- Newsletter (395)
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 Calls For Workable Solutions for Rooftop Solar Customers in Southwest Michigan
The growth of rooftop solar in southwestern Michigan has caused Indiana Michigan Power (I&M), the biggest electricity provider in that part of the state, to hit its cap on Category 1 distributed generation systems (these systems are less than 20 kW and generally residential). In comments filed today with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), Michigan EIBC shows how I&M’s proposed tariff for new rooftop solar customers trying to connect to its grid fails to meet customer needs, and recommends a path that would ensure the continued growth of rooftop solar in I&M’s service territory.
This May, I&M told the MPSC it had hit its cap for residential customers and would not accept new customers as of May 15. The MPSC required the utility to file the options available to residential customers by June 30. In that filing, the utility said that future distributed generation customers can connect under its Cogeneration and/or Small Power Production Service (“COGEN/SPP”) tariff.
But, as Michigan EIBC explains in its comments, “this tariff was not created or designed with residential customers in mind and many of the elements of this tariff are antithetical to the provision of electric service to small DG customers.”
The problem with this tariff for residential rooftop solar customers is fundamental. The tariff would require customers to sign long-term contracts. “Most (if not all) customers will be hesitant to sign a contract with an investor-owned utility. The power dynamics in such a contract negotiation would be highly skewed in favor of the utility. In addition, most residential homeowners, while they may have a mortgage, do not necessarily plan to stay in their home for at least 5 years,” Michigan EIBC’s comments said.
The tariff would also expose customers to standby charges that would be unreasonable, unnecessary and economically prohibitive for rooftop solar.
Instead, “Michigan EIBC recommends that the Commission require I&M to propose a tariff-based (non-contract) option without demand charges or standby rates for residential DG customers,” our comments said. In the meantime, at least until that tariff is developed, Michigan EIBC recommends that I&M continue to allow residential customers to access its distribution system using the DG tariff.
MPSC Study Recommends New Rules to Ease Integration of Distributed Energy Resources
The growth of distributed energy resources over the next several years will require new policies in Michigan to allow these resources to meet their full potential to improve grid reliability, according to a study completed by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) and recently submitted to the state Legislature.
Utility distributed generation (DG) programs have been consistently growing, as captured by a table in the report (see below). “Given the increased interest in clean generation and increasing efficiency of the technology, this trend is likely to continue as customers are becoming more interested in being energy independent,” the report said. “While this projection of the DG program does not include any effects of the new tax credits or any potential policy changes, Staff notes that these changes in the industry may result in an uptick of customer installations. Given the continued interest in the DG program, it will be imperative to develop policies and hosting capacity maps that will allow customers and utilities to better site and plan for the potential DG adoption.”
As defined by the Electric Power Research Institute, “hosting capacity” means “the number and kilowatt capacity of distributed energy resources that distribution feeders can accommodate without adverse impacts to the grid’s power quality and reliability.” In several cases before the MPSC and in a 2020 meeting with commissioners and staff, Michigan EIBC has proposed that hosting capacity data and load data should be public, easily accessible, and updated regularly so that potential DER and electric vehicle infrastructure developers can use the data effectively.
Among the MPSC study’s recommendations is that a “hosting capacity analysis toolkit” be developed that would create a “timely and accurate representation” of grid capacity. “Utilities should investigate the costs and best practices for automatic hosting capacity maps and to what extent such automations would assist with minimizing the utilities’ costs to complete interconnection studies and how such automations could improve the frequency of updates to hosting capacity maps,” the study said.
The study was conducted as a result of a resolution passed by the state Senate in 2020. That resolution encouraged the MPSC to undertake a study on reliability, interconnection, and related grid integration issues for distributed energy.
Governor Appoints Justine Johnson As Chief Mobility Officer
This week Gov. Whitmer announced she is appointing Justine Johnson to lead the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME) within the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), effective on Aug. 21, succeeding Kathryn Snorrason as Interim Chief Mobility Officer and Trevor Pawl as Chief Mobility Officer.
Most recently, Johnson was appointed to the Los Angeles County Aviation Commission to advise the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on the operations and development of the County’s five airports. In addition to this role, she served as the Director of Member Engagement at the California Mobility Center (CMC) which is a non-profit that promotes commercial interactions with new mobility companies and industry-leading entities to deploy new products, programs, and services in clean mobility in the State of California, and beyond. Previously, Johnson served as the Head of Mobility Engagement for the SoCal/Southwest Region at Ford Motor Company.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Justine to Team Michigan and am grateful for Kathryn and Trevor’s efforts to build our state’s position as a renowned leader in this new generation of mobility and transportation technologies,” Gov. Whitmer said in a statement. “Under Justine’s leadership, we’ll continue to put the world on notice that if you seek a place to research, innovate, test and deploy the next generation of mobility technologies, we welcome you to make it in Michigan.”
