Newsletter: Over 200 at Michigan EIBC Annual Member Meeting; Legislative Action on Solar Tax Bills and NEM Discussion

This newsletter was originally published on May 5, 2018.

Over 200 Attend Annual Member Meeting for Talks on Siting, Grid Modernization, Storage, and More

On April 30, Michigan EIBC hosted its 6thAnnual Member Meeting at the Radisson Hotel in Lansing. The full-day event, attended by over 200 members, industry leaders, and regulators, featured talks on topics ranging from siting to grids, storage to mobility, and more.

The event started with a conversation on grid modernization, between MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg, Consumers Energy Senior VP Brandon Hofmeister, and Michigan EIBC president Liesl Clark. The conversation focused opportunities for innovation from upgrading Michigan’s grid and the need for transparency and stakeholder engagement in developing the grid of the future.

Up next were two breakout sessions: Dr. Sarah Mills from the University of Michigan moderated a panel on renewable energy siting with Steve Caminati of Michigan EIBC member company Apex Clean Energy, Dave Shiflett of Michigan EIBC member company Geronimo Energy, Franny Yuhas of Michigan EIBC member company TurningPoint Energy, and Matt Wagner of DTE Energy. The conversation centered around ways to ensure community members are aware of and experiencing the benefits of renewables in their communities. At the same time, Tom Stanton of the National Regulatory Research Institute moderated a panel on microgrids, nanogrids, and power electronics with Michigan EIBC member company Sesame Solar’s Lauren Flanagan, Douglas Jester of Michigan EIBC member company 5 Lakes Energy, and Michigan EIBC board member Kevin O’Connell of member company Michigan CAT.

Attendees convened for a conversation on the solar market featuring Matt McGovern, CEO and co-founder of Michigan EIBC member company Cypress Creek Renewables. “The global energy transition is playing out today in Michigan,” McGovern said. “Solar is now cost competitive with any other source of power, including natural gas. Our hope is that solar will expand in the state, leading to a cleaner energy mix, lower electricity prices and more well-paying jobs in the industry.”

The group broke for lunch and networking before convening for another slate of breakout sessions. MPSC Commissioner Norm Saari moderated a panel on the convergence of vehicle electrification and advanced mobility featuring Sarah Barbo of Consumers Energy, Britta Gross of General Motors, and Glenn Stevens of MICHauto. A major theme of the conversation was the importance of customer education to motivate EV adoption. At the same time, David Gard of Michigan EIBC members 5 Lakes Energy and MEECA, moderated a panel on “demand destruction” with Michigan EIBC board member Carla Walker-Miller of member company Walker-Miller Energy Services, Kyle Peczynski of Michigan EIBC member company Petros Partners, and Alex Lopez of Michigan EIBC member company Oracle. Walker-Miller in particular put the conversation in the context of community development, saying “if you can serve entities who are hard to reach, you can serve everyone by osmosis.”

After another networking break, attendees had the opportunity to choose between the final set of breakout sessions: Dan Scripps of Energy Foundation moderated a panel on demand for advanced energy with Sam Hogg of Michigan EIBC member company Spartan Renewables, Michelle Redfield of Michigan EIBC member company Schneider Electric, Dr. Adam Simon of the University of Michigan and Rob Threlkeld of General Motors. The speakers described the increasing push from corporations, municipalities, and universities to purchase renewable energy to satisfy customer demands and acquire stable, low-cost energy. At the same time, MPSC Commissioner Rachael Eubanks moderated a panel on commercial and residential energy storage with Mia Adams of MISO, Ray Hohenstein of Michigan EIBC member company Fluence, and Himanshu Sudan of Michigan EIBC member company eCAMION as speakers. The conversation centered around grid reliability, IRP reform and rates, battery technologies, and electric vehicle batteries.

The day ended with a media panel moderated by Dykema’s Dave Palsrok on what the 2018 election could mean for energy policy. The panel featured as speakers Andy Balaskovitz of Midwest Energy News, Zach Gorchow of Gongwer, Emily Lawler of MLive, and Kyle Melinn of MIRS.


Legislative Update: Net Metering and Residential Rooftop Solar Taxation

On Tuesday, Michigan EIBC president Liesl Clark testified before the House Energy Committee on a set of bills introduced by Representative Yousef Rabhi to reinstate net metering following an MPSC decision last week to replace it with distributed generation tariffs.

“Michigan EIBC supports the Rep Rabhi bills that remove the confusing and complicated distributed generation tariff and revert to the ten-year-old net metering program,” said Clark. “The current approach creates a confusing patchwork for Michigan’s rooftop solar installers and customers. This industry has steadily created jobs and provided a way for Michiganders to reduce their electricity bills.”

