Newsletter: Senate Panel Takes Up Appointment of Norm Saari to MPSC

This newsletter was originally published on August 10, 2015. 

Senate Panel Takes Up Appointment of Norm Saari to MPSC

The Michigan Senate Energy Committee voted Thursday to recommend confirmation of Norm Saari to the Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC). Governor Rick Snyder appointed Saari to the PSC last month.

Committee members raised issues relating to Saari’s relationship to Consumer’s Energy, where he worked for more than three decades, before working in the Snyder administration and as chief of staff to Speakers Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) and Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant). Saari noted that he has no financial interest in the company, including no retirement investments or health insurance plan. Saari also spoke about the changing landscape for utilities, and was quoted as saying “We’re not in the ’70s anymore,” he said. “It’s critical we understand new technology, understand a new way of really dealing with customers . . . We have to be adaptable.

Saari’s role as Chief of Staff to House Speaker Cotter also came under questioning, including how the Speaker’s office handled the revelations surrounding Representatives Courser and Gamrat.

The Committee recommended approval of Saari’s appointment on a 6 – 1 vote, with Senator David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights).


Keep solar growing in Michigan! Solar rally next Wednesday in Lansing!

We need your help to keep solar growing in Michigan. As Lansing shapes Michigan’s energy future, DTE continues to push for the elimination of critical solar policies. We must stand for choice when it comes to solar energy and a voice when it comes to our energy future.
It is time to rally. Can you join us?

When:   August 19th
Rally:     9:00 am sharp
Public Hearing: 10:00 am
Where: East Capitol Lawn, Lansing
RSVP on Facebook or RSVP Here 
Please RSVP and share this event with your friends and family. We hope you will attend the rally to show legislators the vast support solar has in Michigan. Immediately after the rally, please make your voice heard at the Senate Energy Committee. The Committee will be discussing SB 438, which is proposing to eliminate a policy called net metering. Net metering is a foundational solar policy that allows customers to receive a fair accounting of solar energy they generate on their own rooftops. Net metering, is in place in 44 states, but is now threatened in Michigan.
We look forward to seeing you there on August 19. And please spread the word!


Renewing Members


The Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center (MAREC) / Muskegon SmartZone is an economic development initiative initiated by the State of Michigan in 2002 in partnership with the City of Muskegon and Grand Valley State University. MAREC is presently home to five start-up companies both large and small that have the capacity to be catalysts for business growth and economic development in the greater Muskegon and surrounding region. MAREC also provides business and product development support services to companies throughout West Michigan through the Business Accelerator Fund (BAF) program. Since 2012, almost $200,000 in business development grants have been awarded that has leveraged a total of $785,875 in private capital to advance a variety of business start-up ventures. MAREC provides education, energy innovation leadership, entrepreneur support, technology development assistance and economic development support in a variety of ways. For additional information please visit or call 616.331.6905



NOVI ENERGY is an entrepreneurial company that turns exceptional ideas and modern alternative and renewable technologies into efficient energy solutions. Comprised of a team of experience professionals including project developers, energy manger, discipline engineers, project managers and financial analysts, NOVI Energy can navigate an organization to success, providing unique and successful energy solutions for the 21st century.

Founded in 2002, NOVI provides energy infrastructure development and energy consulting services to governmental, industrial, commercial, institutional and utility clients, assisting them in establishing and implementing energy strategies that help them become more competitive.


Michigan Energy News

Mlive and Michigan Radio both had pieces on the recent MPSC report on net metering, including remarks from Michigan EIBC’s Vice President for Policy and Business Engagement Liesl Clark.

Midwest Energy News profiled the Michigan’s emergence as a leader in advanced batteries, including quotes from Michigan EIBC President Dan Scripps, and Michigan EIBC member NextEnergy’s Kelly Jezierski.

Hong Kong-based solar company Sungfeng has taken a 63% ownership stake in Suniva, a solar manufacturer headquartered in Georgia with a solid manufacturing presence in the Saginaw region.

Crain’s Detroit Business this week featured opinion pieces from State Representative Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) on the benefits of the state’s energy efficiency mandate, and from State Representative Jason Sheppard (R-Temperance) on why it’s time to “pull the plug” on the efficiency standard.

Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) released a survey about how a majority of Michigan businesses support the Clean Power Plan, and even more would support a state-based energy plan to lower carbon emissions.

Michigan EIBC member Walker-Miller Energy Services was listed as one of the 6 fastest growing Detroit companies.

The Muskegon Chronicle has a piece on Consumer’s plan for B.C. Cobb coal plant’s closure and future use.

State Representative Julie Plawecki (D-Dearborn Heights) has an opinion piece about the opportunities around the recently finalized Clean Power Plan.


National Energy News

Utility Dive has a piece about the current bipartisan energy package working its way through Congress.

Washington Post has a story about now the growing renewable energy sector helped the EPA to introduce the Clean Power Plan.

Several governors are already planning to not comply with the Clean Power Plan, hoping it will be successfully challenged in court, Washington Examiner reports.

Utility Dive has a piece on how distribute solar power continues to drop in price for a fifth year in a row.

The Washington Post has a piece about national wind energy growth.


Upcoming Michigan Energy Events
The September Michigan Energy Forum meeting will be held Thursday, September 10 from 5-7pm at Ann Arbor SPARK. The theme for the September meeting is “Michigan Solar Industry Update – Policy and Market Trends.” Michigan EIBC Vice President for Policy and Business Engagement Liesl Eichler Clark is organizing the event.

The Battery Show Exhibition and Conference will be held September 15-17 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. The event is also home to the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo. 

The 2015 UP Energy Summit will take place Wednesday, September 30 in Marquette.

The October Michigan Energy Forum meeting will take place Thursday, October 1 at Ann Arbor SPARK. The theme for the October meeting is Waste-to-Energy.

Michigan EIBC is hosting a discussion on “The Future of the Grid” on Friday, October 9 at NextEnergy in Detroit.  The event is free for Michigan EIBC members and $50 for nonmembers. Lunch will be provided.

The 2015 Michigan Advanced Lighting Conference, featuring the Michigan Solid State Lighting Association Annual Symposium, will take place Wednesday, October 29 in Lansing. 

SAVE THE DATE: The 3rd Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala will be held Tuesday, November 10 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. More details and registration will be available soon.

Upcoming National Energy Events
Solar Power International will be held this year from September 14-17 in Anaheim, California.
The ACEEE National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource will take place September 20-22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

Fortune’s ’Brainstorm E: Where Energy, Technology, and Sustainability Meet’ will take place September 28-29 in Austin.  

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.