Tickets Available for the 11th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala in Detroit on Sept. 27
Michigan EIBC is excited to welcome our members, Michigan legislators and state officials, and the general public to our 11th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on September 27th at The Eastern in Detroit. Gala is a wonderful opportunity to network with colleagues, policymakers, and industry experts, all while celebrating the individuals and businesses who succeeded in growing Michigan’s advanced energy sector. For more event information and to purchase tickets, click here.
The keynote speaker will be Shalanda Baker, Director, Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior to her appointment, she was a Professor of Law, Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. She was the co-founder and co-director of the Initiative for Energy Justice, which provides technical law and policy support to communities on the front lines of climate change. Baker served as an Air Force officer prior to her honorable discharge pursuant to the then existing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and became a vocal advocate for repeal of the policy. She earned a B.S. in Political Science from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a J.D. from Northeastern University, and L.L.M. from the University of Wisconsin.
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The Watt Level (Sold Out)
5 Lakes Energy is a Michigan-based policy consulting firm dedicated to advancing policies and programs that promote clean energy, sustainability and the environment.
Chart House Energy is a full service commercial / industrial renewable energy development firm with specialty in not-for-profit and governmental agency projects.
Michigan State University
Sustainability is a Spartan Priority. Our land grant roots power our vision for the future. Established in 1855 as the nation’s pioneer land-grant university and Michigan’s first agricultural college, MSU was called upon to address growing areas of concern in the country: education, agriculture, infrastructure and science. Today, MSU’s 5,200 acre campus is still home to leading research, as well as cutting-edge technologies, award-winning programs and thousands of Spartans working to make a difference every day – addressing sustainability challenges across all disciplines. With dynamic facilities like the South Campus Anaerobic Digester, the Student Organic Farm and the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, MSU continues to serve as a beacon for innovative leaders who want to use their educational experience to shape the solutions of tomorrow. MSU continues to set a standard of sustainability excellence for universities globally: by eliminating the use of coal at the T.B. Simon Power Plant in 2016, building the largest solar covered parking area in the nation and continuing to invest in student research, cross-disciplinary partnerships and expanded building efficiencies. Spartans are at the forefront of discovery, building on a foundation of strong core values to deliver high-impact results to the campus community and beyond. Guided by a powerful vision and mission, MSU strives to enable Spartans to conduct this important work on a campus that delivers on efficiency and innovation.
Tetra Tech is a leading provider of environmental consulting, engineering, and technical services worldwide. We are a diverse company, including individuals with expertise in science, research, engineering, construction, and information technology. Our strength is in collectively providing integrated services, delivering the best solutions to meet our clients’ needs.
Cypress Creek Renewables
Cypress Creek is an integrated solar and storage company. We develop and own solar and storage projects, both utility-scale and community-scale. We offer Operations & Maintenance Services for owned and assets.
We develop, construct, own, and operate high-quality wind, solar, transmission, and energy storage projects worldwide.
Michigan Energy News
- Michigan EIBC member Invenergy announces the state of operation at its 200-MW Calhoun Energy Center, where most of the capacity is contracted to serve Consumers Energy, the Michigan Public Power Agency and the Lansing Board of Water & Light.
- The Lansing Board of Water & Light is planning several solar, wind and battery storage projects as it aims for carbon neutrality by 2040.
- The Michigan House’s Energy Reliability, Resilience and Accountability Task Force holds its next listening tour stop in Marquette.
- Representatives of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and community organizations review the progress of three programs to reduce energy burden for low-income Michiganders.
- A new certificate program at Grand Rapids Community College aims to drive more qualified workers for the energy industry.
National Energy News
- A failure to speed up transmission line development could cut potential greenhouse gas emissions reductions in half, according to a Princeton University-led report.
- Average solar power purchase agreement prices across North America fell 1% to $49.09 per MWh during the second quarter of 2023, the first decline since the pandemic, according to LevelTen Energy.
- A new Minnesota law that allows larger community solar projects and removes a restriction that subscribers be in the same county as the project or an adjacent county is revolutionizing community solar in that state.
- Washington state public power agency Energy Northwest signs a joint development agreement with X-Energy Reactor Company for up to 12 Xe-100 small modular nuclear reactors.
- Wind and solar power generated more energy than coal-fired power in the U.S. in the first half of this year.
