Newsletter: Senate Committee Takes Up Michigan EIBC PACE-for-Digesters Bill; Powering Mobility Conference Is Almost Here

This newsletter was originally published on September 15, 2017.

Senate Committee Takes Up Michigan EIBC PACE-for-Digesters Bill

This Tuesday, the Michigan Senate Local Government Committee, chaired by Senator Zorn, heard testimony on Senate Bill 375. SB 375, introduced by Senator Booher at the request of Michigan EIBC, would amend the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act of 2010, commonly known as PACE, to include anaerobic digesters as an option for projects eligible to receive PACE financing.

Michigan EIBC President Liesl Eichler Clark, along with several representatives of member companies, testified in favor of this bill.

Kyle Peczinski of member company Petros Partners Financing testified that PACE provides a long-term fixed rate financing system for energy efficiency projects for both residential and industrial customers, helping them overcome the financial hurdle of new projects to realize the cost-savings associated with energy efficiency. With PACE, the first year’s annual payment is less than the cost of the energy saved, making the projects more economically worthwhile for customers. Petros Partners has funded seven PACE projects in Michigan over the past two years, and has seen demand for anaerobic digesters.

Liesl Eichler Clark explained the reason Michigan EIBC began to consider seeking legislation to include anaerobic digesters. Several years ago, she said, a member called her because they were unable to finance a project through PACE for client Bell’s Brewery because of their plans to use an anaerobic digester. Clark explained that this exclusion did not make sense because there was, and still is, demand for anaerobic digesters because they are “a great way to handle waste correctly.”

Kevin O’Connell of member company Michigan CAT, which ultimately built Bell’s Brewery’s digester in a different way that was compliant with the law, explained that anaerobic digesters were a great option for energy efficiency projects because “you’re taking a waste stream that’s otherwise going to [the dump] and turning it into multiple usable energy sources” while at the same time eliminating odor and emissions.

Upon hearing the testimony and discussion, Senator Zorn closed the hearing, informing the audience that they could expect a vote on SB 375 next week.


Michigan EIBC Hosts Senator Zorn, Representative Lasinski for Tour of Ventower Industries

Michigan EIBC had the opportunity to tour member company Ventower Industries in Monroe, Michigan, today. Ventower is a leading North American steel fabricator currently specializing in utility-scale wind turbine tower solutions. They have diversified their product offerings to include large steel structures like embedded inserts, pressure vessels, marine foundations and welded tanks. Ventower’s experienced team of highly skilled and certified fabrication workers manufacture to the highest quality standards and are committed to continuous improvement while achieving key quality objectives and insuring best practice manufacturing.

The tour group was joined by Representative Donna Lasinski and Senator Dale Zorn, both of whom sit on the respective House and Senate energy policy committees.


Powering Mobility is Almost Here!

The Powering Mobility conference is just around the corner, and tickets are going fast. This fourth installment of the Michigan Energy Conference, scheduled for September 25 at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, will feature keynote speakers US Senator Gary Peters and Rachel Bhattacharya, Maven’s Director of Commercial Mobility, alongside an outstanding group of private and public sector leaders.


Senator Peters is co-chair of the Senate Smart Transportation Caucus, while Bhattacharya leads the commercial mobility efforts for Maven, a mobility company launched by GM last year. In this role, she also oversees Maven Gig, which provides a business model for car sharing services like Uber and Lyft that’s been described as “tailor made for the gig economy.”

The Powering Mobility conference will give attendees an inside look at the cutting edge of mobility and how we will charge and fuel the vehicles of tomorrow. The conference will dive deep into the intersection of energy, telecommunication, and transportation to highlight the role clean fuel vehicles will play in “powering mobility.” The event boasts unparalleled networking with top-tier industry executives, policymakers, and thought leaders.

Other confirmed speakers for this exciting event include:

  • Michael Berube, U.S. DOE Vehicle Technologies Office
  • Kevin Bopp, Bedrock
  • Shannon Bouton, McKinsey Center for Business and Environment
  • Jim Ellis, ChargePoint
  • Chris King, Siemens Smart Grid
  • John Maddox, American Center for Mobility
  • Carrie Morton, Mcity
  • Chris Nelder, Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Trevor Pawl, MEDC
  • John Peracchio, Peracchio and Co.; Michigan Council on Future Mobility
  • Danil Prokhorov, Toyota Research Institute
  • Jim Saber, NextEnergy
  • Commissioner Norm Saari, Michigan Public Service Commission
  • Kellen Schefter, Edison Electric Institute
  • Scott Steiner, Lockheed Martin
  • Jon Walker, Lyft

The event is a collaboration between the following organizations:

There is still time to get tickets – Register Now!


