Newsletter: Perry’s FERC Proposal Faces Backlash

This newsletter was originally published on October 6, 2017.

Secretary Perry’s FERC proposal would provide a massive subsidy to coal and nuclear

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to adopt new regulations to support coal and nuclear plants. These new regulations would provide a massive subsidy to the coal and nuclear industry at the expense of renewable energy. This comes after a Department of Energy grid study found that coal and nuclear were no better for the grid than renewable energy resources, and yet still argued that ample coal and nuclear resources were needed to keep the grid reliable. However, experts say there is no evidence that the U.S. grid’s reliability is in jeopardy based on coal and nuclear retirements. The issue now rests with FERC, which has initiated an expedited rulemaking process to determine whether coal and nuclear plant should receive additional compensation related to grid resilience and reliability.

National Energy Efficiency Day highlights benefits of energy waste reduction

Hundreds of businesses and other organizations across the country celebrated National Energy Efficiency Day yesterday, joining together to celebrate the success of energy waste reduction efforts in reducing energy costs and powering job creation. The energy efficiency industry employs more than 2 million people across the country, including more than 50,000 jobs in Michigan.


Michigan Senate passes anaerobic digester bill

This Wednesday, the Michigan Senate passed SB 375, a bill to expand Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing programs to include anaerobic methane digesters. This bill was introduced by Senator Darwin Booher (R-Evart) in May, following meetings with Michigan EIBC representatives who recognized the need for the bill after potential clean energy projects failed due to insufficient financing options, and Michigan EIBC member companies Michigan CAT and Petros PACE FInance, as well as Michigan EIBC President Liesl Eichler Clark, testified about the benefits of the legislation to the Senate Local Government Committee. The legislation now awaits action by the House Agriculture Committee.

Renewing Members:

Mackinaw Power is developing new renewable energy projects to provide power for the Great Lakes at competitive prices. Mackinaw Power also uses its experience within the wind industry to work with a variety of companies in Michigan to increase the supply chain for renewable energy technologies in the Midwest.
In 2003, Mackinaw Power acquired the assets of Bay Windpower, which developed the Great Lakes’ first privately developed wind power project. Mackinaw Power plans to be a catalyst for sustainable economic growth, environmental stewardship, and energy security. We are working to build sustainable communities to provide clean, affordable wind powerby harvesting the area’s wind resources.
Mackinaw Power is investing in Michigan’s future generations. We look forward to working with you to create renewable power that protects our Great Lakes, public health, and farm land.

Siemens Energy is a global technology powerhouse that has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality for more than 165 years. The company is active in more than 200 countries, focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization. One of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, Siemens is No. 1 in offshore wind turbine construction, a leading supplier of gas and steam turbines for power generation, a major provider of power transmission solutions and a pioneer in infrastructure solutions as well as automation, drive and software solutions for industry.

Tradewind Energy is one of the largest renewable energy project development companies in the U.S. With over 90 full-time employees in its Lenexa headquarters, Tradewind’s success is built up on the experience and expertise of its management team and professional staff. Our team of subject mater experts in wind resource, mapping systems, environmental studies, permitting, land acquisition, wind and solar projects across 25 states that are either operating, in-construction, or contracted, Tradewind through is subsidiaries has a 9 GW pipeline of wind and solar projects under development. Tradewind has enjoyed a successful financing partnership with Enel Green Power North America since 2006. EGP-NA is a leading owner and operator of renewable energy plants in North America with projects operating and under development in 21 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces. EGP-NA owns and operates over 100 plants with an installed capacity exceeding 2.5 GW powered by renewable hydropower, wind, geothermal, and solar energy. EGP-NA has more than doubled its total installed capacity since 2010.

Michigan Energy News:

  • Ostego County became the latest county to allow PACE financing for energy projects. Hat tip to the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum for their pivotal role in helping to get Otsego County over the finish line!
  • The Michigan Agency for Energy is urging local officials to use the time before Palisades’ 2022 closing to prepare.
  • The Michigan House of Representatives’ Affordable Energy Caucus adopted new guiding principles.
  • Renewables and storage will get more play in MISO’s 2019 Planning.
  • MISO will conduct a multi-year evaluation of how increasing levels of renewables installed affect the grid.
  • Indiana Michigan Power customers could see a 20% rate hike on their electric bills.
  • The city of Holland has officially opened a new energy park.
  • WaterFire Vineyards in Kewadin has committed to sustainability from the ground up.
  • Indiana Michigan Power is embracing solar energy and grid infrastructure upgrades.
  • Homeless residents in Detroit will have work making solar panels for Puerto Rico.
  • The Huron County Board of Commissioners remains quiet on solar development.
  • Consumers Energy plans to buy a 24 MW solar project near Lansing that will provide energy to the Board of Water and Light.
  • DTE Energy will offer free tours of a new solar array project in Lapeer.
  • Officials in Ann Arbor voted to extend a moratorium on ground-mounted solar arrays in front yards and parking areas for up to 180 days.
  • A wind turbine manufacturer says the turbine that broke this week was an isolated event.
  • MSU compiled lessons learned after nine years of wind development in Michigan.
  • Holland unveiled a new 145 MW combined-cycle natural gas plant as part of its new Energy Park.
  • Ford plans to cut costs by $14 billion and “shift capital investment away from sedans and internal combustion engines to develop more trucks and electric and hybrid cars.” The company is setting up a new electric-vehicle team to increase the number of fully electric vehicles it has in development.
  • General Motors plans to introduce at least 20 new all-electric vehicles by 2023, and two new models within the next 18 months.

