Newsletter: Michigan Senate Energy and Technology Committee to Meet This Week

This newsletter was originally published on May 23, 2016.

Michigan Senate Energy and Technology Committee to Meet This Week

The Senate Energy and Technology Committee has posted to meet twice this week, at 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday.  The committee will hear SB 437 and 438, legislation that would rewrite Michigan’s energy laws. The amendments make a number of changes to the bills as introduced, including elements involving the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, creating a new integrated resource planning (IRP) process, changing the retail open access provisions, and additional changes to Michigan’s net metering laws.

After two weeks of testimony, including testimony from Michigan EIBC member businesses, Senate Energy and Technology Committee Chair Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek), the committee has not met since. It is still unknown if the legislation will finally be moved out of committee, though the chair, Senator Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek) believes he has enough votes to do so. It has also yet to be seen if there will be any further significant changes to the bills since those made last month.

Some of the current changes from the original draft include:

  • Repealing the energy optimization (EO) program for electric utilities effective January 1, 2019 and replacing it with a new IRP process;
  • Repealing the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and replacing it with a 30% goal for renewable energy and energy efficiency – despite acknowledgement from Governor Snyder’s office that such a goal would not add additional renewable generation;
  • Replacing the current net energy metering program with a buy all-sell all model where all energy consumed (including that generated on sight) would be purchased from the utility at retail rates, and all energy produced would be sold to the utility at the variable supply cost;
  • Makes some changes to the retail open access program, including additional costs for those who choose to purchase their electricity from an alternative electric supplier (AES);
  • Creates a new IRP process where utilities would submit plans to be reviewed by the MPSC in a contested case, and where any investments covered in the IRP would be deemed reasonable and prudent;
  • Broadens the scope and adds funding for the Utility Consumer Participation Board;
  • Amends the utility code of conduct to allow utilities greater flexibility in entering non-regulated market sectors.

While some of the changes made in the amended bills are positive, Michigan EIBC remains concerned that the legislation would repeal both the Energy Optimization and Renewable Portfolio Standards, undermine the economics of net energy metering, and reduce the ability for advanced energy firms to offer their technologies and services in the Michigan market.

For more detail and insight on this and other pending legislation, be sure to participate in Michigan EIBC’s members-only Policy Committee calls, held once a month. Contact Nicole Forward for more information or to join Michigan EIBC today!


Bills to Help Local Governments Invest in Energy Conservation To Be Signed by Governor

Governor Snyder will sign House Bills 4990 – 4994 into law this week, a legislative package intended to expand financing tools for local units of government working to cut energy use.

This legislation expands financing options for local governments to curb the energy use of their buildings, utilizing tax-exempt lease purchase agreements. Such agreements allow the interest paid to the lease provider to be tax-exempt. Local units of government will then have lower interest costs than traditional financing. Additionally, since this is a yearly lease agreement, TELPs would not be seen as new long-term debt. Allowing local units of government to use this tool will encourage more investments in energy waste reduction.

This legislative package also expands what local units of government can count as a energy conservation project. The legislation would now extend this and other tools to cover improvements in ventilation, information technology improvements associated with energy conservation and municipal utility improvements associated with energy conservation improvements.

Michigan EIBC sent a letter of support for the package, which you can read here.


New/Renewing Members

Growth Capital Network

The Growth Capital Network manages education and development programs for the innovation and entrepreneurial community. This has included the million-dollar Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition (AMIC), researcher education for Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization program (M-TRAC) and the Midwest Green Technology Entrepreneur Academy (MI-GTEA). GCN also provides analytical and evaluative services to measure the impact of entrepreneurial and innovation programs for the foundation and non-profit community.


Michigan Energy News Brief

Gongwer News Service covered a conversation between Sen. Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek) and a Battle Creek area conservative activist on facebook around Nofs’ bill that would add new requirements to retail open access providers, which several believe would significantly harm the electric choice market.

Martin Kushler of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy wrote an opinion article in Mlive on the need for data supported policy when it comes to energy efficiency programs.

Cindy Pasky of Strategic Staffing Solutions wrote an op-ed in the Detroit Free Press supporting SB 437 and 438.

A subsidiary of Renewable Energy Systems is considering building a 150 MW wind farm near Marquette, Midwest Energy News reports.


National Energy News

The DC Court of Appeals has decided that the entire circuit court will hear the case, not the previously set up three judge panel, AP reports.

The Clean Power Plan, if implemented, would reduce coal’s share of US generation to 18 percent by the year 2040, Platts reports.

The Department of Energy released the “On the Path to SunShot” reports on the DOE initiative’s goal to make solar cost competitive by 2020.

NERC released analysis that the Clean Power Plan would cut energy demand growth in half and spur future deployment of advanced energy, Utility Dive reports.

The New York Public Service Commission approved new orders that will restructure the utilities, pushing them to focus on customer value and allowing third party access, all apart of the state’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceedings. GreenTech Media has the story.

Automated vehicles are being seen as another driver towards energy efficiency, Morning Consult reports.

GreenBiz has a story on the potential around energy waste reductions within small and medium sized buildings.

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Massachusetts tested their microgrid utilizing energy storage, Energy Manager Today reports.

North American Wind Power published a feature, “Corporate PPAs – What are the Market Trends?”


Michigan Events

Michigan EIBC will be hosting its next Michigan Energy Forum on Monday, June 6, from 9:45 to 11:30 a.m., at LIFT (Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow) in Detroit. Register here.

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.

National Events
AWEA’s annual WINDPOWER event is taking place this week, May 23-26 in New Orleans.
Intersolar North America will take place July 12-14 in San Francisco.
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.

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.