New and Renewing Members:

Inovateus Solar specializes in full-service Turnkey Engineering, Procurement, and Construction, with over 300 MW completed since we opened our doors in 2008. We focus on the Industrial and Commercial markets, as well as utility scale projects. We are family owned and operate primarily in the Midwest. Our Supply division provides all solar equipment needs.


Newman Consulting Group, a Lean and Green Michigan and Rebuild Michigan® Partner, a DTE Energy and Michigan Saves Trade Ally, and an EPA Energy Star® Partner, works with architects, engineers, building owners and contractors in Michigan and throughout the world to design and build more energy-efficient buildings to LEED®, Energy Star® and other sustainable guidelines. NCG also helps commercial and industrial building owners save money and reduce negative impacts on the environment. Through energy audits and retrofitting existing buildings NCG helps buildings use less energy – and save money – while maintaining or improving the indoor air quality and enhancing the health, comfort and productivity of the building occupants. Services include: • LEED® Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) • Energy Audits – Level I, Level II and Level III • Energy Star® Certification • Re-Commissioning and Retro-Commissioning • Tax Deductions and Credits • Cost Recovery/Tax Benefits • Project Management • Design Assistance • Engineering Reports • PACE Project Management (Property Assessed Clean Energy)


Veolia North America is a leading U.S. operator and developer of efficient energy solutions. In Grand Rapids, Veolia’s district energy facility provides convenient, reliable and cost-effective thermal energy to approximately 120 commercial, government, institutional and healthcare customers. Globally, Veolia is the leader in optimized resource management and designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries. Through three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them.


Michigan Energy News:

  • A draft policy in Huron County looks to restrict commercial solar development, calling it an “existential threat to the county’s agricultural economy.” This policy could deny landowners the right to choose how to use their land to their economic interest.
  • A bipartisan group of State House members have formed the House Affordable Energy Caucus, with Representative John Reilly (R-Oakland) named as chair.
  • The House Energy Committee will hold a hearing on an MPSC Staff Report that raised controversial issues involving Local Clearing Requirements.
  • A pilot program will allow large customers of Consumers Energy to purchase renewable energy.
  • The Public Service Commission is holding public hearing around the state relating to the new Integrated Resource Plan for determining future power generation. 
  • A new poll by University of Michigan researchers finds strong support among Americans for net metering policies.
  • Eastern Michigan University is on the road to energy self-sufficiency.
  • The Islamic Center in Dearborn was named a finalist in Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards.
  • A neighborhood group in Detroit is looking to build a 400-square-foot, solar-powered “treehouse” community center.
  • DTE is exploring the possibility of a new wind farm.
  • Advocates start a clean energy advertising campaign in Grand Haven in hopes of pushing the local utility to close a coal plant there.


News from Washington:

  • Federal officials are expected to finalize a review of the Clean Power Plan this fall, according to a court filing by the EPA.
  • The Energy Department’s new grid study dominated the nomination hearing for two FERC regulators last week, but candidates did not indicate how they would use the study’s recommendations to shape policy-making.
  • The U.S., Mexico and Canada finished their second round of talks to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement and appeared largely in agreement on energy-related issues, according to Mexico’s economy minister.


Cities and Communities Leading in Advanced Energy:

  • A new report shows a collection of 12 Midwestern states added more than 30,000 clean energy jobs last year, a 5.41 percent increase from 2015, bringing the region’s total to roughly 600,000. 
  • A city official in St. Louis introduces a resolution to power the city’s operations entirely by renewable energy by 2035.


National Grid and Efficiency News:


National Solar News:

  • U.S. solar installations increased 8% in the second quarter of 2017 due to utility demand, making up for a decrease in residential rooftop systems, according to an industry report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. The quarter’s growth comes amid an expected 17% decline in market demand for 2017 due to an expiring federal tax credit.
  • An unnamed Trump administration official says the president is likely to agree to tariffs on solar-energy imports if the International Trade Commission recommends them.
  • A group of volunteers in Indiana are helping residents install solar panels under current net metering rules before they are phased out. 
  • Officials in a Minnesota town approve a 3-MW solar garden on rural residential property but require that it not be visible to neighbors.
  • Students at the University of Illinois developed a solar-powered cell phone case that charges devices with indoor and outdoor light.
  • After years of downsizing, a solar manufacturing plant in Oregon is slated to permanently close, putting more than 90 people out of work. 
  • Dominion Energy Virginia will offer residential and business customers the opportunity to use solar power through community-based solar facilities. 
  • Iowa is among the rural and conservative parts of the country where solar adoption is growing the fastest, thanks to community solar. 
  • Solar-powered charging stations for electric vehicles and devices are the first hardware to be installed under the Smart Columbus program in Ohio. 
  • Michigan EIBC member company Cyprus Creek Renewables plans to install 200 MWs of solar power in Illinois by 2019.


