This newsletter was originally published on January 17, 2018.
At first EV Convening, Parties Gathered to Discuss Rates, Education, and Charging Infrastructure
Michigan EIBC kicked off its Electric Vehicle Convening Initiative yesterday with a meeting attended by utilities; government agencies including the Michigan Public Service Commission and Michigan Agency for Energy; Michigan EIBC member companies including Advanced Energy Economy, ChargePoint, CLEAResult, and 5 Lakes Energy; and other interested parties.
Al Freeman of the Michigan Public Service Commission started the discussion with an update from the MPSC. Freeman announced that the 2nd EV Technical Conference is scheduled for February 20 at the Michigan Public Service Commission and will focus on pilot programs, charging infrastructure, rate design, grid impact, and cost-benefit analysis. The EV Technical Conference is open to the public.
Next, Camilo Serna of DTE Energy and Mike Delaney of Consumers Energy discussed the utilities’ respective approaches to EV deployment. Serna prioritized the following elements for DTE’s pilot program: make-ready charging infrastructure, including Level 2 and direct-current fast charge (DCFC) charging options; a residential approach; and customer education. For Consumers, Delaney emphasized home EVSE installation; increasing customer awareness; and smart charging technology. Representatives of both utilities expressed interest in working with the group to come up with programs that work best for their customers.
In the afternoon, Robert Jackson of the Michigan Agency for Energy and Debbie Swartz of the Michigan Department for Environmental Quality discussed opportunities for financial investment, including emphasizing the importance of utilizing VW Settlement funds for switching over fleets, and highlighting the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) Grant – available to fund the replacement of old diesel vehicles with new, cleaner vehicles – which is open until January 31.
Michigan EIBC President Liesl Eichler Clark closed out the meeting with a series of small break-out discussions on education and promotion, fast charging, long-dwell charging, and fleet deployment, to help direct future meetings.
If you want to be involved in future EV Convening meetings, let us know at email@example.com!
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Michigan Policy, Regulation & Utilities
- Jason Hayes of the Mackinac Center published an opinion piece in The Detroit News on energy policy priorities, including repealing the renewable energy mandate, expanding electric choice, and investing in natural gas.
- Following Executive Director Valerie Brader’s resignation from the Michigan Agency for Energy, Governor Snyder reorganized the agency.
- The State of Michigan is teaming up with Michigan Tech to conduct risk analysis on the Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.
- An emergency responder with the U.S. Coast Guard says we likely couldn’t recover more than 40% of a potential spilled oil in the Straits of Mackinac.
- From the Traverse City Record-Eagle, “Electric competition ebbs and flows.”
- Ontonagon County REA is seeking public input on its renewable energy plan. The plan documents can be viewed at the Ontonagon offices of the power company, and at Michigan.gov/mpscedockets. Written and electronic comments must be filed with and received by the Commission no later than 5:00 pm, on February 8th.
- A small hydroelectric facility in Michigan has until March to correct safety violations or face being shut down.
- Some independent, renewable power producers in northern Michigan could see the rates they’re paid by a utility cut in half after a recent ruling by state regulators.
- The Cook nuclear plant in southwest Michigan is operating under a new license agreement that will last until 2037.
- A proposed medical marijuana growing facility at a former golf course in Michigan calls for an onsite, 3.5-megawatt biomass plant that runs on agricultural waste.
Michigan Energy Leaders
- Michigan is pushing to increase its renewable energy resources. Up North Live highlights Consumers Energy and Michigan State University for their recent investments in wind and solar, and they’re continued commitment to advanced energy. MSU’s solar panels were installed by Michigan EIBC member company Inovateus.
- Vail Resorts, which operates Mt. Brighton in Michigan, hired Renewable Choice Energy (RCE), a subsidiary of Michigan EIBC member company Schneider Electric, to help identify and implement renewable energy projects that the Company may purchase or fund as part of its comprehensive sustainability commitment.
- Charlevoix City Council is chasing green technology and sustainability.
- St. Joseph Public Works reduced its energy consumption by switching to LED lighting and fixing problems with its heating system. That’s led to more than $4,000 in rebates from AEP and Michigan Gas.
National Energy Stories
- Despite federal policy and regulations pushing the other way, clean energy grew substantially in 2017, due to market forces.
- “For the first time in history, green energy is now cheaper than black energy.” Check out the Edelman Institute’s 2017 Green Energy Barometer.
- The Energy Information Administration predicts a continued decline in coal production in 2018 and 2019, due to cheap natural gas and ongoing coal plant retirements.
President Trump last week the United States could “conceivably” re-enter the Paris climate agreement.
