Newsletter: Michigan Energy Innovators Gala Celebrates Industry Leaders

This newsletter was originally published on November 11, 2015.

Michigan EIBC Holds Third Annual Energy Innovators Gala

The Michigan EIBC held its third annual “Michigan Energy Innovators Gala,” an annual event to recognize leaders in the state’s advanced energy industry. Guests were treated to a keynote address from Tesla Motors Vice President James Chen, remarks from Michigan Agency for Energy Director Valerie Brader and a warm welcome from Michigan EIBC President Liesl Clark and Board Chair Lauren Bigelow.

The event recognized five companies and two individuals for their contributions to growing Michigan’s clean energy economy. Michigan EIBC gave the following awards:

“The growth of Michigan’s clean energy sector cannot be overstated,” said Liesl Eichler Clark, president of the Michigan EIBC.  “Across the public and private sectors Michigan is benefitting from investment and leadership that has helped to grow clean energy into a $7.2 billion sector in the Michigan economy, a level that was not thought possible a decade ago.”


No Vote Anticipated on House Energy Package in November

Last week, the Michigan House Energy Policy committee approved a revised version of the energy legislation introduced by Chairman Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton) that makes a number of significant changes to Michigan’s energy policy landscape. This week, the governor announced his support of the energy package.

With this being the first major energy package to make its way out of committee, anticipation of a full floor vote has been growing. As the Legislature will not have session during the last two weeks of November, no vote on the package is expected until at least the first week of December.

Please take a moment and contact your state representative and express that, while the revised bills a step forward, the legislation leaves much to be improved. We’ll also be announcing additional advocacy opportunities for Michigan EIBC member companies. Want to make sure your company has a seat at the table during this critical time? Join Michigan EIBC today!


New/Renewing Members

Greater Gratiot Development, Inc.

Greater Gratiot Development, Inc. (GGD) is a private nonprofit development company now in its 37th year of operation. As a Michigan EIBC member, GGD is seeking to expand its knowledge and work with companies across the energy spectrum. We have assisted companies working in wind, solar, bio, as well as oil and gas.

GGD provides a wide range of development services for private industry on behalf of Gratiot County and all the municipal units. GGD administers the Economic Development Corporation, the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, the Hospital Finance Authority and partners with State and Federal agencies to assure the availability of public and private services to companies residing or considering locating in Gratiot County. GGD may show a company a variety of sites options either as a stand-alone or in one of 5 Michigan Certified Business Parks.  


Michigan Energy News

Nevada-based data storage firm Switch is reportedly close to purchasing the Steelcase “pyramid building” in Gaines Township, outside of Grand Rapids. The firm plans to create 1000 jobs and host 1700 business travelers each day. What’s notable from an energy perspective is that Switch has been an active company is seeking to power its Nevada facilities with renewables, and earlier this year became the first large company in recent years to attempt to leave regulated service. After that move was rejected, it struck a deal with its utility – Nevada Power – to get 100% of its energy from renewable sources, including the development of a new 100MW solar array, called Switch Station, that is being developed by First Solar and will come online next year.

Mlive has a story on how the two largest investor owned utilities contributed half a million dollars in campaign contributions to energy committee members in the House and Senate, $800,000 in TV ads and $326,465 in lobbying

Mlive has a piece on how the proposed renewable energy-energy efficiency plan within the revised Nesbitt package would likely only result in a 5 percent increase in renewable generation.

Utility Dive has a story about the new proposed renewable energy “goal” in the HB 4297.

Mlive also has a piece on Governor Snyder speaking in Muskegon about the closure of the BC Cobb coal plant, reaffirming his vision for Michigan’s energy future.

Midwest Energy News has a piece on Michigan’s slower start to setting up community solar arrays, and recent developments in the state as well.

Detroit News as an opinion piece on the changes to electric choice that are in the revised Nesbitt package.

The Lansing State Journal has an opinion piece from Consumer’s Energy Vice President David Mengebier, on their support for utility choice regulation within the Nesbitt and Nofs packages. has a story about the divide between Attorney General Bill Schuette and Governor Rick Snyder on the Clean Power Plan.

Detroit News has a story about Independence USA, a Michael Bloomberg backed PAC, has started airing TV ads against Schuette’s legal actions against the Clean Power Plan.

Detroit News has a general story about the energy debate in Lansing.


National Energy News

Michigan is not the only state where there’s internal divide over the Clean Power Plan, E&E News reports.

The Desert Sun has a piece on a new desert renewable energy plan for California. The sweeping plan will encourage energy companies to build solar, wind and geothermal power plants on federally managed land.

The Washington Post has a story on Washington State is considering putting the first carbon-tax on the ballot.

Forbes has a piece on The International Energy Agency releasing their World Energy Outlook 2015 and how renewables are at the top of the list.

FuelFix has a story on SunEdison cutting its costs as it seeks profitability.

UtilityDive has a piece on a Vermont study on the feasibility of using solar-storage for affordable housing projects.

UtilityDive also has a piece on Swiss researchers working on a cheaper alternative to lithium-ion energy storage.


Michigan Energy Events

Save the Date: Michigan EIBC is partnering with a number of other organizations for a Corporate Pathways to Renewable Energy conference on Monday, January 25, 2016 in Detroit. Additional details and speakers will be released soon.


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.