Newsletter: Recap of 11th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Conference

Welcome to the weekly newsletter of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC), the business voice for advanced energy in Michigan. Here’s what’s new this week:


Thank You For Successful 11th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Conference

Thank you to all who attended the 11th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Conference on April 26 in East Lansing! Nearly 300 attendees came to the day-long annual event. 

In her keynote address, Maeve Tropf, Carbon Strategy and Sustainability Customer Engagement at Steelcase, spoke about how the company emerged from the pandemic with a climate mitigation strategy to take its reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to the next level. Grand Rapids-founded, global furniture supplier Steelcase had to rise to the challenge of figuring out how to, in the midst of the pandemic, realize its newly-adopted goal of reducing its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 50% by 2030, a goal in line with the targets from the Paris Agreement. Tropf explained how the company has worked toward that goal, including pursuing energy audits at its top-emitting facilities, designating employees at each manufacturing plant as “carbon reduction leaders,” applying an internal shadow price on carbon for capex projects in Michigan and engaging the company’s suppliers with setting their own science-based emissions reduction targets.

“Disruption forces change and change is generally uncomfortable. But forceful change also gives us the opportunity to rethink what is possible,” Tropf said in the closing moments of her address. That summed up a major theme at the conference, where across our mainstage panels and numerous breakout panels focusing on topics like corporate sustainability, building electrification, Michigan’s manufacturing future, community distributed energy, local siting for renewable energy projects and more. 

Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II also made remarks at the conference, which was an exciting surprise for attendees. “Governor Whitmer and I want to make Michigan the best place to be successful and to make a difference and have an impact in the energy space, and I think we can do that when we work together,” he said. “The state of Michigan, grounded in the city of Detroit, was thought of as the arsenal of democracy because of the way that we marshaled all of our manufacturing might, muscle and minds to be able to deal with the biggest challenge of our time in World War II. I think that we have a challenge that might be bigger than that, and we have an opportunity to create an arsenal of decarbonization. An arsenal that will align us all toward this common purpose, of not just our survival as a species, but frankly, how we can thrive.”



Legislation to Expand C-PACE Financing Returns to Lansing

This week legislation that would significantly expand the ability of commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing to serve as a catalyst for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects was introduced to the Michigan state Senate.

Sens. Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City) and Darrin Camilleri (D-Trenton) introduced SB 302 and SB 303, which would allow more energy efficiency projects to qualify for C-PACE financing. They would do that by both expanding the types of projects that are eligible and by easing the energy savings requirements in the C-PACE statute so that more projects that produce incremental energy savings can qualify.

“C-PACE has been a public-private policy success for over a decade,” Sen. McDonald Rivet said in a statement. “Together, these bills seek to build on that success by expanding opportunities for developers and owners to start new construction and upgrades in cost-effective, energy-minded ways. Increasing investment in this space leads to more projects and jobs that are wins for Michigan’s economy and environment.”

“These bills facilitate common-sense changes to allow property owners, builders and communities to better utilize the PACE project funding that’s currently available,” said Sen. Camilleri. “As we prepare for the challenges of the 21st century, it’s obvious that water conservation and environmental hazard projects should be added to the list of projects that are eligible for this funding.”

“For more than a decade, local governments across Michigan have engaged private lenders,
building owners and contractors to finance and build energy efficient projects and it’s truly a
success story,” Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman said in the statement. “With more than $210 million in energy savings projects financed so far, these bills will make it easier for businesses across Michigan to upgrade their buildings and implement advanced energy solutions. We look forward to working with the Legislature to pass these bills.”

The bills are new versions of legislation previously introduced in 2021. In an article published in Crain’s Detroit Business at the time, Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman described C-PACE as “a proven method for reducing uncertainty and getting over” the initial hump of short-term costs that sometimes prevent energy efficiency projects that can deliver much bigger long-term savings from moving forward.

C-PACE has been a big success in Michigan so far, and this legislation would help it grow on that success.


MPSC Issues Final MI Power Grid Status Report

This week the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) issued the final status report of the MI Power Grid initiative, launched by the MPSC and Gov. Whitmer in October 2019 to change Michigan’s regulations in light of the broad trends in the energy industry toward cleaner and more distributed energy. The report marks the “final conclusion” of MI Power Grid, the MPSC said.