News from Washington:

  • The oil and natural gas industry showed little interest in offshore drilling in new areas that the Trump administration has offered to open up.
  • The Trump administration is expected to issue a scaled back version of the Clean Power Plan within the next two weeks.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency is considering major cuts to its Renewable Fuel Standard program.
  • The EPA’s Office of Policy held the first meeting of its “Smart Sectors” program. The initiative stems from the Trump administration’s goal of ending “job-killing regulations” as the EPA moves away from Obama-era environmental regulation.
  • President Trump’s nominee to the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority, which is the nation’s largest public utility, is still being paid by a coal company that sells to the utility.

Cities and Communities Leading in Advanced Energy:

National Grid and Efficiency News:

National Solar News:

  • Solar and trade groups warn that prices of solar panels will rise if President Trump imposes tariffs on imported solar cells. The International Trade Commission held a hearing on the proposed tariffs this week and will send recommendations to President Trump by November 13.
  • New Mexico regulators approved a Navajo community’s proposal to connect homes without electricity to the internet using solar power.
  • Tampa Electric plans to add 6 million solar panels throughout west central Florida over the next four years, producing enough electricity to power more than 100,000 homes.
  • An Illinois electric cooperative will begin offering a community solar program to members.
  • A 22,000-panel community solar project in central Nebraska is now available for participants.
  • Indiana-based Hoosier Energy has nearly completed a $25 million project to build 10 solar arrays across its service territory.
  • Officials in a western Minnesota town approved plans for a 1 MW community solar project.
  • Recent hurricanes are driving interest in prefabricated homes equipped for solar power in the Florida Keys and U.S. Virgin Islands.

National Wind News:

  • MidAmerican Energy in Iowa is in the process of “repowering” 1,000 MW of wind generation in an effort to make its turbines more efficient and productive.
  • Clean energy groups urge Wisconsin regulators to approve a 66 MW wind project in Iowa proposed by Madison Gas & Electric.
  • New York proposes four new sites for wind energy projects in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Alliant Energy announces plans to start construction on a 300-MW wind farm in northwest Iowa.

National Bioenergy News:

  • According to University of Georgia researchers, the government must provide incentives similar to the ones that solar and wind receive if the U.S. wants to begin replacing coal with wood pellets at power plants.
  • Xcel Energy’s plan to close two biomass plants in Minnesota, which together make up half of the state’s biomass generation, could be a turning point for the industry in that region, particularly as renewable energy prices drop.

National Fossil Fuel and Nuclear News:

National Technology and Market News:

National Vehicle and Mobility News:

  • Electric vehicles make up 60% of the fastest-selling used car models in the U.S., according to reports from an automotive research company.
  • Michigan EIBC member company ChargePoint, the largest car-charging network in the U.S., introduced a “tap to pay” app for smart devices that can be used at charging stations.
  • Mazda and Toyota are joining with Denso Corporation to form a new electric vehicle company that will produce everything from small cars to SUVs.
  • Tesla started work to build the world’s largest lithium ion battery plant in less than 100 days, which could provide electricity to more than 30,000 homes.
  • California officials are considering banning the sale of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles.
  • Autonomous trucks were not included in the autonomous vehicle bill, but regulatory changes are still possible.
  • Tesla built 260 Model 3 cars from July through September, falling short of its 1,500 target for the third quarter. However, production of the electric sedan is supposed to increase to 5,000 vehicles a week by the end of the fourth quarter, according to a statement from the company.

Michigan Energy Events:
Advancing Women in Energy’s 2017 Annual Meeting is Thursday, October 12, in Novi. This event, featuring keynote speaker Linda Apsey of ITC Holdings Corp. and opening speaker Kay Furham of Heidrick & Struggles. The event is free for members, but non-members are welcome as well. For more information or to register, click here.

