interview. “I think we especially need to look at places like the U.P. If half the state’s geographical territory is underserved, then of course people won’t want to buy an electric vehicle.”
The “Right to Charge” bill would address this problem by allowing charging infrastructure to be expanded across the state. Potential providers of public charging infrastructure may be held back by a lack of statewide certainty that electricity can be sold by non-utilities at EV charging stations on a kilowatt-hour basis. The bill would fix this legal gray area by making clear that businesses that sell EV charging services are not automatically considered “electric utilities.”
Pearl is a software-enabled home electrification concierge, founded to make home electrification frictionless for customers and profitable for installers. Pearl’s proprietary software designs a bespoke systems for a unique home, delivers an instant quote, and streamlines the process for customers to qualify for incentives, rebates, and financing.
Michigan Biomass is a business coalition founded in 2007 to advocate for the state’s grid-connected, wood-fired power plants – facilities constructed between 1985 and 1994. Energy recovered from wood byproducts of sustainable forestry and forest products manufacturing is the state’s second leading provider of Renewable Energy Credits under Michigan’s Renewable Portfolio Standards. Biomass energy is power generation that is always on, so it can operate when intermittent resources are unavailable. The intrinsic values of biomass power include jobs and rural economies, markets for low- and no-value wood fiber, services to forest health and stewardship activities, mitigation of greenhouse gases through offsets of decomposition and fossil fuels, and support of the state’s electricity transmission system, and communities that rely on forest resources for livelihoods and quality of life.
Michigan Energy News
- “Michigan’s renewable energy goals are no longer just ambition; they are now a reality with the recent passage of renewable-friendly legislation,” attorneys from Michigan EIBC member Varnum write in the National Law Review.
- Amazon announces its first renewable energy project in Michigan, an 85-MW solar project in Van Buren County.
- Siting renewable energy projects will require getting the details right, Nature Conservancy Michigan Director of Government Relations Madhu Anderson writes in the Detroit News.
- Consumers Energy announces that through its PowerMIFleet program it will provide EVs to the Flint Mass Transportation Authority, Midland Dial-A-Ride and several other Mid-Michigan organizations.
- Michigan EGLE releases its latest Air Quality Annual Report, which finds continued decreases in pollutants as measured by EGLE monitoring sites.
National Energy News
- The Biden administration announces $6 billion for climate resilience projects amidst the release of the Fifth National Climate Assessment, including $3.9 billion through the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships program.
- Grid-enhancing technologies like dynamic line ratings should be required for transmission line owners, according to Allison Clements, commissioner for FERC.
- The cancellation of a project for NuScale Power has brought into question the future of what was one of the most promising small modular nuclear reactor ventures, Canary Media reports.
- Illinois lawmakers remove a ban on the construction of new nuclear reactors in that state.
- Ohio steel company Cleveland-Cliffs has taken a number of steps to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, gaining recognition from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Attention Michigan EIBC members: if you have a job announcement you would like in the newsletter, please send a paragraph describing the position and a link to apply to Matt Bandyk at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include in the email a specific end date for the job posting.
Elevate’s Senior Program Manager, Michigan Justice 40 Accelerator supports Elevate’s mission by leading equity-focused programs and projects that support building the capacity of community-based organizations to implement community-driven climate solutions. The Senior Program Manager collaborates across the organization as well as with key partner organizations, public sector partners. The Senior Program Manager will serve as the primary point of contact for the MI Justice40 Accelerator cohort members on their journey of federal funding readiness and implementation.
The Technical Project Manager, Community Programs (MI) leads the implementation of projects and small programs, maintains client relationships, and assists with program development for specific initiatives related to affordable housing and sustainable communities with an emphasis on energy and water efficiency and renewable energy. Many projects focus on utility affordability, building decarbonization, renewable energy access, climate planning, and/or community resilience. This position requires some technical background in building science, construction management, energy auditing, energy engineering, or other related analytical expertise.
Michigan EIBC member Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University is calling all innovators to apply for its Industrial Decarbonization Innovation Challenge. The goal of this challenge is to globally crowdsource best-in-class industrial decarbonization technologies and connect them with industrial corporate sponsors to accelerate their emission reduction goals and industrial decarbonization programs. Up to $250,000 in prizes will be made available to demonstrate and test best-in-class industrial decarbonization technologies in a real world setting.Click here to learn more about the challenge. Applications will close on Nov. 30.
Consumers Energy has issued a RFP for solar generation projects in accordance with the company’s Proposed Course of Action in its Integrated Resource Plan. This forthcoming RFP is separate and distinct from the ongoing Consumers Energy 2023 VGP RFP for Wind and Solar generation projects. Read the RFP documents here. Respondent and project qualification applications are due Dec. 6.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has announced $1.2 million in funding available for matching grants to advance strategic deployment of EV infrastructure along Lake Michigan, part of the “Lake Michigan Circuit” being built in cooperation with Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. Matching grants are available to public, private, or nonprofit entities, for publicly available level 2 chargers or direct current (DC) fast chargers. Applications are due by 5 pm, Eastern Standard Time, Dec. 4, 2023. The request for proposals and other information about this opportunity can be found here.
The City of Grand Rapids has released a Request for Information/Request for Qualifications related to its plan to develop solar on the Butterworth Landfill. Responses are due Dec. 29, 2023.
Michigan EGLE issues an RFP offering grants through its Retooling Program for small manufacturers to implement energy efficiency upgrades. Applications are due March 3, 2024 or until funds are committed.