With 386 stakeholders participating in 70 meetings, MI Power Grid led to 70 Commission orders in 16 case dockets. Michigan EIBC was an active participant in many of these proceedings.

Some of the highlights of the results from MI Power Grid include the approval of an expedited, 90-day process for reviewing utility pilot programs. Michigan EIBC and Advanced Energy United helped craft that new process and pushed the MPSC to involve more stakeholders in the development of pilots and ensure that third parties can actively propose and participate in utility pilots.

Other highlights cited by the MPSC include the adoption of updated parameters and filing requirements for integrated resource plans, or IRPs, and the launch of a Distribution System Data Access workgroup to help utilities, distributed generation contractors, EV charging infrastructure providers and other stakeholders better understand how to integrate EVs and distributed energy onto the grid.

Report Ranks Michigan Number Two for Clean Energy Investment and Jobs from IRA

report from Climate Power found that among all of the states, Michigan won the second-biggest share of clean energy investment and has created the second-biggest number of new clean energy jobs since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Climate Power calculated that 142,016 new jobs were created by clean energy projects in 41 states that were announced or advanced between Aug. 16, 2022 to March 31, 2023, totaling $242.81 billion in investment. Michigan’s share of that investment was $20.23 billion, and only New York had a bigger share. Michigan also saw 13,702 new jobs, ahead of 13,355 new jobs in New York. Kansas was the state with the most jobs, at 20,600.

“Michigan is competing with everyone to lead the future of cars, chips, and clean energy,” Gov. Whitmer said in a statement released about the report. “In the last few years, we have utilized powerful, bipartisan economic development tools and incoming federal resources to secure over $20 billion of investment and 13,000 good-paying jobs and bring critical supply chains back home.”

New Members


Detroit Voltage
Detroit Voltage is an electrical contracting firm based in Detroit, Michigan that is 100% black woman owned. Our primary goal is to provide safe, high-quality, and efficient electrical services to underserved communities in the City of Detroit. We’re also dedicated to supporting renewable energy projects and electric vehicle infrastructure as part of our commitment to reducing the carbon footprint. By working alongside our partners, we’re leading the way in promoting sustainability and environmental responsibility within our community.

Essential CMO/Marketing Monsoon, LLC
Essential CMO provides a fractional Chief Marketing Officer service to innovative renewable energy and cleantech companies to help them get critical data, ROI, and marketing performance in their marketing operations. Our purpose is to grow renewable energy businesses and forward the cause of decarbonization and electrification.

Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC
Mitsubishi Electric Trane US is a manufacturer of All-Climate heat pump technology. Systems are designed for elevated living and lower impact on the environment. Our mission is to provide personal comfort to our customers and create prosperous communities where we live and work.

Steelcase Inc.
At Steelcase, our purpose is to help people do their best work by creating places that work better. Through our family of brands, we offer a comprehensive portfolio of furniture and architectural products and services designed to help customers create workplaces that help people reach their full potential at work, wherever work happens. Our solutions are inspired by the insights gained from our human-centered research process. We are a globally integrated enterprise, headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

SunShare Community Solar
Founded in 2011, SunShare is a full-service, end-to-end developer, owner, and operator of community solar gardens. As the nation’s oldest community solar company, SunShare’s mission is to give everyone access to renewable energy solutions. We are a pioneer of community solar policy and program development, and we serve our communities by leasing or buying land from local farmers and landowners, on which we build community solar gardens. These gardens serve thousands of subscribers who can’t or don’t want to put solar panels on their roof, by allowing them to subscribe to a portion of the energy produced by the solar garden.

Renewing Member

SunStore Energy
SunStore Energy is a technical and economic advisory company specializing in solar power and energy storage development. SunStore collaborates with electricity customers, financial companies, developers, governments, utilities, land owners, EPCs, and other stakeholders to develop and execute successful projects. We work on projects across the United States and bring this expertise to best develop Michigan.