ARPA-E will hold a workshop on “High Efficiency Hybrid Vehicles” from October 12-13 in Southfield. The workshop will convene leading experts in hybrid electric vehicles, fuels, fuel cells, and combustion engines. These subject matter experts will identify innovative research necessary for the development of disruptive technologies that can significantly enhance the efficiency of a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) relative to a conventional vehicle or today’s HEVs. For more information, please visit the workshop page on the ARPA-E website.

The 1st Annual Sustainable Detroit Forum is scheduled for October 25. The event will consist of interactive learning, keynotes, and short presentations. Proposals for presentations will be accepted for Sustainable ProjectsPersonal Green Stories, and Lessons Learned/Greatest Failures.

NextEnergy invites you to the Autonomy & Mobility Conference on October 25 in Detroit. Autonomy & Mobility 2017 will provide an open forum for all participants to share ideas. In addition to focused sessions with leading experts, the event will culminate in a unique, interactive exchange among panelists and attendees. Register here.

The Michigan Agency for Energy’s Energy Services Coalition’s 2017 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards is scheduled for November 1 in Lansing.  Representative Beth Griffin will be the Keynote Speaker and will highlight new legislation regarding energy project financing.  Attendees will also hear from the award recipients about their Energy Savings Performance Contract experience, and lunch will be provided. Register here.

SAVE THE DATE: The 5th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala will take place on Thursday, November 9 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. This annual gala recognizes those businesses and policymakers who have done the most to grow the Michigan advanced energy industry. Tickets are on sale now, with sponsorships also available. Thank you to our Megawatt sponsor Cypress Creek Renewables and our Kilowatt Sponsor Invenergy. Please contact Nicole Forward for more information.

National Energy Events:
ACORE Finance West will take place in San Francisco on October 12. The annual conference highlights top investment opportunities and provide the latest insights on the financing of renewable energy and grid modernization efforts in leading western markets.

Curious about the future of renewable energy in the Midwest? Come to the Wind on the Wires Crystal Ball on October 12 in St. Paul, Minnesota, and see what’s in store. Register here.

EUCI’s Renewable Energy PPAs Seminar is October 16-17 in Denver, Colorado. The Renewable Energy Power Purchase Agreements seminar is designed for those in the renewable energy industry who are new to PPAs or who have worked with PPAs for a while and are ready to gain a deeper understanding of the legal impact of, and allocation of risks under, key PPA provisions. The course will begin with an introduction to the development and financing process and the role of competitive procurement (including RFP solicitations and bilateral negotiations). The instructors will review the various general contract terms found in most non-PPA project agreements that directly impact the PPA negotiations, and provide an overview of environmental and permitting matters that arise in PPA negotiations. Register here.

Join the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) at our 2017 Microgrids member meeting and technical conference on October 19 in Milwaukee, WI. Learn more and register to attend by clicking here.

Join SEIA and Smart Electric Power Alliance for Solar Power Midwest in Chicago, October 19-20. The event features multiple networking and educational opportunities with a targeted, buying audience.

Check out ARPA-E’s “High Efficiency High-Temp Modular Power” workshop, October 19-20, in Washington, D.C. The workshop will focus on the development of next generation of sub-megawatt (<1 MW) high efficiency modular electricity generation systems by taking advantage of recent advancements in process intensification, materials, and manufacturing techniques. For more information, please visit the workshop page on the ARPA-E website.

EUCI announced its event, “Fundamentals of Distributed Resource (DER) System Planning” for October 23-24 in San Francisco, California. Through presentations and panel discussions, attendees will have the opportunity at this course to consider how distributed energy resources (DER) are changing utility and power industry norms. Register here.

The 2017 U.S. Power and Renewables Summit will take place in Austin on November 7-8. The conference, hosted by Greentech Media, provides an in-depth look at how solar, wind, and related renewable energy technologies are impacting power markeys, and how this interaction is raising key questions and challenges for the industry moving forward.

The U.S. Energy Storage Summit 2017 is taking place December 12-13 in San Francisco. Now in its third year, this event brings together utilities, financiers, regulators, technology innovators, and storage practitioners for two full days of data-intensive presentations, analyst-led panel sessions with industry leaders, and extensive, high-level networking.

Mark your calendar for the 5th National Conference on Next Generation Demand Response on February 7-8, in San Diego, California. For more information, and to register, visit the event website here.

Additional Resources:
A website from the Michigan Public Service Commission provides details on updates to state energy laws. For more information, or to sign up for notifications, visit

World Resources Institute recently published an Implementation Guide for Utilities, outlining best practices in designing renewable energy projects to meet large energy customers’ needs.

Make your nominations today for the 2017 Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40. Open to nominations from all sectors involved in the Midwest’s energy transition.

The Energy Department’s Solar Energies Technology Office will award $62 million in grants for early-stage research into concentrated solar power.