Newsletter: SCOTUS Backs Demand Response

This newsletter was originally published on January 27, 2016.

SCOTUS Backs Demand Response

The US Supreme Court last week upheld the the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)’s Order 745 dealing with demand response programs. The Court’s decision reversed a lower court’s finding that FERC had exceeded its authority in establishing a national framework to govern demand response programs at the regional transmission operator level.

Demand response offers grid operators the option of reducing system wide demand as an alternative to adding additional capacity to the grid. As this additional capacity is typically more expensive than either existing generation or the amount necessary to reduce demand – often substantially so – demand response provides an opportunity to save ratepayers money while offering an additional revenue stream to those who participate by providing incentives to reduce power consumption during peak demand periods. In this way, demand response has been compared to the practice of airlines offering payments and free flights to those customers willing to take a later flight if the airline is overbooked. Once limited to large customers who could individually shift their consumption, the deployment of advanced metering technology is opening up opportunities for small residential and commercial customers to also participate in aggregated demand response programs.

Last week’s ruling is great news both for the growing demand response industry, as well as for those demand response customers able to access new revenues streams and to ratepayers overall who will benefit from the ability of demand response programs to hold rates in check.


Corporate Advanced Energy Pathways Conference Kicks Off Tomorrow in Detroit
A broad group of leading global businesses are set together tomorrow in Detroit for the 3rd Annual Michigan Energy Conference (MEC3), this year focusing on Corporate Pathways to Advanced Energy: The Growth of Market Demand for Clean Energy Solutions.

MEC3 is one of the first conferences of its kind to bring together high-profile corporate leaders in what has become an important international dialogue on accelerating opportunities to source, procure, and manage 21st Century energy resources. The conference will take place tomorrow at The Westin Book Cadillac hotel in Detroit. Please visit the conference’s website for the full list of speakers and panel topics.

Adam Kramer, V.P. of Strategy for Switch, will provide an industry keynote, before being joined onstage for a discussion with MPSC Commissioner Norm Saari.

In addition to Kramer and Saari, other confirmed speakers for MEC3 include:

  • Myles Burnsed, Director of New Markets, groSolar
  • Tom Catania, Executive-in-Residence, Erb Institute for
  • Global Sustainable Enterprise, University of Michigan
  • Aakash Chandarana, Regional VP of Rates and Regulatory Affairs, Xcel Energy
  • Liesl Eichler Clark, President, Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council
  • Jay Dietrich, Program Manager: Climate Stewardship and Energy, IBM
  • Anne Kelly, Sr. Director of the Policy Program and Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) Coalition, Ceres
  • Kevin Parzyck, Vice President – Development, Invenergy
  • Nancy Popa, Executive Director – Renewable Energy, Consumers Energy
  • Stanley “Skip” Pruss, Principal, 5 Lakes Energy
  • Letha Tawney, Director of Utility Innovation and Polsky Chair for Renewable Energy, World Resources Institute
  • Rob Threlkeld, Global Manager – Renewable Energy, General Motors
  • Steve Vavrik, Chief Commercial Officer, Apex Clean Energy
  • Ron Voglewede, Global Sustainability Director, Whirlpool
  • Greg White, Executive Director, NARUC
  • Rod Williamson, Global Energy Category Manager, Dow Corning 
  • Gabe Wing, Director of Safety and Sustainability, HermanMiller

Sponsors for this event include, at the Gold Level, Advanced Energy Economy and the Varnum Law Firm. Silver level sponsors include Geronimo Energy and W.W. Williams, while Indiana Michigan Power and Invenergy are sponsoring at the Bronze level.


New/Renewing Members

Navitas Systems

Navitas Systems is a leader in integrated design, technology development, and manufacturing of innovative energy-enabled system solutions and energy storage products for commercial, industrial and government agency customers. Navitas Systems’ products range from customized energy storage solutions for motive, idle-reduction and defense related applications, along with custom renewable energy integrated power systems, to standard products like lithium based lead-acid replacement batteries. Our ruggedized lithium energy storage products are the perfect choice for any high-performance multi-cell battery application that requires lower weight, reduced volume, massively increased cycle life, higher efficiency, and environmental durability.  


