- 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:
House Passes Clean Energy Package Bills And Siting Bills
Late on Nov. 2, the Michigan House approved several of the key pieces of the clean energy package meant to codify the MI Healthy Climate Plan. The Michigan Senate already passed these bills last week. Next week, these bills will go back to the Senate to reconcile amendments made by the House. Once the Senate has approved those versions of the bills, they can be sent to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
The bills now passed by both chambers are:
- SB 271, which would expand the renewable energy standard, create a clean energy standard, create an energy storage mandate and increase access to rooftop solar. Passed on a 56-51 vote.
- SB 273, which would expand energy waste reduction requirements for electric and gas utilities and provide opportunities for gas to electric fuel-switching. Passed on a 56-52 vote.
- SB 277, which would codify the policy established in 2019 by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to allow farmers to rent land for commercial solar operations while enrolled in the Farmland Preservation Program. Passed on a 56-51 vote.
- SB 502, which would require the MPSC, when approving utility Integrated Resource Plans, to consider reliability, service quality, affordability, energy burden, and the impact on environmental justice communities, and also double funding to the Utility Consumer Protection Board. Passed on a 56-52 vote.
- SB 519, which would create an office within the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to help workers and communities affected by the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy find new jobs. Passed on a 56-52 vote.
Michigan EIBC has been championing these bills as they work their way through the legislative process. “The clean energy industry employs nearly 124,000 Michiganders – which is more than in any other state in the Midwest,” Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman said in a statement. “Michigan EIBC applauds the House passage of this legislation, which will support our growing advanced energy workforce and communities across Michigan.”
In addition, also on Nov. 2, the Michigan House of Representatives passed HB 5120 on a 56-54 vote and HB 5121 on a 56-52 vote, two bills that would streamline permitting for renewable energy projects to make them easier to be built in Michigan. Michigan EIBC DIrector of Policy Justin Carpenter explained the need for this bill in a recent piece in Bridge Michigan, writing that this legislative fix would ensure that renewable energy projects are “reviewed and assessed based on the facts, not falsehoods and misinformation.” HB 5120 would authorize the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to permit utility-scale wind, solar and energy storage facilities, while HB 5121 would amend the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act to enable the changes proposed by HB 5120.
Michigan House Passes Bill Expanding Energy Freedom for Homeowners
This week the Michigan House of Representatives passed HB 5028, a bill that would allow residents of homeowners’ associations to add rooftop solar, storage, EV charging equipment, heat pumps or other kinds of energy-saving improvements or modifications to their homes.
The bill was introduced in September by Rep. Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton). As Rep. Puri explained in a recent interview with Michigan Advance, the bill is meant to stop HOAs from using arbitrary reasons to block homeowners’ access to solar panels, EV chargers, energy efficiency upgrades and more. Many of the HOA rules are based on purely aesthetic considerations and that’s “just not a good enough reason” to ban these improvements, Rep. Puri said. “If you want to put up an EV charger, you know, you shouldn’t be blocked just because some HOA says that you can’t have one. Same goes with solar panels and a couple of the other things [in the bill],” he said.
Michigan EIBC Senior Director of Policy Grace Michienzi testified in support of HB 5028 before the Michigan House Committee on Natural Resources, Environment, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation on Oct. 5. “Legislation like HB 5028 ensures Michiganders are able to take advantage of technologies like energy efficiency upgrades and EV charging in their homes and will help to support and grow the thousands of clean energy jobs in their state,” she said in her testimony.
The bill now awaits action in the Michigan Senate.
Nature Conservancy Report Examines Clean Energy Progress in the Midwest
A new report from The Nature Conservancy analyzes the progress being made in five Midwestern states – Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin – on meeting the growing demand among businesses for renewable energy, and points out ways they can build on their success.
The report, Charting a Clean Energy Future, finds that there is “high business demand for renewables” in these five states. On average, 54% of large businesses and employers across the five states have “ambitious” greenhouse gas reduction targets, according to the Nature Conservancy’s analysis. But the report also found those states have more room to grow in terms of the amount of energy generated by renewables, noting that states like Iowa, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Kansas and Maine all get 50% or more of their electricity from renewables.
One of the biggest barriers for faster growth of renewables in Michigan is siting, the report concludes. “New investments in solar and wind installations in Michigan face challenges related to siting, transmission and regulatory constraints, which will need to be addressed before these projects can be built. However, with strong support from Michigan utilities, businesses and Michiganders, the state has the momentum needed to address local siting challenges as more renewables are deployed,” the report said.
Recently-introduced bills to streamline siting in Michigan would go a long way to reduce this barrier.
Michigan Energy News
- SB 271 will help Michigan increase its economic development because “if we’re powered by the sun and we’re powered by the wind, we are not sending money back out to Wyoming to pay for coal or to Texas to pay for natural gas,” Rep. Jenn Hill (D-Marquette) tells Crain’s Detroit.
- Halloween snow storms cause nearly 40,000 Consumers Energy customers in West Michigan to lose power.
- DTE counts more frequent and severe storms as a contributing factor to lower third-quarter earnings.
- If passed, the clean energy bill package pending in the state legislature “would bolster the climate legacy of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,” the Washington Post reports.
- A Senate committee considers a bill that would permit electric trucks on state roadways that are heavier than currently allowed.
National Energy News
- A pending U.S. Supreme Court case takes on the question of whether or not a Texas law banning non-incumbent utilities from building transmission lines is unconstitutional.
- Michigan EIBC member Meta and other major companies like Apple, Amazon and Nike launch the Clean Energy Procurement Academy with the Clean Energy Buyers Institute.
- United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain says that the union’s agreement reached with Ford shows the union refuses “to pick between good jobs and green jobs” and instead demands both.
- A wave of project cancellations has led to a “moment of reckoning” for the offshore wind industry, Canary Media reports.
- The staff of PJM, the largest regional transmission organization, recommends the construction of nearly $5 billion in new transmission projects, about half of which would be built by Dominion 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 email@example.com. 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.
Acadia Center is seeking to fill the role of Senior Director, Climate & Clean Energy Programs. Learn more here.
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.
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.