This newsletter was originally published on December 1, 2017.
As the end of the year approaches, Michigan EIBC will take a look back at what the organization and members have accomplished this year. Over the month of December, the newsletter will take you through the highlights of 2017. This week covers the first quarter.
In January, Michigan EIBC expanded the initiative approach to dig deeper into specific industry segments with increased focus on policy and market needs. Early on, there were discussions with the corporate purchasers roundtable and a deep dive into solar policy in Michigan for members only.
Near the end of the month, Michigan EIBC co-hosted the Institute for Energy Innovation’s Energy 101 event in Lansing, an educational panel for legislators on issues of advanced energy. Energy 101 and the following reception was well-attended by legislators, MPSC commissioners and staff, and Michigan EIBC members and provided an opportunity for networking and collaboration between the groups. House Energy Chairman Gary Glenn gave the luncheon keynote presentation and spoke about the increasing demand from corporate purchasers for renewable energy and his interest in removing red tape for solar.
Michigan EIBC’s members were active as well:
- Tracy Samilton of Michigan Public Radio ran a feature story on Lean & Green Michigan, Michigan’s statewide PACE program, which is operated by Michigan EIBC member Levin Energy Partners. The story also featured the recent PACE-finance energy upgrades at Heller Machine Tools in Troy.
- Grand Rapids extended its contract with Michigan EIBC member ChargePoint for a year to better understand usage of city-owned electric vehicle charging stations and growth trends in electric vehicles in order to make recommendations on any needed adjustments.
- A mapping tool developed by Michigan EIBC member Michigan Energy Options identified more than 75 brownfield sites in the Upper Peninsula that be redeveloped to host more than 750 MW of solar.
- A public-private partnership including Lansing Board of Water and Light and Michigan EIBC member organization Michigan Energy Options worked to develop a community solar project in East Lansing. The project has pre-sold approximately 20% of the projected 300 kW project, which is expected to be online by late April 2017.
February kicked off with a Michigan Energy Forum at Varnum Law, and later in the month Liesl attended a UP Energy Summit in Marquette.
Michigan EIBC also made the news in February. On February 7, EIBC released a report showing massive job growth in the Michigan solar industry. Michigan EIBC President Liesl Eichler Clark was featured on Michigan Public Radio’s The Next Idea program on February 27, highlighting the role energy efficiency can play in meeting Michigan’s energy need. And on February 28, Michigan EIBC sent out a press release applauding the MPSC’s announcement of an EV technical conference.
In February, Michigan EIBC continued the initiative discussions — corporate purchasers and energy efficiency strategy call.
In member news, Michigan EIBC member Siemens partnered with battery start-up Eos on a new zinc hybrid cathode technology that it is selling at $160/ kWh, plus the cost of inverters and installation.
In March, Michigan EIBC attended the DC Power Forward event hosted by Advanced Energy Economy. The MI contingent including joint AEE-Michigan EIBC member companies Apex Clean Energy, CLEAResult, FirstFuel, Oracle, and others, met with more than half of the Michigan congressional delegation, including meetings with Congressman Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet), Congressman John Moolenaar (R-Midland), and Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint Township), as well as staff with Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters and Congressman Tim Walberg (R-Tipton), Congressman David Trott (R-Birmingham), and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) on Michigan’s advanced energy policies.
Michigan EIBC Board Member Scott Viciana of Ventower Industries was invited by AEE to speak at Power Forward in DC. Viciana outlined Ventower’s approach to working with local lawmakers, specifically Michigan State Senator Dale Zorn, to see an expansion of Michigan’s Renewable Portfolio Standard included in the energy legislation signed by Governor Snyder in December. Viciana shared the importance of developing relationships with local elected officials with a group of approximately 100 industry executives.
And Michigan EIBC President Liesl Eichler Clark spoke on a panel on innovation at the MSU Institute for Public Utilities’ Michigan Forum on Economic Regulatory Policy.
Michigan EIBC members were very active in March:
- Oakland County hosted a community forum on Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing options, featuring a presentation from Michigan EIBC Board member Andy Levin on financing options available through Lean & Green Michigan.
- A group of investors led by Daimler AG and BMW AG’s i Ventures are investing $82 million in Michigan EIBC member ChargePoint, in part to fund efforts to build out a European electric vehicle charging network. ChargePoint currently operates more than 7000 EV charging stations in the U.S.
- The Michigan South Central Power Agency, which serves customers in Clinton, Coldwater, Hillsdale, Marshall, and Union City, settled a dispute over transmission costs with the Michigan Electric Transmission Company, a subsidiary of Michigan EIBC member ITC.
- A diverse group of companies, including Michigan EIBC members Apex Clean Energy, Cardno Limited, Invenergy, LLC, and Siemens, sent a letter to federal lawmakers calling for any infrastructure plan to include funds to modernize, expand, integrate, and technologically transform the nation’s electricity grid. This follows a bipartisan measure that passed the Senate last year that would have included $100 million in funding for grid modernization.
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Michigan Energy News Clips:
- Consumers have mixed responses to new MPSC avoided cost rates for PURPA contracts. Solar projects are likely to flourish under the new structure due to a higher weight given to capacity.
- Traverse City is considering options to meet its 100% renewable energy goal.
- University of Michigan Professor Sarah Mills presented on alternative energy in Keweenaw County.
