Newsletter: State Senate Energy Committee Advances Energy Policy Measures

This newsletter was originally published on December 8, 2014.

State Senate Energy Committee Advances Energy Policy Measures

The Michigan Senate Energy and Technology Committee approved a pair of measures that would expand the Michigan advanced energy market. Last week, the committee approved HB 5397, which would allow municipal electric utilities to offer on-bill financing options to their customers to finance energy efficiency upgrades, distributed generation systems and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. This week the committee approved HB 5806, which expands the ability of community colleges to enter into performance contracts for energy upgrades. Both measures previously passed the House with overwhelmingly bipartisan support, and are now awaiting action on the Senate floor.  


Michigan EIBC in Action

Michigan EIBC works hard to make sure the business voice for advanced energy in Michigan is heard loud and clear where it matters most. This section highlights some of our weekly activities so you can track our activities on your behalf. Any questions or want to make sure we’re aware of a key industry event? Contact us at

  • Michigan EIBC President Dan Scripps and Liesl Eichler Clark, VP for Policy and Business Engagement, attended the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum monthly meeting on Monday in Grand Rapids. The meeting featured a presentation on PACE by Michigan EIBC Board member Andy Levin of Levin Energy Partners.
  • Michigan EIBC hosted a discussion Tuesday on commercial opportunities in the Upper Peninsula, which was held at Michigan EIBC member Progressive AE.
  • Michigan EIBC hosted a policy committee planning meeting around 2015 priorities, which was held at Michigan EIBC member NOVI Energy.


Michigan Energy News

  • A panel of Michigan Court of Appeals judges has upheld a lower court ruling that invalidated wind-turbine restrictions Dallas, Bengal and Essex townships enacted in 2012 on a proposed $120 million, wind-power project.
  • Lawmakers are at odds over a bill that would change Michigan’s definition of renewable energy to count electricity generated by burning tires, used oil and industrial waste.
  • GLREA honored companies and individuals last week annual meeting. The Exemplary Project Award for the 1-800-LAW-BUILDING was presented to Prasad Gullapalli, Srinergy, and Michigan EIBC member Andy Levin, Lean & Green Michigan.  
  • Officials at Suniva Inc. announced a second phase of recruitment for jobs at the company’s new solar module assembly factory in Saginaw County.
  • Sustainable Partners LLC, which is involved in a similar power-generating operation in Lowell, says it has been selected to build a 1.4-megawatt, more than $8 million anaerobic digester at Beaver Creek Farm in Coopersville.
  • Michigan EIBC member Spider9, an advanced energy storage and controls company, announced this week the receipt of certification to UL 1741 standards for the company’s TriRack family of modular stationary energy storage products.
  • Consumers Energy filed a rate case seeking recovery of an addition $160 million per year.
  • DTE Energy and the City of Ann Arbor announced plans for a 1 MW solar installation at the Ann Arbor City Airport.


Upcoming Michigan Events 

MAREC is hosting How to Buy or Sell a Business on January 13, 2015 from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. in Muskegon.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is hosting a Michigan Wind Energy Forum on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 in Lansing. Registration is now open, and the early bird registration deadline is December 12.

Michigan State University’s Institute of Public Utilities is hosting its annual Michigan Forum on Economic Regulatory Policy on January 30, 2015 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing.

PlugVolt will be hosting the 2015 Battery Seminar in Plymouth, February 10 – 11, 2015.


Upcoming National Energy Events

MEEA will be hosting their annual Midwest Energy Solutions Conference to raise awareness and reinforce the importance of energy efficiency in the Midwest on January 28 – 30, 2015 in Chicago.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s arpa-e Energy Innovation Summit will be held February 9-11, 2015 in Washington D.C.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is sponsoring a Finance and Tax Seminar on February 26-27 in New York, NY.

The Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit 2015 is taking place April 13-15, 2015 in New York, NY. The theme for the 2015 Summit is “Opportunities in Transformation.”

The American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) annual WINDPOWER 2015 Conference and Exposition is being held May 18-21, 2015 in Orlando, FL. The early-bird registration deadline is February 24, 2015, with additional discounts for those who register by January 9. Michigan EIBC will be hosting a Michigan Pavilion at WINDPOWER 2015. If your company is interested in exhibition space as part of the Michigan Pavilion, please contact


U.S. Advanced Energy News

  • Attorneys general in at least a dozen states are working with energy companies and other corporate interests, which in turn are providing them with record amounts of money for their political campaigns, including at least $16 million this year.
  • Solar researchers working at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) claim to have produced a system that converts over 40 percent of incoming sunlight into electricity.
  • North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) gave Duke Energy approval to acquire and construct three large solar facilities as part of Duke Energy’s $500-million solar expansion.
  • The U.S. installed 1,354 MW of solar PV in Q3 2014, up 41 percent over Q3 2013, making it the second-largest quarter for solar installations in the history of the market.
  • The United Kingdom set a new record of electricity produced by windpower, figures for the National Grid figures showed that an average of 7.315GW.
  • National Grid has partnered with the electricity transmission developer Anbaric Transmission to propose a 1,000-megawatt undersea transmission cable that would bring Maine wind power and Canadian hydroelectricity to Massachusetts.


