Newsletter: What Michigan EIBC did in the Second Quarter of 2017

This newsletter was originally published on December 8, 2017.

As the end of the year approaches, Michigan EIBC will take a look back at what the organization and members have accomplished. Over the month of December, the newsletter will take you through the highlights of 2017. This week covers the second quarter.


April was busy for Michigan EIBC. Not only did the new energy law go into effect, but on April 26, we hosted our Annual Member Meeting. Our presenters represented a variety of member companies, including Inovateus Solar, Bratic Enterprises, CLEAResult, toggled, Foresight, ChargePoint, NextEnergy, Siemens, Schneider Electric, AES Energy Storage, ITC, EnerNOC, Sustainable Partners, and Michigan CAT. In attendance were Valerie Brader, executive director of the Michigan Energy Agency, and Michigan Public Service Commissioners Norm Saari, Rachael Eubanks, and Chairman Sally Talberg, who discussed the new energy legislation.

Mayors Jim Carruthers of Traverse City and Rosalynn Bliss of Grand Rapids spoke on their cities’ commitments to renewable energy, and State Representative and Democratic Floor Leader Sam Singh closed the event with a discussion of the future of energy policy in Michigan. The Annual Member Meeting was preceded by a lobby day in which representatives from Member Companies met with legislators to discuss issues around implementation of the new energy law.

Apart from participating in the Annual Member Meeting and Lobby Day, Michigan EIBC member companies were active in May:





On May 10, Michigan EIBC hosted a Michigan Energy Forum at Covanta Kent. Attendees learned about waste-to-energy, toured the facility, and had an opportunity to network.

Also in May, Senator Darwin Booher introduced Michigan EIBC-backed SB 375 to expand PACE financing to include anaerobic digesters. And, on May 31, Michigan EIBC filed comments with the Michigan Public Service Commission on regulatory process for considering Demand Response programs on May 31.

At the legislature, Scott Hawken, Director of Project Development with Apex Clean Energy, and Scott Viciana, Vice President for Sales and Business Development with Ventower Industries, joined Michigan EIBC President Liesl Eichler Clark in testifying before the Michigan House Energy Policy Committee on the many benefits of wind development. Michigan EIBC partnered with AEE to meet with over 30 legislators on AEE’s FERC competitive market letter, which was circulated by House Energy Chair Gary Glenn and Vice Chair Donna Lasinski.

Michigan EIBC earned news coverage in May as well. The organization was highlighted in a MiBiz article on the Consumers Energy voluntary renewable energy program for large users on May 28.

In May, Michigan EIBC member companies stole the spotlight:





On June 16, Michigan EIBC, the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) and Advancing Women in Energy (AWE) hosted an Advanced Energy Networking Reception in Detroit with over 70 attendees, including several legislators.

On June 28, the Institute for Energy Innovation hosted a CHP Conference in Grand Rapids in partnership with The Right Place, U.S. DOE CHP Technical Assistance Partnership, and Michigan Energy Office. The event was at capacity.

Michigan EIBC met with State Tax Commission and Michigan Department of Treasury to discuss solar/DER taxation in late June, to begin working toward HB 5143. Around the same time, the Institute for Energy Innovation publicly released its “Solar in Michigan: The Economic Impact of Distributed Generation on Non-Solar Customers” report in June. The release coincided with an interview with Tracy Samilton of Michigan Radio, and the report was also picked up by a number of national clean energy industry news outlets.

Michigan EIBC also topped 100 members in June and those members were active:


Renewing Members:

The Kent County Department of Public Works, acting through the Board of Public Works, is an enterprise fund established by the Board of Commissioners to provide solid waste management services and water and sewer system construction, inspection and maintenance under contract with some local units of government. The Department of Public Works manages a landfill with a co-located gas-to-energy facility, transfer station, recycling and education center and a waste-to-energy facility in addition to a household hazardous waste and an unwanted pharmaceutical collection program. The Department of Public Works is committed to a fully integrated solid waste management system. This system includes: waste reduction, reuse and recycling, expanded education in resource recovery, incineration with electricity production and landfilling. Through its operations, the Department of Public Works help protect the health and welfare of its residents and the environment.