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.
Cultivate Power is seeking a Director of Community Partnerships & Investment. This person will help originate, develop and foster community partnership and investment opportunities in the host communities and regions where Cultivate Power develops distributed energy projects. Additionally, the Director will work to build systems and standardized processes for engaging communities on every project. This is a unique role with the opportunity for the Director to drive industry-leading impact to create greater inclusion, equity and benefit to communities through innovation and creation of new programs and partnerships. The Director will report directly to one of the Managing Directors and co-founders of Cultivate Power.
The Public Affairs Specialist will monitor legislation, regulations, and incentive programs across key Midwest U.S. states, assess their impact on FLO’s go-to-market strategy, and report this information accordingly to the relevant teams. The Public Affairs Specialist will collaborate with multiple teams, including but not limited to the Sales Team, Marketing Team, Product Team, and Communications Team to respond to legislative and regulatory issues as well as support FLO’s overall go-to-market strategy. The Public Affairs Specialist will serve as part of FLO’s Public Affairs Team and will report to the Public Affairs Director but will ultimately work in a highly collaborative environment with other teams.
Michigan and National Energy Events
Join Michigan EIBC and Clean Fuels Michigan for a public electric vehicle convening on July 26 at FLO EV Charging’s new Michigan manufacturing facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan. All are welcome to attend to discuss funding opportunities for EV charging infrastructure. In addition to panel discussions, the event will feature time for networking (including space for those interested in finding partners for grant applications) as well as a tour of the FLO facility. Register here.
Save the dates Aug. 6-9 for the Mid-America Regulatory Conference (MARC) Annual Meeting at the JW Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids.
Tickets are available for the 11th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on Sept. 27 at The Eastern in Detroit.
The Department of Energy is currently soliciting 5-page concept papers outlining potential projects for the 48c investment tax credit, also known as the Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Credit Program. Focuses of the program include: Clean Energy Manufacturing and Recycling; Critical Materials Processing, Refining and Recycling; and Industrial GHG Emissions Reductions. Over its lifetime, the program will allocate $10 billion in credits ($4 billion of which may be allocated only to projects located in certain energy communities census tracts). Selected projects will receive an investment tax credit of up to 30% of qualified investments if prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements are met. The five-page concept papers and a project data sheet must be submitted by July 31 in order to be eligible to submit a full application in late Fall/early winter. Potential applicants are encouraged to review available guidance or to contact the Michigan Infrastructure Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information, including templates for submitting an application.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s $7 billion Solar for All competition will award up to 60 grants to states, territories, Tribal governments, municipalities, and eligible nonprofit recipients to expand the number of low-income and disadvantaged communities primed for distributed solar investment. Anyone interested must submit a notice of intent (NOI) by the applicable deadline. The NOI deadlines are July 31 for states and territories, August 14 for municipalities and NGOs and August 28 for Tribal governments.
Duquesne Light Company (DLC) is issuing a Request for Proposals for existing and in development solar generation facilities available to enter into a long term-contract for sale of its output or portion of its output with DLC. Pre-qualification applications are due July 25. More information about the RFP is available here,
The Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity (LEO) has two job openings: Director of Mobility Policy, who will be an advisor to LEO and serve as the lead policy staffer for the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, and Policy Director, who will cover a broad portfolio of issues across the entire department including workforce development, economic mobility and workplace rights and safety.
Organizations currently have the opportunity to work with a grad student from the University of Michigan School for Environment & Sustainability (SEAS) for their Master’s Projects. In these projects, “students work on research teams with client organizations and faculty advisors to address complex environmental issues and design innovative, impactful products,” according to SEAS. Learn more here. Proposals for projects are due by September.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to expand the weatherization assistance program utilizing bipartisan infrastructure law funding for multi-family dwellings. The five-month award begins on May 1 and ends Sept. 30, 2023, with the total available amount being $1 million dollars. Successful applicants may be awarded funding annually through at least Sept. 30, 2028, based upon funding availability and acceptable performance. For more information or to apply, visit the EGrAMS website.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Buildings Upgrade Prize (Buildings UP) is offering more than $22 million in cash prizes and technical assistance to teams across America with winning ideas to accelerate widespread, equitable energy efficiency and building electrification upgrades. Follow Buildings UP on HeroX.com for all prize-related updates. Phase 1 submissions are due by July 18.
The City of Detroit has issued a Request for Information seeking feedback on the number and type of projects that would best achieve the goal of generating enough renewable energy to power municipal operations and buildings with locally generated and City-owned solar power. Find more information here. Responses are due Oct. 2.