Newsletter: John Viera Announced as Energy Innovators Gala Keynote

This newsletter was originally published on September 26, 2016.

John Viera Announced as Energy Innovators Gala Keynote

Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council is pleased to announce John Viera Global Director, Sustainability and Vehicle Environmental Matters for Ford Motor Company as the keynote address for the Energy Innovators Gala on November 10, 2016.

Viera is responsible for developing global sustainable business plans and policies, interfacing and negotiating environmental regulations with global governmental bodies, reporting externally on the company’s environmental and social performance, and leading the company’s engagement and partnerships with non-government organizations (NGOs) and other key stakeholders.

Please join us on November 10!


Senate Goes on Recess until October Without Vote on Energy Bill

The Senate left Lansing last week without voting on SB 437 and 438, legislation to rewrite the state’s energy laws. The chamber will meet the week of October 17th during the last three days of session before the November 8 election.

The bill package passed the Senate Energy and Technology Committee earlier this year and continued debate about capacity requirements for the providers in the retail open access market appears to be stalling a floor vote on the legislation.

Valerie Brader spoke to the Senate Republican Caucus last week to bring them up to speed on the compromise between the administration and MISO, reported in our newsletter last week. Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich indicated, “in its current version, there will be no votes for it unless changes are made that we think are common sense.” Those changes are leaving the state’s net metering law alone, keeping the energy optimization standard and increasing the state’s renewable portfolio standard to 15 percent. In a recent article in the Detroit Free Press, Senator Nofs suggests a 5 percent increase in the RPS could be part of the current discussions.

Conversations around the energy legislative package continue including input from Executive Director of the Michigan Agency for Energy Valerie Brader who stated “It would be a real shame if we left something that is this beneficial for Michigan sitting on the table,” she said.

A recent leadership change in the House Republican caucus increases the likelihood of the legislative package seeing action before session ends December 31st.

Michigan EIBC offers a monthly policy committee call-in for members only. Want to join Michigan EIBC and get more in depth analysis of the policy discussion? Sign up here.


Nominations due FRIDAY for the Fourth Annual Energy Innovators Gala

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 or to become a sponsor, please contact Nicole Forward at You can also download the form here.
Michigan EIBC will accept nominations through September 30.

Current Gala Sponsors are:










Michigan Energy News

Solarize Michigan, an initiative of Michigan EIBC’s sister organization, the Institute for Energy Innovation, hosted a ‘solar open driveway.’ Saginaw area residents attended a neighbor’s backyard to see how he went solar through the project. Check out Mlive’s story on the event!

The state of Michigan through the Michigan Agency for Energy released two different modeling sets, reported by Midwest Energy News. The results show that that energy efficiency is the cheapest way to meet Clean Power Plan compliance, however the debate continues about how to meet changing generation needs.

Clean Power Plan has a long day in the DC Circuit Court, reported by Utility Dive, and the court’s decision is expected before the end of the year.  

Wolverine Cooperative announced a 1.2 MW solar array in Northern Michigan continuing down the path to doubling their RPS build with a focus on Michigan build.

Tesla Motors has filed a lawsuit against state officials over denying them a dealership license, Crain’s Detroit reports.

Consumers Energy has filed for a $250 million wind farm expansion in Tuscola County, Tuscola Today reports.

An odor concern from a bio digester in Lowell will be resolved by November 1 with plans to install a filter and cover an outside wastewater treatment vat, 9&10 News reports.

The Center for Automotive Research says the new proposed fuel economy standard could result in significant job losses, if gas prices remain the same, Michigan Radio reports.

Martin Public Schools has plans to be 99-percent powered by solar energy through a 20 year contact with Superior Renewable Solutions, saving them between $6.5 and $8.5 thousand a year, Allegan News reports.

Xcel Energy is planning on increasing their wind power generation by 60 percent, serving areas in the upper Midwest, including the Upper Peninsula, Star Tribune reports.


National Energy News

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz hopes to double the federal research and development budget for energy innovation, Vox reports.

The Tesla ‘Gigafactory’ is expected to start batteries late this year, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports. Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that they and SolarCity will soon unveil their ‘solar roof,’ a building-integrated solar, storage and tesla charging station package.

Judge Cornelia Pillard will now participant in the DC Circuit Court’s en hearing of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, bringing the possibility of a 5-5 tie, Utility Dive reports.

Utility Dive has a feature on the future of rate design, examining Arizona’s experiments with demand charges and time of use rates.

Almost one-third of the world’s energy capacity now come from renewables, Computer World reports.

The ClearPath Foundation is a political organization supporting Republicans who back advance energy policies, Jay Faison is their CEO and was interviewed on E&E TV

Energy, agricultural and transportation groups are lobbying congress for an extension on the biofuels tax credits. The production tax credit and investment tax credit for wind and solar were both extended for another 5 years in December of 2015.

Oceanic oilrig companies are looking to large-scale, off shore wind to make up losses, Bloomberg 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.

Solarize Michigan is hosting tour more ‘solar home tours,’ residents in Saginaw, Midland and Bay Counties can join their neighbors on October 1 in Thomas Township, and October 8 in Sanford. Both events are from 12:30 to 2 PM.

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.