Michigan Energy News:

  • Consumers Energy said its business Demand Response program is rewarding 15 customers with more than $300,000 collectively for reducing their energy use on peak demand days. The organizations being rewarded include Muskegon County Wastewater Facility, Grand Rapids Water Resource Recovery Facility, Gordon Food Service, and The Tech Group in Grand Rapids.
  • Michigan EIBC member company Newman Consulting Group won the 2017 Exemplary Project Award from the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association.
  • Power companies are planning on major investments to improve reliability in Ann Arbor.
  • A solar-powered chapel in Ann Arbor is hosting open houses and tours.
  • A federal appeals court rejected a challenge by an anti-nuclear advocacy group and upheld a permit granted to DTE Energy for a new nuclear plant in Michigan. DTE does not have plans to build the new facility at this time. 
  • Local energy company Detroit Thermal transferred ownership to Project Mist Holdco LLC of New York City.
  • Officials with the Michigan Schools Energy Cooperative, a coalition of 330 public school districts, spoke out in favor of increasing the state’s school energy choice program cap, which the organization says could save schools millions of dollars.
  • A solar advocacy group says Michigan needs additional policy changes in order to incentivize the growth of solar.
  • Burnside township officials tweaked the township’s wind ordinance.
  • Under the terms of a new agreement, the state of Michigan and Enbridge will spend the nine months deciding what to do about Line 5. Sources say closing the pipeline permanently is “still on the table.” The agreement also calls for shutting down the pipeline during “sustained adverse weather conditions.”
  • Traces of petroleum and lead were found in water at the Rover Pipeline work site.
  • More than 100 mayors and other municipal officials are urging Canada’s environment minister not to allow burial of nuclear waste near Lake Huron.
  • Michigan EIBC member company 5 Lakes Energy announced the addition of a new senior consultant, Benjamin Stafford.
  • In a Detroit Free Press article, University of Michigan Professor and physician Toby Lewis and Environmental Law & Policy Center senior law fellow Janet McCabe urge Michigan to use Volkswagen emissions settlement money to buy electric school buses.


National Energy News:

  • Experts say provisions in the Senate tax bill would hurt the value of renewable energy credits and “pretty much blow up the tax equity market for wind.”
  • There is a hearing at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative this Wednesday that marks the final opportunity to formally and publicly discuss the solar trade case.
  • The tax bills in Congress have real implications for the energy industry including destroying the ITC/PTC.
  • The chairman of Nissan North America says the company is undaunted by congressional efforts to end a $7,500 federal tax credit for plug-in electric vehicles.
  • The Senate passed legislation aiming to give tribes more flexibility when developing energy resources.
  • A Senate official ruled that a Republican proposal to open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling is subject to an environmental assessment by the Interior Department, which could take months or years to complete.
  • FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee told a meeting of natural gas industry officials that climate activists are delaying the approval of natural gas pipelines by waging legal battles.
  • Opponents of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline pointed out that over a quarter of North Carolina’s Native Americans live along its proposed path.
  • Trump administration officials say the White House is planning to remove former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson from his position as secretary of state.
  • The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee advanced two of President Trump’s environmental nominees: Kathleen Hartnett White, picked to serve on the Council of Environmental Quality, and Andrew Wheeler, nominated for deputy administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Richard Glick, a Democrat and former renewable energy lobbyist, formally joined the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
  • The EPA wrapped up a two-day public hearing in West Virginia on the Clean Power Plan, with many coal advocates voicing support for the proposed repeal.
  • President Trump’s trade representative sent a letter asking the International Trade Commission for a report to help the president take “appropriate and feasible action” on proposed tariffs. 
  • Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, who was recently released from prison for his role in coal mine safety violations that led to the deaths of 29 miners, is planning to run for U.S. Senate in West Virginia.
  • Tech firms are becoming advocates for clean energy.
  • An electricity sector expert discusses what the “resilience” means in the context of a clean energy future.
  • Market uncertainty surrounding possible solar tariffs has caused the average fixed-tilt utility-scale solar price to rise back above $1 per watt, according to a new report.
  • However, many top commercial solar owners are expected to grow their 2017 installations by 68%, according to a new report.
  • Nearly 5,500 schools nationwide are using solar power, which is expected to save school districts millions of dollars.
  • According to the EIA, wind turbine heights and capacities have increased over the past decade.
  • Utility Dive put together a roundup of notable energy storage projects built by or for regulated utilities this year. 
  • A financial advisory firm’s recent report on the costs of energy storage downgrades estimates for lithium battery efficiency.
  • U.S. net oil imports dropped last week to the lowest level since record-keeping began in 1990, while gasoline exports climbed to a record 1.21 million barrels a day.
  • Members of OPEC said they and allied producers were set to agree on extending oil supply cuts through June and possibly through all of 2018.
  • Toyota is building a power plant in Southern California that turns methane gas produced by cow manure into electricity and hydrogen fuel.
  • Hyundai plans to build a 150-MW lithium-ion battery by February. It would be 50% larger than the world’s biggest battery, which was recently installed by Tesla in Australia. 
  • General Motors demonstrated the new battery-powered, computer-operated Chevrolet Bolt prototype.
  • Tesla’s prototype electric truck will require 1,600 kWs each time it recharges.


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 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. Register 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.

EUCI invites you to its Renewable Energy 101 Forum, March 12-13, in Portland, Oregon. Learn more and register here.


Additional Resources:

The video of the 2017 Michigan Energy Innovators Gala is live on the Michigan EIBC website. Check it out here!