Newsletter: Michigan Democrats Introduce Energy Legislation

This newsletter was originally published on April 20, 2015.

Michigan Democrats Introduce Energy Legislation

With support from the overwhelming majority of caucus members in both the State House and Senate, Michigan Democrats introduced an energy package yesterday that would increase the renewable portfolio standard to 20 percent by 2022, increase the energy efficiency standards to 2% per year, and eliminate customer surcharges on renewable energy.

Increasing the renewable standard would generate as much as $6 billion in economic activity and create tens of thousands of jobs, according to a Hill Group report. The Christian Coalition of Michigan released a poll that found that 84% of Michigan residents would support doubling our current renewable standard to 20 percent. And, the Michigan Public Service Commission estimates that every dollar that utilities spent on energy efficiency saved consumers an estimated $3.75 in reduced energy costs.

The House Democratic legislation has been referred to the House Energy Policy Committee, chaired by Representative Aric Nesbit ,who recently introduced energy legislation that would eliminate the energy optimization standard. On the Senate side, the legislation heads to the  Energy and Technology Committee chaired by Senator Mike Nofs, who is expected to introduce his energy plan soon.


Congress Passes Federal Energy Efficiency Legislation

The U.S. House of Representatives this week passed the Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015, which contains elements of the Portman Shaheen energy efficiency legislation that has been introduced – and stalled – in each of the last two Congresses. The legislation now heads to President Obama’s desk.

The legislation focuses on improving energy efficiency in buildings, exempts thermal water heaters from expected new energy standards, and requires federal building without Energy Star to disclose their energy data.

Senator Portman (R-OH) and Shaheen (D-NH) have also introduced a larger energy efficiency bill that is scheduled for a hearing on April 30.


Highlights from the 3rd Annual Michigan EIBC Member Meeting

On Monday, April 20, more than 130Michigan advanced energy industry leaders, policymakers, and others attended Michigan EIBC’s 3rd Annual Member Meeting in Lansing. The Annual Member Meeting featured opening remarks from Congressman Mike Bishop, and a keynote speech from Invenergy CEO Michael Polsky. Both spoke about the exciting future that renewable energy and energy optimization have. Polsky talked about how it’s no longer a question of if renewables will increase, but when and at what pace.

The event also featured six panel breakout discussions, focusing on everything from growing solar power in Michigan and strengthening Michigan manufacturing through energy efficiency to addressing Michigan’s capacity issues and taking a look at what’s next for the UP power sector to understanding market innovation in energy finance and looking at corporate purchases of renewable energy.

Special thanks to all our speakers and presenters, as well as to our sponsors: the Michigan Energy Office, The Alliance for Solar Choice, GE Power and Water, Invenergy, ITC, Acuitas, OU Inc., Suniva, and Ventower.


Michigan EIBC Welcomes Stephen Wooden as New Policy & Communications Manager

Michigan EIBC this week gained additional capacity for its policy and communications efforts with the hire of Stephen Wooden, who will also lead community energy initiatives for the Institute for Energy Innovation.

Wooden joins the team from the Michigan House of Representatives, where he was most recently a staff writer. He has also worked for four members of the Michigan House of Representatives, including two members of the House Energy Committee. Wooden also has expertise in urban planning, and currently serves as a Planning Commissioner with the City of East Lansing. Wooden graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in political theory and political economy.

Welcome aboard Stephen!


Michigan EIBC In Action

Michigan EIBC exists to serve its member businesses, and each week Michigan EIBC staff are busy working to create a business-friendly environment for the advanced energy industry in Michigan. Here are the highlights from the past week:

  • Michigan EIBC held its 3rd Annual Member Meeting on Monday in Lansing. Check out the story above for the highlights – and visit our Facebook page to see some of the photos from the event!
  • Michigan EIBC teamed up with Advanced Energy Economy, our national partner, for an industry lobby day on Tuesday. All told, Michigan EIBC staff met with over a dozen legislative offices to push for continued policy support for energy efficiency and renewable energy businesses.
  • Michigan EIBC staff attended yesterday’s House Energy Policy Committee meeting, which featured an explanation of Governor Snyder’s Integrated Resource Plan framework from Agency for Energy Director Valerie Brader.
  • Michigan EIBC President Dan Scripps attended yesterday’s ‘Battle of the Buildings’ Awards Summit in Grand Rapids. The event featured a number of panel discussions, an awards presentation for businesses that reduced their energy consumption the most over 2014, and a keynote address from Valerie Brader.

