Newsletter: Michigan EIBC President starts term with Crain’s Op-Ed

This newsletter was originally published on October 29, 2015.

Michigan EIBC President Highlights Need for Strong Energy Standards in Crain’s OpEd

Michigan EIBC President Liesl Eichler Clark highlighted the need for Michigan to maintain strong energy standards in a hard-hitting OpEd in Crain’s Detroit Business last week.

Michigan EIBC recently underwent an administrative shift, with Clark appointed president and Dan Scripps taking on a new role as senior advisor. Clark previously served as EIBC’s vice president for business and policy engagement. She is principal and co-founder of 5 Lakes Energy and was involved the creation of Michigan EIBC and the Institute for Energy Innovation.

In her OpEd, Clark called for the Michigan Legislature to build on the success of the 2008 energy laws that set reasonable but forward-thinking renewable portfolio and energy optimization standards.

“A stable policy framework has also helped grow advanced energy manufacturing, which is now a $7.2 billion industry in Michigan — larger than natural resources and mining, twice as large as furniture manufacturing, and more than 70 times larger than the state’s oil and gas extraction industry,” Clark wrote. “It would be a mistake to revoke clear standards that have provided certainty for investors and the market, resulted in billions of dollars of investment, saved Michigan families and businesses money on their utility bills, and helped to grow the manufacturing sector.”

This comes a week after Crain’s Detroit Business came out in support of renewable and energy efficiency standards, seeing them as necessary to aligning the interests of ratepayers with their investors.


Energy Innovators Gala Tickets SOLD OUT!
Michigan EIBC is happy to host the 3rd annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala.  James Chen, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Associate General Counsel of Tesla Motors, Inc. will give the keynote speech. Valerie Brader, Executive Director of the Michigan Agency for Energy, will offer opening remarks.

The Gala will take place on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing. Registration begins at 4:30 pm. The event will kick off with a reception at 5:00 pm followed by dinner at 6:00 pm. Tickets have now sold out.
James Chen joined Tesla in August of 2010 and currently serves as the company’s Vice President of Regulatory Affairs. Based in Washington, D.C., Jim is responsible for all aspects of government affairs and regulation at the international, federal and state levels for Tesla. He also serves as Tesla’s Associate General Counsel where he is tasked with ensuring compliance with the legal requirements applicable to Tesla’s products and facilities. Jim also assists on business deals for the company, including furthering Tesla’s relationships with strategic partners in the established automobile industry.
Valerie Brader is the Executive Director of the Michigan Agency for Energy, a position she has held since the Agency’s creation earlier this year. Her service with the Snyder administration began in 2011, previously serving as Deputy Legal Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Snyder, including work on the City of Detroit bankruptcy case. Before her service in state government she was a member (partner) at Bodman PLC, practicing primarily environmental and corporate law (with a specialization in assisting new or expanding businesses, from incorporation to securing permits and tax credits).
The annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala is the opportunity for Michigan’s advanced energy industry to pay tribute to and recognize those businesses, policymakers, and others who are doing the most to build the industry in Michigan.
Awards will be presented in five categories: 

  • Business of the Year
  • Emerging Company of the Year
  • Employer of the Year
  • Public Official of the Year
  • Energy Innovators Business Hall of Fame


PACE Financing Growing with Lean and Green Michigan

Since it was put into law in 2010, PACE financing has been growing in Michigan. More and more local governments are starting their own program and just this year we have seen several serious projects.

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a program where loans for energy systems are tied to the property, with the local government placing a lien and levying special assessments to amortize the loan. In so doing, people can get lower interest rates.

Local governments must first create a PACE program of their own. Lean and Green Michigan, a project of Michigan EIBC member Levin Energy Partners, provides local governments with the ability to establish a PACE financing program without having to spend public dollars on capital or staff costs. Instead, Lean and Green Michigan provides the access to the capital and the staff necessary. Local governments can create a PACE program under Lean and Green Michigan by simply passing a resolution. Currently, there are 21 municipalities in the Lean and Green Michigan program, with Bloomfield Township recently joining.

The Michigan Agency for Energy just recently upgraded its new offices with a PACE financed project – the first state energy agency in the country to do so. Improvements include a 20-kilowatt solar array, electric vehicle charging stations, occupancy light sensors and upgrades to LED lights. The improvements Michigan Agency for Energy are expected to save taxpayers $800,000 over the next 20 years.

With the market for more aggressive energy projects, PACE financing will hopefully start to play a larger role in providing the access to capital necessary.


New/Renewing Members

Johnson Controls 

Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in more than 150 countries.  Our 130,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and seating components and systems for automobiles.

Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through our growth strategies and by increasing market share, we are committed to delivering value to shareholders and making our customers successful.

In 2015, Corporate Responsibility Magazine recognized Johnson Controls as the #14 company in its annual “100 Best Corporate Citizens” list.


Catalyst Partners

Catalyst Partners is comprised of a multi-dimensional consortium of knowledge leaders with licensures in science, engineering, architecture, and interiors who are committed to high-performance and restorative design protocols. They collaborate with a client roster of building owners, developers, contactors and architects on projects of all sizes that are  regional, national and international in scope.


Michigan Energy News

Wolverine Power Cooperative has signed a power purchase agreement with Exelon for a 153 MW wind project in Sanilac County, with commercial operation slated for December 2016.

The Lansing State Journal has an op-ed from Gary Wolfram, economics professor at Hillsdale College, about the importance of aligning ratepayer interests with those of the utilities through smart standards.

The Detroit News has an opinion piece from Ariana Gonzalez of the Natural Resources Defense Council about the negative ramifications in Ohio caused by not expanding their renewable and efficiency standards.

The Lansing State Journal also has an op-ed from Barb Tornholm on how repealing renewable standards will have a negative impact on ratepayers.

MIRS reports that Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has officially joined a lawsuit against the EPA Clean Power Plan.

UP Matters has a piece on the USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), giving 1100 loans and grants to farms for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, including $1.9 million coming to the UP.


National Energy News

A new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts suggests that natural gas and renewable energy projects are likely to continue to make up the vast majority of new large-scale generation projects, with distributed energy installations making up a growing percentage of total generation as the grid continues to modernize.

Experts are now looking to December for an extension on the federal Production Tax Credit.

Greentech Media has a piece on Billionaire Tom Steyer calling for US presidential candidates to support energy policies that will include a 50 percent mix of renewables by 2030.

CleanTechnica has a piece on how 60 percent of new renewable capacity comes from large scale projects.

Utility Dive has a story on Michigan EIBC member Opower’s behavioral demand response program.

Utility Dive also has a story on a newly formed, bipartisan battery storage caucus in Congress.

Utility Dive also has a feature on the difficulties of moving to the “Utility of the Future.”

Michigan Energy Events
The Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association is hosting is 2nd Annual Banquet on Wednesday, November 4. More information is available here.

National Energy Events 
The 8th Annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum-West (REFF-WEST) will take place in San Francisco on November 5-6.

Additional Resources 
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.