Newsletter: Senate Comes Back to Lansing this Week

This newsletter was originally published on October 16, 2016.

Senate Comes Back to Lansing this Week, Vote on Energy Bills Possible

The Michigan Senate reconvenes this week after taking a month off and this will be their last scheduled meeting before the November election and the ensuing lame duck session. Sen. Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek), chair of the Michigan Senate Energy and Technology Committee, is hoping to move SB 437 and 438 out of the Senate chamber before the end of the week. It is typically harder to move legislation during a lame duck session that has not passed one chamber before Election Day.

As it stands, the package makes changes to our state’s existing Renewable Portfolio Standard and Energy Optimization Standard and Net Metering Program and retail open access market. Senate Democrats and a handful of Senate Republicans have expressed desire to continue our state’s successful Energy Optimization (EO) programs and Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Last month, Nofs indicated growing the RPS to 15% was on the table. With the Republican caucus still divided on changes to retail open access, this may be the likely scenario for Sen. Nofs to get enough votes to pass the Senate.

Michigan EIBC will be updating readers on any action taken this week. Michigan EIBC hosts a monthly call-in for member companies. Interested in becoming a member to get in-depth analysis of the legislature’s proceedings? Sign up today.


Welcome by Chairman Sally Talberg: Fourth Annual Energy Innovators Gala is Quickly Approaching

Michigan EIBC will welcome Michigan Public Service Commission Chairman Sally Talberg to kick off our 4th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on November 10 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. Reserve your ticket today.

Keynote Speaker: John J. Viera

Increasingly the connection between the energy and transportation sectors is growing in many ways including how vehicles motivate and commitments to clean energy goals. There are many parallels between the increased understanding of the customer experience that the auto industry is focused on and the work happening in the electricity industry. Ford Motor Company is a leader in the mobility space since 1903 and that translates to the areas of connectivity, autonomous vehicles, customer experience, data and analytics, and mobility.

John J. Viera is the Global Director, Sustainability and Vehicle Environmental Matters for Ford Motor Company, a position he has held since January 2007. Viera is responsible for developing global sustainable business plans and policies, interfacing and negotiating environmental regulations with global governmental bodies, reporting externally on the company’s environmental and social performance, and leading the company’s engagement and partnerships with non-government organizations (NGOs) and other key stakeholders.
Sponsor Now to Join the Awards Committee!
Michigan EIBC’s premier annual event attracts a broad range of industry leaders from renewable energy, energy efficiency, transportation, and the utility sector. Michigan State Legislators, Michigan Public Service Commission staff, and other key decision makers will also be in attendance.
All sponsorship levels include a reserved table at the event and participation in the awards committee to determine recipients for the awards. Become a sponsor today.
Current Sponsors

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Michigan Energy News

Michigan Agency for Energy Director Valerie Brader spoke with Kirk Heinze of WKAR’s “Greening the Great Lakes” segment about the future of energy efficiency in Michigan.

Marty Kushler of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) penned a blog post about how Michigan could ‘profit’ from adopting advanced energy through the Clean Power Plan.

Tesla and Michigan Automobile Dealerships are disagreeing over the constitutionality of a 2014 law requiring auto manufacturers to sell their vehicles through licensed dealerships, MiBiz reports.

Colder weather and higher fuel prices are going to lead to higher energy bills this winter, according to US Department of Energy estimates. Consumers Energy sees differently, Detroit News reports.

This week is “Michigan Careers in Energy Week,” highlighting job growth potential in Michigan, Lansing State Journal reports.

Corporations like Switch are making the ability to purchase renewable energy a cornerstone to whether they do business in a state, Midwest Energy News reports.

The Huron County Commission voted 4-3 to push the vote for a wind overlay district to the October 25 meeting, Huron Daily Tribune reports.


National Energy News

Guggenheim Securities LLC believes that coal plant retirements and colder winters could raise natural gas prices, Utility Dive reports.

Here are 6 ways the Presidential Election Could Influence the Electric Utility System.

The federal government just procured a new 150MW solar farm in Arizona, the largest single advanced energy investment made by the US Government in history, Washington Post reports.

Tesla Motors announced intentions to partner with Panasonic to make components for SolarCity, provided the electric vehicle manufacturer can purchase the solar-leasing company, Bloomberg reports.

Oponents to the EPA Clean Power Plan are filing amicus briefs for the legal challenge as the DC Circuit Court of Appeals makes their decision, E&E News reports.

Texas smart-meters are not seeing as many third party providers as expected, GreenTech media reports.

A new report is suggesting that small-scale, distributed solar is just as good as large-scale solar for delivering low-cost energy, Midwest Energy News reports.

WalMart is a corporate leader in solar deployment, but could it also become a leader in storage usage? GreenTech Media has the story.

Sonnen has raised $85 million in venture capital to fund grid services in Italy, Australia and the US, GreenTech Media reports.


Michigan Energy Events

The Grand Rapids Chamber and Michigan Environmental Council join forces to offer “Michigan’s Energy Future Forum” in Grand Rapids on Thursday, October 27th from 8:30 AM – noon. RSVP here to hear from MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg and MAE Executive Director Valerie Brader.

The Transportation, Economics, Energy and the Environment Conference will be held Friday, October 28 in Ann Arbor. Sign up here.

The Accelerate Michigan competition is going to be on Thursday, November 3 in Detroit. Sign up here.

The Pew Clean Energy Business Network will host a panel discussion titled From the Lab to the Livingroom: How Public-Private Partnerships Can Advance Your Energy Innovation featuring Argonne National Labs and MI EIBC members NextEnergy, Growth Capital Network and Navitas Systems on Thursday November 10th just prior (from 3:30-5 PM) to the EIBC gala. RSVP to Jamie Scripps at

The 4th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala will be held Thursday, November 10 in East Lansing. Click here to get tickets.

National Energy Events

The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is hosting a “State of the Industry: International Corporate Procurement Trends,” webinar on Wednesday, October 19, from Noon – 1:30 PM EST. Register here.

The US Dept. of Energy is hosting a webinar with the Western Area Power Administration,“Accessing Capital for Tribal Energy and Economic Development,” Wednesday, October 26, from 1-3 pm. Register here.

Additional Resources
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant cycle is now open, awarding grants for renewable energy projects in rural communities and agricultural areas. REAP is open to Agricultural Producers and Rural Small Businesses. Grants can be used for the purchase, installation, and construction of a Renewable Energy System or Energy Efficiency Improvement. Rural Small Business Projects must be located in a rural area with populations of 50,000 or less. The Agricultural Producer Projects can be located in rural or non-rural areas. REAP Grants provide a 25% cash reimbursement of the total system costs, with a maximum grant of $500,000 for Renewable Energy Systems and $250,000 for Energy Efficiency Improvements.
Applications for projects with Total Project Costs of $80,000 or less are accepted through Monday, October 31, 2016. Applications for projects with Total Project Costs greater than $80,000 are accepted through Monday, May 1, 2017.
The Application Templates and Forms are available at USDA Rural Development Offices or the National Website at: under Forms and 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.