- An Imlay City business won a free energy assessment from DTE Energy.
- Gerdau got $100,000 from Consumers Energy for reducing energy during peak hours.
- Vote Solar was a guest blogger for Crain’s and wrote about “putting Michigan’s grid on a solar pathway”.
- A state ruling predicts significant growth in solar.
- A University of Michigan study reveals opinions on wind turbines.
- Ingersoll township heard from wind turbine opponents at a local meeting.
- Federal regulators ordered a Michigan hydroelectric company to cease operations after it allegedly failed to address multiple compliance orders.
- A northern Michigan business owner says the state and its residents do not owe Enbridge their trust in continuing to operate the Line 5 pipeline.
- A gas fire broke out in Orion Township near Auburn Hills.
- The Line 5 independent alternatives analysis final report is now available for public review.
- Experts say that, despite proposed rollbacks of EPA climate policies, Michigan won’t stop retiring coal plants.
- Michigan EIBC member company Siemens AG will cut natural gas jobs due to decreased demand for gas turbines due to the rapid growth and decreased cost of renewable energy.
- More than two dozen comments from electric vehicle infrastructure companies, the automobile industry and other stakeholders provided during a comment period last week showed that the industry wants EV infrastructure buildout and incentives.
- According to a Detroit News opinion piece, “Michigan stands to benefit greatly from developing a marketplace for next generation mobility.”
- Ford was highlighted in a list of companies that have found economic advantages to investing in renewable energy.
- General Motors’ next generation of electric cars will be cheaper to produce and exceed 300 miles of range.
National Energy News Clips:
- Over 75% of Americans want to phase out coal power and believe the U.S. should be ambitious about producing clean energy, according to the largest-ever global survey on renewable energy.
- This week, the EPA set quotas for how much renewable fuel must be blended into the national gasoline supply.
- After a the House version of a tax overhaul bill threatened wind energy credits, advocates are turning to the Senate in hope of preserving them.
- The Senate Appropriations Committee’s spending bill would cut $150 million from the EPA, and the House version of the bill would cut even more.
- The U.S. International Trade Commission made its case for imposing solar tariffs in an official report, which has been sent to President Trump.
- Republican Senator of Maine Susan Collins is expected to oppose President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the EPA’s chemical safety office, Michael Dourson. Along with North Carolina Republican Senators. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, Collins’ vote would block the confirmation.
An airport in Cedar Rapids, Iowa has taken up multiple clean energy projects to reduce costs.
- Critics say a plan by grid operator PJM would favor coal and nuclear plants by allowing them to help set electricity prices on the wholesale market.
- Michigan EIBC member company Invenergy’s third wind farm in an Iowa county is in the works.
- The EPA will not make major changes to federal rules on ethanol blending into gasoline.
Researchers predict that wave energy converters moored along coastal regions of the U.S. will be providing power to millions of homes in coming decades.
- Scientists have moved one step closer to developing an innovative LED light source.
- BMW announced a plan to switch all of its external power sources to renewables by 2020 as the carmaker spends billions on electric vehicles.
- Tesla finished construction on the world’s largest lithium-ion battery at a wind farm in South Australia.
- Connecticut will offer $2 million in additional funding to continue a rebate program for electric vehicles.
- Mercedes-Benz will start offering electric vans in the second half of 2018.
- Tesla unveiled its electric semi truck, which has 500-mile range and semi-autonomous capabilities.
Michigan Energy Events:
Michigan EIBC invites you to the CHP Tour & Roundtable in Partnership with the Institute for Energy Innovation and the University of Michigan Energy Institute. The CHP Tour & Roundtable is on December 11 in Ann Arbor. Register here.
Celebrate the biggest year of PACE yet with Lean & Green Michigan. You are invited to a holiday open house at the Levin Energy Partners office in Eastern Market on Thursday, December 14, in Detroit. Fun, food and beverages will be provided. RSVP here.
National Energy Events:
EUCI invites you to “An Introduction to Electric Utility Systems,” December 7 – 8 in San Diego, California. This seminar is targeted toward increasing the knowledge of non-technical staff who work or have an interest in the electric utility industry. Participants who are not familiar with utilities and electric power systems can significantly benefit from attending. Since this is a basic seminar, a prior background in electric utility systems or engineering is not expected or required. Register here.
EUCI invites you to the Electric Vehicle-Utility Industry Nexus on December 11-12 in Anaheim, California. This conference addresses critical considerations, opportunities and challenges regarding electric vehicles from the utility perspective. RSVP here.
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. Register here.
Registration is now open for the 2017 Veteran’s Energy Seminar on December 14 in Chicago. This one-day training for military veterans and reservists will include classroom sessions and panels on global energy security challenges. Learn more and register here.
The 2nd Smart Cities International Symposium and Exhibition, January 17-18 in Chicago, brings together municipal professionals and thought leaders to explore technology advances and key lessons to date in achieving the Smart City vision. Register here.
Mark your calendar for the 5th National Conference on Next Generation Demand Response on February 7-8, in San Diego, California. Learn more and register here.
With more than 650 attendees, MES is the region’s largest energy efficiency event and an unparalleled networking opportunity. February 7-9, MEEA will be holding their annual 2018 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference at the Chicago Hilton & Towers. MES is about celebrating accomplishments in energy efficiency, as well as laying out the efficiency program and policy landscape for the coming year. Register here.