Michigan Energy News

  • Gov. Whitmer joins Michigan EIBC member FLO at its Auburn Hills production facility to announce that the all-new FLO Ultra DC fast charger will be built at that facility.
  • Gov. Whitmer, the Michigan Office of Mobility & Electrification (OFME) and the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) announce the the State of Michigan Community EV Toolkit, an online resource hub to help local governments prepare their policies and administrative functions for EV charging infrastructure and EV supply equipment, including model laws and best practices.
  • Association of Businesses Advocating for Tariff Equity (ABATE) Executive Director Rod Williamson writes in Crain’s Detroit Business about what the Michigan legislature needs to do to deal with poor reliability and high electricity rates.
  • The Detroit Free Press reports on the specific measures that DTE and Consumers Energy say they are pursuing to improve reliability as the companies try to justify upcoming rate increases.
  • Eastern Michigan University announces a 50-year partnership with CenTrio to implement “innovative and sustainable energy solutions” across the Ypsilanti campus.
  • The University of Michigan has developed an energy optimization framework for AI deep learning models that allows those models to be trained with up to 75% lower energy costs from reduced consumption. 

National Energy News

  • Virtual power plant developer Maplewell Energy and rechargeable zinc battery developer Urban Electric Power announce a partnership to provide a combined battery storage and energy management system.
  • A number of state utility regulators send a letter to PJM, the largest wholesale electricity market operator in the country, urging it to ease the process for approving certain proposed generating projects so they can replace retiring power plants.
  • Connecticut regulators approve a new performance-based regulation framework for distribution utilities.
  • The decision to stop making the Chevy Bolt leaves the Nissan Leaf, which, unlike the Bolt, would not qualify for federal tax credits, as the only sub-$30,000 EV for purchase in the U.S.
  • Advocacy groups call for Ohio regulators and policymakers to do more to confront utility corruption, as seen in the FirstEnergy scandal.

Job Board

Attention Michigan EIBC members: if you have a job announcement you would like in the newsletter, please send a paragraph describing the position and a link to apply to Matt Bandyk at Please include in the email a specific end date for the job posting.


Pivot Energy

Manager, Policy & Market Strategy. Location: Denver, Colo.

The Manager of Policy and Market Strategy (West) is at the forefront of distributed solar policy and will help guide the company’s development and advocacy strategies. Pivot operates nationwide, actively developing and owning commercial solar, community solar, small-utility and battery storage projects in more than a dozen states. We are also one of the leading low-income community solar providers. In an industry defined by regulation and legislation, it is an essential advantage to assess the impact of existing and new policies quickly and accurately, as well as to proactively shape policies where necessary. 


Michigan and National Energy Events

The Michigan Climate Action Network is holding the 2023 Michigan Climate Summit at Oakland University on June 2Register here.

On July 18-20, PlugVolt will be hosting Battery Seminar 2023 in Plymouth, Mich., featuring an entire day of in-depth technical tutorials on cutting-edge battery research presented by industry subject matter experts and world renowned professors from Top 50 U.S. Universities. The next two days will include complementary industry updates provided by speakers from Automotive and Grid Storage OEMs, major battery manufacturers and global Tier 1 system developers and suppliers. Attendees will also get an exclusive opportunity to tour INTERTEK Battery Testing Center of Excellence in Plymouth, MI (USA) firsthand, ask questions to resident experts, and enjoy some light appetizers and beverages while networking with industry peers. Register here.

Save the dates Aug. 6-9 for the Mid-America Regulatory Conference (MARC) Annual Meeting at the JW Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids.


The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to expand the weatherization assistance program utilizing bipartisan infrastructure law funding for multi-family dwellings. The five-month award begins on May 1 and ends Sept. 30, 2023, with the total available amount being $1 million dollars. Successful applicants may be awarded funding annually through at least Sept. 30, 2028, based upon funding availability and acceptable performance. For more information or to apply, visit the EGrAMS website.

Indiana Michigan Power Co. has issued its 2023 All-Source RFP. Proposals are due May 26Find the RFP documents and more information here.

Consumers Energy Company has announced it will seek competitive bids in response to a RFP from participants in the MISO Energy Market in accordance with the Company’s expansion of the Voluntary Green Pricing (“VGP”) Program. With this RFP, Consumers Energy will solicit proposals for solar and wind generation projects, separate and distinct from the ongoing Consumers Energy 2022 IRP RFP for solar generation projects. The draft RFP and associated documents are available here, with the final versions expected to be available in late May. 

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Buildings Upgrade Prize (Buildings UP) is offering more than $22 million in cash prizes and technical assistance to teams across America with winning ideas to accelerate widespread, equitable energy efficiency and building electrification upgrades. Follow Buildings UP on for all prize-related updates. Phase 1 submissions are due by July 18.