Also this week, the House Tax Policy Committee voted in favor of Representative Tom Barrett’s residential rooftop solar taxation bills. The bill package would reinstate a tax exemption for “alternative energy personal property” that was in place for 10 years under the Michigan Next Energy Authority Act of 2002. The bill package would clear up ongoing confusion resulting from different approaches to rooftop solar taxation by tax assessors.

“Michigan’s taxation structure lacks clarity and is a barrier to solar deployment,” said Michigan EIBC president Liesl Clark. “Generally, if you think about it, it’s weird: You don’t tax my generator, why tax my solar panels? This creates a level playing field across the state.”

Both Representative Barrett and Liesl Clark have testified multiple times in support of the legislation.


EIBC Has A New Look

At the 6thAnnual Member Meeting on April 30, Michigan EIBC unveiled a new logo and website. The website has exciting features – members can log in to edit their companies’ profiles, renew their membership, and access exclusive member-only news. Check out the website here!


Renewing Members:

Black & Veatch is a leading engineering, consulting and construction company. We work in the following major markets: Power, Water, Data Centers, Governments, Mining, Oil & Gas, Smart Cities, Telecommunications, Banking & Finance. The Black & Veatch Ann Arbor Regional Office specializes in the following service areas: Combustion Turbine Combined Cycle Plants, Combustion Turbine Simple Cycle Plants, Fossil Fueled Power Plants (Pulverized Coal and Fluidized Bed Combustion), Power Plant Services – New Generation and Upgrades, Facilities Startup and Commissioning, Air Quality Control Systems – New and Upgrades, Performance Monitoring, Wind, Solar, Biomass, and Power Delivery through Substations & Transmission Lines.


Detroit Stoker Company is a leading supplier of combustion systems for the production of steam used in heating, industrial processing, and electric power generation around the world. In addition to providing dependable power, the company has taken a leadership role in the development of environmentally responsible systems that make power generating plants good neighbors in their communities. Detroit Stoker also leads the way in unlocking the value of renewable energy sources. Recycling and reduction of industrial and municipal solid waste as well as renewable fuels are both cost-effective and environmentally-friendly. Every day, more than 140,000 tons of biomass and refuse are burned on Detroit systems, the largest of which produces more than 100 MW. The company’s combustion systems generate power from diverse waste products such as bark, sugar cane, sawdust, sunflower hulls and poultry litter. These otherwise non-recyclable materials produce insignificant levels of acid gas compared to the fossil fuels they replace and are considered CO2-neutral because the carbon dioxide produced is used in the growth cycle of renewable fuel sources. As the costs of conventional fuels rise, renewable fuels provide a sensible alternative.


Geronimo Energy is a leading independent North American renewable energy development company based in Minneapolis, MN. Geronimo provides renewable electric energy development solutions for utilities, Independent Power Producers (IPPs), corporations and public entities looking to harness renewable energy for business growth. With deep and comprehensive expertise in wind and solar energy development, Geronimo’s resume boasts over 1,600 MW of U.S. wind and solar energy projects that are either operational or under construction. Geronimo’s near-term development pipeline has an aggregate nameplate capacity exceeding 2,000 megawatts of additional clean energy.


Michigan Energy Stories

  • Citizens have filed a recall petition for Juniata Township Trustee Elaine Schunn because of her wind farm easement with Tuscola Wind III.
  • Bills have been introduced to restore net metering for residential rooftop solar customers.
  • The MPSC released an assessment saying Michigan energy laws secure affordable rates and adaptable, reliable system after one year.
  • An underwater vehicle inspected a transmission cable that was damaged by an anchor strike in the Straits of Mackinac. Crews are developing a plan to cap the cables in the Straits of Mackinac that were severed this month by a passing ship.
  • Michigan utilities push back against clean energy initiatives set to go to voters in the fall.

Michigan Energy Leaders

  • Detroit’s 2030 District helps owners and managers of small buildings cut their energy use in half.
  • MSU was recognized for its usage of renewable energy.
  • GM is almost 1/5 of the way to its 100% renewable energy goal.


National Energy Stories

  • More than 120 groups are urging Congress to oppose legislation to weaken protections for national parks and monuments that have been targeted by the Trump administration for new fossil fuel development.
  • The PJM Interconnection will study the risks of relying too heavily on a single energy source.
  • AEP plans to invest $12.8 billion in transmission and distribution and $1.7 billion in renewable energy by 2020.
  • Critics warn that FirstEnergy’s attempts to limit competition for its coal and nuclear plants would come at the expense of the ratepayers.
  • The founding editor of ClimateProgress writes that “the global shift toward cheaper, cleaner energy is unstoppable.”
  • According to Forbes, theproduction cost of renewables is now lower than fossil fuels.