Progressive AE

Progressive AE, Inc. is a full-service architectural and engineering firm practicing throughout the United States. With more than 50 years of experience and 175+ full-time professionals. Progressive AE, Inc. and its affiliates operate as a corporation registered in Michigan and other states, while architects and engineers are registered in all 48 contiguous states. In addition, the firm is guided by a fundamental and forward-thinking philosophy that spaces and environments should serve as strategic contributors, not static places. Success has been achieved through a workforce that is a unique blend of creative people who think strategically, and strategic people who think creatively. Progressive AE, Inc. is a privately held, employee-owned company assisting retail, educational, commercial, governmental, industrial, institutional, public works, residential, and healthcare clients.



TOGGLED is a Troy, Michigan, USA-based company focused on next-generation solid-state lighting solutions. The company, ilumisys, Inc. now doing business as TOGGLED, was formed in 2007 as a spinoff venture and wholly owned subsidiary of Altair with initial products based on Altair’s intellectual property for the direct replacement of fluorescent light tubes with light-emitting diode (LED) lamps.

Centrally located in the global manufacturing epicenter of Southeast Michigan, TOGGLED set up manufacturing operations in the City of Troy within minutes of its parent company’s world headquarters. A Michigan-based business since 1985, Altair is a leading global provider of simulation technology and engineering services for the advanced manufacturing community.

TOGGLED is a featured supplier of linear lighting products to The Home Depot, with a national rollout underway.


Michigan Energy News

Crain’s has a story about the Canton Ikea adding 781 additional panels to their roof.

Powers Distributing Company announced that they will be the first beer distributor to utilize PACE financing.

Grand Rapids Business Journal announced that EIBC member Sustainable Partners was their 2015 Newsmaker of the Year for Sustainability.

The Michigan Daily has a piece on UofM researchers receiving a $1.4 million grant to help develop data on power system optimization in energy grids.

Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association, an Upper Peninsula electric co-op, has backed down from its original proposal to change its net metering policies, Midwest Energy news reports.


National Energy News

Morning Consult has a story about the bipartisan energy bill now on the floor of the Senate.

Michigan EIBC member CLEAResult has a new CEO, Austin Business Journal reports.

The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel has a piece on Michigan EIBC member Johnson Controls’ acquisition of Tyco.

The New York Times has a story about Siemens posting a 42% increase in net profits and raised its annual earnings outlook, driven in part by the health of its energy management division.

25 states have requested the US Supreme Court to issue a stay on the Clean Power Plan, the New York Times reports.

Utility Dive reports that the California Public Utilities Commission voted to keep net metering retail rates.

The US wind industry added 5 gigawatts of capacity in the fourth quarter of 2015, three-quarters of it from non-utility customers.

Navigant Research reports that utility-scale electric storage should multiply 15 times by 2025.

A new Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study concluded that state renewable portfolio standards can lead to billions of dollars in cost-savings, CHG reductions and water usage.

Utility Dive has a feature on how utilities and regulators differ on distributed energy.

Michigan Energy Events
The Michigan Energy Forum will meet in Ann Arbor on Thursday, February 11 at Ann Arbor SPARK, 330 East Liberty, Lower Level. The theme for the meeting is the Clean Power Plan, and the meeting will also feature an update on state and federal energy policy, as well as opportunities for networking and business development. Confirmed speakers include Steve Kulesia of the Michigan Public Service Commission, Douglas Jester of 5 Lakes Energy, and Michael DiRamio of ICF International. Registration is available here

The annual IPU Michigan Forum on Economic Regulatory Policy will take place Friday, February 26 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing.

SAVE THE DATE: The 4th Annual Michigan EIBC Members Meeting will take place on Monday, April 25 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing. Additional information and registration will be available soon.

Additional Resources
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is home to PowerSuite, a suite of tools that allows companies a one-stop on-line portal to search, track, and collaborate on state legislation and regulatory proceedings from around the country.
PowerSuite includes both BillBoard, the AEE dashboard for managing state legislation, and DocketDash, the AEE dashboard for managing state public utility commission proceedings. Subscription required. is a national solar permitting database that provides information on permitting for solar in jurisdictions across the country. The database includes a variety of information, from average permit turnaround times, to information required to be included in the permit, to contact information for individual jurisdictions. You can browse the requirements for the Michigan cities included in the database here.
The U.S. Department of Energy is offering A Guide to Federal Finance Facilities Available for Energy Efficiency Upgrades and Clean Energy Deployment. The downloadable guide provides information about the various federal financing programs available for energy efficiency and renewable energy — making it easier for state, local and tribal leaders, along with their partners in the private sector, to find capital for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
The Department of Energy has offers free public access to accepted peer-reviewed manuscripts or published scientific journal articles from projects funded by the DOE within 12 months of publication.