- U.S. Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota, who was recently installed to replace former Sen. Al Franken, says clean energy will be a top policy issue.
- The new federal tax plan may help boost commercial solar installations by reducing the corporate tax rate and expanding depreciation allowances.
- 10 state attorneys general have called on FERC to ensure that utilities pass their tax savings on to customers after the new federal tax law lowered the corporate rate to 21% from 35%.
- In an interview, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said his 2018 priorities include replacing the Clean Power Plan, rewriting the Waters of the United States rule, and starting a national debate on climate change.
- The Department of Energy says it will “respect” and “honor” FERC’s decision to reject its plan to subsidize coal and nuclear plants. Energy lawyers, environmentalists and former FERC commissioners are praising the agency’s decision to reject the plan. A University of Michigan researcher says FERC’s decision to reject a plan to bolster coal and nuclear plants is “the kind of evidence-based policymaking that Americans should expect from the federal government.”
- The Trump administration proposed opening nearly all offshore water to oil and gas drilling, despite the concerns of environmental groups.
- A federal order discarded Interior Department directives and manuals intended to minimize the environmental impact of activities on federal land and water because they were found to be “inconsistent” with President Trump’s goal of energy independence.
- President trump announced his nominations for the EPA and Department of Energy; the nominee for Assistant Secretary of Energy is Anne M. White of Michigan.
- After substantial cold weather produced few electricity disruptions, many are questioning Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s arguments that investments in coal and nuclear are needed to keep lights on during cold weather events.
- Market reforms underway at the PJM may unfairly benefit expensive and inflexible power plants, according to the American Council on Renewable Energy.
- A new report, State Engagement in Electric Distribution System Planning, documents activities in eight states with statutory or public utility commission requirements for electric distribution system or grid modernization plans.
Michigan Energy Events
Exclusive: Institute for Energy Innovation and the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council are hosting a Solar 101 Lunch & Learn on February 6. Please note the new date; this event was originally scheduled for January 25. This event is only open to Michigan state legislators, legislative staff, and Michigan EIBC member companies. Register here.
Michigan EIBC will host a Michigan Energy Forum on solar at member company Varnum’s Grand Rapids office on March 5. Stay tuned for registration details!
Michigan EIBC’s 6th Annual Member Meeting is scheduled for April 30 in Lansing, followed by a Lobby Day on May 1. Mark your calendars!
Michigan EIBC will host a Michigan Energy Forum on energy efficiency and lighting on June 11 at member company CLEAResult’s office in Detroit. Stay tuned for details!
National Energy Events
The 2nd Smart Cities International Symposium and Exhibition, January 17-18 in Chicago, brings together municipal professionals and thought leaders to explore technology advances and key lessons to date in achieving the Smart City vision. Register here.
Join SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts at RENEW Wisconsin’s “Connecting to a Powerful Future” Summit. Thursday, January 18, in Madison, WI. Register Today!
EUCI invites you to the 6th Annual Utilities and Data Centers Conference, January 30-31, in Austin, TX. The conference will provide perspectives, case studies, stories from the entire data center “ecosystem” and share best practices as to how the development of smart cities is affecting the data center landscape, what data centers need from their utilities to ensure they are providing the best product to their enterprise customers and how utilities are attracting and retaining data centers through mission-critical reliability standards. Register here.
Mark your calendar for the 5th National Conference on Next Generation Demand Response on February 7-8, in San Diego, California. Learn more and register here.
With more than 650 attendees, MES is the region’s largest energy efficiency event and an unparalleled networking opportunity. February 7-9, MEEA will be holding their annual 2018 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference at the Chicago Hilton & Towers. MES is about celebrating accomplishments in energy efficiency, as well as laying out the efficiency program and policy landscape for the coming year. Register here.
EUCI invites you to the Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Utility Solar Rates Summit March 1-2 in Nashville, TN. The summit will explore common NEM rate structures and many alternatives under consideration and examine the array of options that utilities and regulatory commissions are looking to as a means for striking the necessary balance between promoting the advancement of solar policy and development, facilitating appropriate rate recovery, ensuring grid reliability and enabling consumer choice. Register here.
EUCI invites you to its Renewable Energy 101 Forum, March 12-13, in Portland, Oregon. Learn more and register here.
Announcements and Opportunities
The Michigan Battle of the Buildings is April 18. Join the awards and recognition program for energy use reduction today! The competition is open to all Michigan area commercial, industrial, non-profit, educational institutions & multi-family buildings. Any building type except single family residential. Registration ends March 31.
Applications are open for the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) Grant until January 31. This grant is available to fund the replacement of old diesel vehicles with new, cleaner vehicles Learn more and apply here.