Through these activities, Michigan EIBC represents the priorities of its member companies. Want to make sure your company has a seat at the table? Join Michigan EIBC today!


Upcoming Michigan Energy Events

The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) is hosting a free webinar titled “On-Bill Financing: An Energy Efficiency Solution for Member-Owned Utilities in the Midwest.” The webinar is on Tuesday, April 28, from noon to 1 p.m. EDT. You can sign up here.

The 2015 CHP Conference will take place on Thursday, April 30, 2015 at the Radisson Hotel in Lansing. The event, being held for the first time, is focused on Michigan’s combined-heat-and-power/ cogeneration sector, and is being co-hosted by Michigan EIBC and Oakland University. Registration is now open for the CHP Conference, and Michigan EIBC members get a 50% discount. Sponsorship opportunities are also available; email Nicole Forward, Michigan EIBC Director of Partnerships and Corporate Relations, for more information.

The Engineering Society of Detroit and DTE are hosting the 2015 Energy Conference and Exhibition on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 at the Suburban Collection Showcase in Novi. 
The Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association’s annual Michigan Energy Fair will be held this year on June 26-27, 2015 at the Ingham County Fairgrounds in Mason.


Upcoming National Energy Events

The CERES Conference 2015 will be held May 13-14 in San Francisco.

The American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) annual WINDPOWER 2015 Conference and Exposition is being held May 18-21, 2015 in Orlando, FL.

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) annual Energy Efficiency Finance Forum will take place May 30-June 2, 2015 in San Francisco.

The 12th Annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum – Wall Street is taking place June 24-25 in New York.

Intersolar North America, the most attended solar event in the U.S., will be held July 13-16 in San Francisco.


Michigan Advanced Energy News

  • Senate Energy Committee Chair Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek) unveiled some of the general components of his energy plan, which will keep the current electric choice cap at 10 percent, create additional parameters for the choice system, and replace the renewable portfolio standard with integrated resource planning (IRP). Utilities would have to provide an IRP to the Michigan Public Service Commission on how they would meet a clean emission standard in 5, 10, and 15 years. Nofs would not disclose how ‘clean emissions’ were going to be defined.
  • State Senate Majority Leader Arland Meekhof (R-West Olive) announced that he is in favor of expanding electric choice.
  • Valerie Brader, deputy legal counsel and special policy advisor to the governor, gave a presentation to the Michigan House Energy Committee on the certificate of need and integrative resource planning processes. Brader will soon become the Director of the Michigan Agency for Energy, created by Gov. Snyder last month. In the committee, she discussed a desire to have renewables compete on the same level as conventional energy.
  • The Detroit Zoo is crowdfunding for a biodigester that will be powered by the 400 tons of manure produced by its animals each year. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has promised to provide matchhing dollars if they successfully raise $55 thousand.
  • Gov. Snyder spoke to the Grand Rapids Business Journal about Michigan’s energy future. He continued to express his desire to have 30 to 40 percent of Michigan’s energy portfolio be provided by renewables and eliminating energy waste. He has not suggested continuing or extending the energy standards from the 2008 law.


US Advanced Energy News

  • Carbon emissions grew last year, according to government figures, although slower than the economy did as a whole.
  • Hawaii’s solar usage is growing at a rapid pace, becoming a point of contention between the electric consumers and the utility, and an indicator for worldwide changes.
  • The Wall Street Journal published a story about how regulatory structures that reward utilities for capital expenditures may be driving up rates in order to satisfy utility shareholders.
  • The first ever “Quadrennial Energy Review” released by the Obama administration indicates a serious need to modernize our energy system to accommodate growth in renewables and distributed energy sources like rooftop solar.
  • The EPA’s clean power plant standard is set to create a quarter of a million new jobs, according to a new report.

Additional Resources
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.