National Energy Leaders


Michigan Energy Events

DTE Energy invites you to a Solar Celebration on May 12 at the DTE Lapeer Solar Park from noon to 4pm. No registration is required.

NextEnergy invites you to the Lites Summit in Detroit on Tuesday, May 15. The event includes an optional off-site tour with transportation to the IBEW Local 58 Zero Net Energy Center in Corktown. Register here.

You’re invited to the 2018 Michigan Commercial & Industrial Energy Conference – Lower Peninsula, on May 17 in Battle Creek. The event, hosted by Michigan EIBC member company CLEAResult, provides the opportunity for business customers, contractors and industry experts to network and learn from one another. Register here.

You’re invited to the U.P. Energy Summit on May 23 at Northern Michigan University. Register here.

Michigan EIBC will host a Michigan Energy Forum on energy efficiency and lighting on June 11 in Detroit. Stay tuned for details!

On July 17-19, PlugVolt will be hosting its next Battery Seminar in Plymouth, Michigan (USA), featuring an entire day of in-depth training by EnerDelon Lithium Ion technology, alongside complementary industry updates by automotive and grid storage OEMs, global battery manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers. Attendees also get a tour of Intertek’s Battery Testing Center. Register here.

National Energy Events   

AWEA invites you to the Powering Forward conference May 7-10 in Chicago, Illinois. The conference, entitled WINDPOWER, will create an opportunity for the industry comes together to plan for the future and keep this success story growing. Register here.

EUCI invites you to “Blockchain Technology for the Energy Sector” May 8-9 in Houston, Texas. Register here.

EUCI invites you to the 2018 Residential Demand Charges Conference, May15-16 in Nashville, Tennessee. Register here.

You’re invited to the 3rd Annual Grid Modernization ForumMay 23-24 in Chicago. This event examines the latest business strategies and technology advances for implementing the distributed, intelligent, and renewables-centric grid of the future. Learn more and register here. Use code MWEN for 20% off.

EUCI invites you to the Leadership Conference for Women in Energy 2018 on June 4-5 in St. Louis, Missouri. Register here.

Join ACI in San Francisco on June 6-7 for Grid-Scale Storage 2018 and learn through different panel discussions, site tours, workshops, and presentations on the significant market opportunities for energy storage. Register here.

EUCI invites you to the 2018 Western Transmission Summit: From Expansion to Modernization – Addressing the Changing Landscape of Transmission Planning and Investment. This event will be June 11-12in Denver, Colorado. Register here.

EUCI invites you to the Electric Utilities 101 event on June 12-13, in St. Louis, Missouri. Register here.

EUCI invites you to a conference on the fundamentals of overhead distribution systems on June 14-15in Baltimore, Maryland. Register here.

You’re invited to present, advertise, exhibit, or sponsor at The Energy Fair, June 15-17 in Custer, Wisconsin. Learn more and register here.

You’re invited to the EV Roadmap 11June 19-20 in Portland, Oregon. Register here.

You’re invited to the Grid Evolution Summit hosted by Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), in Washington, D.C., July 9-12Register here.

EUCI invites you to the Smart Cities 2018 Conference on August 13-14in Columbus, Ohio. Register here.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) invite you to Solar Power International, September 24-27, in Anaheim, California. Registration opens in spring of 2018 here.


Announcements and Opportunities

The Michigan Energy Office announced the release of request for proposals for Michigan municipalities, school districts, and hospital systems to get free energy management consulting services. Interested parties should apply by emailing Allison Harris by May 18.

The Michigan to Montana (I-94) Alternative Fuels Corridor project is currently seeking project partners. Organizations that are interested in being considered for receiving federal funds should prepare a short (i.e. approximately one to three page) project description that includes the project details, projected fuel use, projected project budget (including both requested federal funds and organization supplied matching funds), and estimated timeline for completing the project. Submit your project description to The deadline to submit a proposal is May 31, with partner selections starting in June 2018.

The Michigan Energy Office (MEO) today said communities have until May 31 to take the Michigan Green Communities (MGC) Challenge, a contest that measures communities’ progress toward meeting their current and future energy needs.

The EPA has announced the availability of $40 Million in Diesel Emission Reduction Program (DERA) funds. The deadline to apply is June 12. You can apply here.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced $60 Million in Advanced Transportation Technologies grants, including Smart Mobility and Smart Cities technologies, and projects that bring data together from different systems, such as integrated corridor management and real-time traveler information. The deadline for applications is June 18. Learn about eligibility criteria here.