Newsletter: Report: Market Forces Driving Energy Transition With No Threat to Reliability

This newsletter was originally published on June 23, 2017.

AEE/AWEA report shows market forces driving coal and nuclear closures, with no threat to grid reliability

A report released this week by Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) finds that market forces – primarily low-cost natural gas and flat demand for electricity – are the forces driving some coal and nuclear plant to retire, and not state and federal policies supporting renewable energy development. The report further concludes that the changing electricity resource mix poses no threat to the reliability of the nation’s power system.

The report addresses a number of the issues raised two months ago by Energy Secretary Rick Perry about the implications of retiring so-called “baseload power” plants. The report, which was conducted by the Analysis Group, argues that the term “baseload resources” is outdated and no longer reflects the realities of today’s electric system, which depends upon a wide variety of generation and demand-side resources to ensure essential reliability. The report further argues that many advanced energy technologies can and do provide reliability benefits by increasing the diversity of the system, and that gas-fired resources and renewable capacity together provide both around-the-clock power and the flexibility to cycle and ramp as needed to meet and sustain bulk power system reliability objectives.

The report complements additional resources developed by AEE, AWEA, and other advanced energy business organizations. Last month, AEE, AWEA, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) submitted a series of documents to inform the DOE study, concluding that “the U.S. electric power system is more diverse in its energy sources than ever before, and due to the flexible way these resources are now managed, becoming more reliable and resilient as a result.”

Michigan Energy News:

News from Washington:

National Technology and Market News:

National Solar News:

National Wind News:

National Fossil Fuel News:

National Grid and Efficiency News:

  • South Dakota regulators approved plans by Xcel Energy to increase rates for efficiency projects.
  • Utility executives convening at an annual conference say they hope a Department of Energy grid study will reaffirm that “changes to the U.S. power mix do not threaten reliability.”
  • Obama-era Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz launched a new research nonprofit, which will release a report about America’s electricity grid.

National Vehicle and Mobility News:

Michigan Energy Events:
Join Groundwork Center and the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association at Northwestern Michigan College June 23-25 in Traverse City for a conference designed to mobilize clean energy investments in homes, businesses, and communities. The conference includes a free film screening, panel discussions, keynote speakers, and a fair. For more information, click here.

The 2017 CHP Conference is taking place Wednesday, June 28 in Grand Rapids. This year’s conference is focused on the food processing, health care, and higher education sectors, and includes a primer on CHP technology and its applications; sector-specific case studies, showing how companies and institutions save money on energy costs by installing CHP systems; information on available technical resources and financing options; and a lunchtime update on the Michigan CHP Roadmap currently being developed for the Michigan Energy Office. Registration for this event has closed.

The Energy Alliance Group of Michigan is hosting a program entitled “PACE in West Michigan – Making Building Efficiency Upgrades Affordable” on July 12 in Grand Rapids. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing is now available in the City of Wyoming, and is under consideration in the cities of Grand Rapids, Walker, Grandville, East Grand Rapids and Kentwood. This event will provide information detailing how to use this new financing option for upgrading the energy efficiency of commercial, industrial, multi-family and non-profit buildings. For more information or to RSVP, click here.

The 2017 PlugVolt Battery Seminar is scheduled for July 18-20 in Ann Arbor. Industry leaders, policy decision-makers, and key stakeholders from more than 80 companies are expected to gather at the PlugVolt Battery Seminar to learn more about the challengers and opportunities for energy storage systems in grid/utility storage and automotive applications. Register here.

The MPSC will be holding its first Performance Based Regulation (PBR) stakeholders discussion meeting on July 24th from 2:00-5:00 pm at the Lake Michigan Hearing room at the MPSC office at 7109 W. Saginaw, Lansing, MI 48917.  Section 6u of PA 341 directs the Commission to complete a study of PBR and submit it to the Governor and Legislators by April 20, 2018.  The legislative language references collaboration with stakeholders for this study.  The MPSC is requesting input from Michigan utilities as well as other interested parties regarding PBR. Please RSVP to

The MPSC will host a technical conference on the future of electric vehicle charging on August 9 at the public service commission office, 7109 W. Saginaw Highway, Lansing. Subject matter experts interested in participating in a panel are asked to submit a letter of interest, resume and summary of expertise to Al Freeman at the commission offices or by e-mail to

The 1st Annual Sustainable Detroit Forum is scheduled for October 25. The event will consist of interactive learning, keynotes, and short presentations. Acoustic musicians will perform during breaks. Proposals for presentations will be accepted for Sustainable ProjectsPersonal Green Stories, and Lessons Learned/Greatest Failures. Proposals are due July 14.

National Energy Events:
Greentech Media’s Grid Edge World Forum 2017 will be held in San Jose, CA on June 27-29. As the only conference exclusively focused on emerging distributed energy system, this event highlights the trends, opportunities, and innovation happening at the grid edge.

Additional Resources:
A web site from the Michigan Public Service Commission provides details on the laws, which took effect on April 20. For more information, or to sign up for notifications, visit

Google’s free online tool, Project Sunroof, now shows which homes have already installed rooftop solar panels.

The Michigan Energy Office is offering rebates to eligible applicants to upgrade existing public streetlights with LED lights through the Exterior LED Lighting Rebate Program. The purpose of this program is to encourage energy waste reduction and promote community vitality by accelerating the transition to energy efficient LED lighting. MEO will match utility rebates up to $0.35/W reduced. Applicants with no utility rebate will be awarded at a rate of $0.35/W reduced. For more information or to apply, click here.

Michigan EIBC member company 5 Lakes Energy has a new blog. Read the first post here.