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This newsletter was originally published on June 21, 2016.
Michigan Legislature out for the Summer, but Energy Package Still in the News
The Michigan Legislature adjourned for the summer two weeks ago without passing a package rewriting Michigan’s energy laws. The Senate Energy and Technology Committee reported out SB 437 and 438 before Memorial Day, bills that would repeal the state’s renewable portfolio standard, phase out the energy optimization standard, and add a new ‘grid usage charge’ for net metering users.
Read Michigan EIBC President Liesl Clark’s blog post on session coming to a close without movement here. Much progress has been made thus far to improve these bills and provide greater market certainty for advanced energy companies. But there is more to be done.
Even though the legislature isn’t meeting in Lansing, the legislation is still in the news. In Crain’s, a story describes a version of the bill that has been circulating in draft form. That version retains some of the recent improvements and removes entirely the Integrated Resource Planning process while adding stronger planning language to the Certificate of Necessity.
In addition, Mlive ran a story noting that Michigan’s largest utilities do not oppose an increase in the renewable portfolio standard, one of the issues that remains unresolved in the debate over the legislation.
“If the legislature decided that they wanted to put a renewable energy mandate in the legislation, then we’d be ok with that,” said David Mengebier, senior vice president of governmental and public affairs for Consumers Energy.
Representative Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton), Senator Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek) and Senator John Proos (R-St. Joseph) have tried to move the House and Senate energy plans, respectively. They have been unable to get a majority of their caucus on board yet, due to the changes to retail open access. Representative Gary Glenn (R-Midland) one of the most vocal proponents of retail open access, told Inside Michigan Politics that the goal now is to “run out the clock.” The divide in the caucus has even had an effect on the House Republican leadership race.
With the continuing stalemate, it appears that any proposal will need bipartisan support.With utilities stating they don’t oppose a standard, could a bipartisan deal be forged to spur more renewable energy development?
Michigan EIBC Sends Candidate Questionnaire
In an attempt to engage candidates for the state legislature, Michigan EIBC created and sent out a candidate questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of 11 questions on the state’s renewable portfolio standard, voluntary pricing for renewable energy, the 50-50 market split, the energy optimization standard, combined heat and power, electric and connected vehicles and innovation.
The questionnaire was sent to candidates running in all of Michigan’s 110 state house district and the 1 senate district currently undergoing a special election. Michigan EIBC will share its results with member businesses to allow them to inform them about local election. Candidates have until Friday, June 24 to respond. If you know of any candidates for state house or state senate that should fill out our questionnaire, have them email email@example.com
Michigan Energy News
The legislative energy debate appears to be affecting the House Republican leadership race, with Rep. Tom Leonard possibly leaning more towards retail open access and Rep. Rob VerHuelen more supportive of working with the utilities, Gongwer News reports.
Michigan EIBC members presented plans to the Muskegon County Board of Public Works for projects on the wastewater treatment plant, according to MLive.
Michigan Catholic leaders like Ed Rivet of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum and Fr. Charles Morris of Michigan Interfaith Power and Light have called for increased advanced energy usage, citing the papal encyclical last year, North American Wind Power reports.
The Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator announced that the region should expect a 2.7 GW surplus for 2017, with lower Michigan now having a shortage of .3 GW of its reserve ratio, Gongwer reports.
The Supreme Court rejected a request for a stay from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and 22 other state attorneys general to a federal rule regulating mercury air pollution from coal- and oil-fired power plants, Mlive reports.
Researchers from Michigan Technological University suggest that state changes to net metering may drive more – especially in the Upper Peninsula – do invest in off-grid energy systems, Midwest Energy News reports.
National Energy News
The White House announced new federal and private-sector actions on increasing renewables and energy storage.
The costs of advanced energy are going to be falling even more rapidly over the next decade, Bloomberg reports.
Tech firm Apple has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to allow it to sell some of its excess energy into wholesale energy markets.
A $32.1 billion spending bill for the Interior Department and environment programs is making its way to the floor of the House, with a rider to prohibit the EPA’s continuation of the Clean Power Plan, the Hill reports.
Kenneth Kramer wrote a blog post for ACORE, summarizing different community solar models.
Siemens and Gamesa Corp. have decided to merge their wind turbine manufacturing businesses to become the largest maker of turbines in the world, Bloomberg reports.
The Maryland Public Service Commission approved a set of regulations to facilitate community solar projects for low and moderate-income groups, Utility Dive reports.
Michigan Energy Events
Lean and Green Michigan is hosting a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Contractor Training on Thursday, June 23 at the Keith Center Lecture Hall at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit. For more information, contact Kyle Peczynski of Petros PACE Financing LLC at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-718-8404.
The Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association is hosting the Michigan Energy Fair on June 24-25 at the Ingham County Fairgrounds in Mason. This year’s Fair also boasts the Great Lakes Emergency Preparedness Expo and the Sustainable Living Summit 2016.
The 2016 Michigan Energy Providers Conference will take place on July 27-29 at Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa in Thompsonville. Michigan EIBC is a Gold sponsor for this event.
ACORE’s 13th Annual Renewable Energy Finance Form will be held from June 21-22 in New York.
Solar Power International is scheduled for September 12-15 in Las Vegas.
The Battery Show, collocated with the Critical Power Expo and Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo, will be held in Novi from September 13-15.
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.
SolarPermit.org 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.