National Wind News:


National Fossil Fuel and Nuclear News:

  • Developers of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline are requesting FERC approval this month.
  • New details are given about plans for a 550-MW natural gas plant in Superior, Wisconsin, which would start being built as soon as 2020. 
  • Regulators and Mississippi Power Co. failed to agree on what customers should pay following the suspension of the Kemper “clean coal” plant.
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission sent additional inspectors to the Turkey Point and St. Lucie nuclear plants in Florida in preparation for Hurricane Irma, which poses the toughest test yet for U.S. nuclear power plants.


National Vehicle and Mobility News:


Michigan Energy Events:

Michigan EIBC, together with Michigan Energy Options and the Institute for Energy Innovation, are hosting a UP Energy Roundtable and Networking Meeting on Tuesday, September 19 at Northern Michigan University’s Bottum University Center in Marquette. The event will feature discussion on a range of issues, including UP energy planning, the opportunities and barriers to self-generation (both solar and combined-heat-and-power), and an update on the Michigan Energy Office’s CHP Roadmap. The UP Energy Roundtable is free for Michigan EIBC members; $25 for non-members.

The Powering Mobility conference will take place on September 25 at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. The event, which is the 4th Annual Michigan Energy Future Conference, will bring together leaders from industry, government, utilities, finance, and academe working at the nexus of advanced mobility and vehicle electrification. 

The 1st Annual Sustainable Detroit Forum is scheduled for October 25. The event will consist of interactive learning, keynotes, and short presentations. Proposals for presentations will be accepted for Sustainable ProjectsPersonal Green Stories, and Lessons Learned/Greatest Failures.

NextEnergy invites you to the Autonomy & Mobility Conference on October 25 in Detroit. Autonomy & Mobility 2017 will provide an open forum for all participants to share ideas. In addition to focused sessions with leading experts, the event will culminate in a unique, interactive exchange among panelists and attendees. Register here.


National Energy Events:
Join the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) at the “Building the Case for Energy and Resource Efficiency” Conference, September 21, in Milwaukee. This conference will show simple steps to reduce energy costs, how to sell projects internally, and recent case studies of energy efficiency projects. Register here
The 2017 Midwest Energy Policy Conference is October 3-4. Join policy makers, businesses, advocates and regulators who’ll be broadening their perspectives on infrastructure, energy efficiency and energy economic development through diverse, fact-based presentations. Click here for details.

ACORE Finance West will take place in San Francisco on October 12. The annual conference highlights top investment opportunities and provide the latest insights on the financing of renewable energy and grid modernization efforts in leading western markets.

EUCI’s Renewable Energy PPAs Seminar is October 16-17 in Denver, Colorado. The Renewable Energy Power Purchase Agreements seminar is designed for those in the renewable energy industry who are new to PPAs or who have worked with PPAs for a while and are ready to gain a deeper understanding of the legal impact of, and allocation of risks under, key PPA provisions. The course will begin with an introduction to the development and financing process and the role of competitive procurement (including RFP solicitations and bilateral negotiations). The instructors will review the various general contract terms found in most non-PPA project agreements that directly impact the PPA negotiations, and provide an overview of environmental and permitting matters that arise in PPA negotiations. Register here.

Join SEIA and Smart Electric Power Alliance for Solar Power Midwest in Chicago, October 19-20. The event features multiple networking and educational opportunities with a targeted, buying audience.
The 2017 U.S. Power and Renewables Summit will take place in Austin on November 7-8. The conference, hosted by Greentech Media, provides an in-depth look at how solar, wind, and related renewable energy technologies are impacting power markeys, and how this interaction is raising key questions and challenges for the industry moving forward.
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.


Additional Resources:

A website from the Michigan Public Service Commission provides details on updates to state energy laws. For more information, or to sign up for notifications, visit
World Resources Institute recently published an Implementation Guide for Utilities, outlining best practices in designing renewable energy projects to meet large energy customers’ needs. 

Energy leaders — make your nominations today for the 2017 Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40. Open to nominations from all sectors involved in the Midwest’s energy transition.