Advanced Energy Resources

  • The Department of Energy has unveiled a website that will provide free public access to accepted peer-reviewed manuscripts or published scientific journal articles from projects funded by the DOE within 12 months of publication.
  • Advanced Energy Economy, Michigan EIBC’s national partner organization, has launched PowerSuite, a new 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.
  • First Energy Finance, which includes Michigan EIBC Board Member Rachel Tronstein, launched, a new 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 has launched 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 Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker, an online resource developed by Advanced Energy Economy, Michigan EIBC’s national partner, and the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University, features a free, searchable database of pending and enacted advanced energy legislation covering electric generation, energy efficiency, infrastructure, energy finance, economic development and other issues.
  • DOE’s Wind Program recently updated its website, expanding its Offshore Wind RD&D webpage to a full section, including content on its portfolio of technology development, market acceleration, and demonstration projects. The program’s offshore wind portfolio is aimed at overcoming key barriers to offshore wind development, including the relatively high cost of energy, the mitigation of environmental impacts, the technical challenges of project installation, and grid interconnection. These pages create a hub for program-funded offshore wind project results, reports, and resources, and will be updated regularly as projects conclude.
  • The Energy Department has launched a new online tool—the Wind Career Map. The map highlights the broad range of careers and required skill sets across the wind industry


Funding Opportunities

  • Apply to participate in Rebuild Michigan, a program that helps commercial property owners reduce energy use, while saving money and improving building quality. Applications will be evaluated as they are received.
  • The Michigan Business Accelerator Fund provides support to organizations providing specialized business acceleration services and resources. Maximum funding is $50,000. Applications will be evaluated as they are received.
  • NextEnergy has launched NextChallenge, a business competition meant to inspire the development of innovative energy solutions. The challenge will address the unique lighting technology needs of Ford Motor Company and RecoveryPark, a major urban farming operation in Detroit. Participants are asked to submit an online Request for Solutions proposal to one, or both, lighting challenges by 11:59 p.m. EST on March 6, 2015. Michigan-based winners are eligible for up to $80,000 cash and/or in-kind support and non-Michigan-based winners are eligible for up to $40,000 in-kind support.
  • The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) through the Energy Office (MEO) is offering small businesses, currently located in Michigan, financial assistance for energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy project implementation. Deadline: September 30, 2015 or until funds are exhausted.
  • The SunShot Initiative has released a notice of intent to Issue Solar Energy Manufacturing 2 Funding Announcement.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy will provide loans for projects that employ innovative and renewable or efficient energy technologies. Deadlines: January 14, 2015; December 2, 2015: March 2, 2016
  • MEDC opening funding announcements.
  • Funding opportunities listed on NextEnergy’s website.
  • Financial opportunities from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
  • U.S. Small Business Administration grants.
  • The United States Department of Energy announced the topics for an upcoming funding opportunity for small businesses which include two geothermal subtopics: a) innovations to develop under-utilized markets and b) a technology transfer opportunity for coproduced geothermal resources. Letters of intent are due December 15 and full applications by February 3, 2015.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy will provide loans for projects that employ innovative and renewable or efficient energy technologies. Deadlines: January 14, 2015; December 2, 2015: March 2, 2016
  • DOE-SBIR provides funding to small businesses using a funding ladder similar to that of cleantech investors with $150,000-$225,000 at Phase I; $1 million-1.5 million at Phase II; a potential additional $1 million for sequential Phase II and Phase III (not-set-aside funded) at up to $4.5 million.
  • Mandatory Letter of Intent deadline: December 15, 2014 Application (requires LOI) deadline: February 3, 2015.
    • The Physics of Reliability: Evaluating Design Insights for Component Technologies in Solar 2 (PREDICTS 2) funding opportunity announcement (FOA) seeks research and development projects that will advance the reliability and durability of solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies. These projects will directly support SunShot’s mission to cut the cost of solar energy technologies and increase widespread deployment of safe, reliable and efficient solar electricity nationwide. The federal funding for this opportunity will likely range from $500,000 to $1,500,000 with a minimum 10%-20% required awardee cost share.
    • Submission Deadline for Concept Papers January 7, 2015 at 5:00pm ET
    • Submission Deadline for Full Applications March 12, 2015 at 5:00pm ET
    • Submission Deadline for Replies to Reviewer Comments April 22, 2015 at 5:00pm ET



The Energy Department will present a live webinar titled “Marine and Hydrokinetic (MHK) Technology Development Risk Management Framework” on Tuesday, December 16, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

The Energy Department will present a live webcast titled “Small and Distributed Wind Turbine Update” on Wednesday, December 17, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Energy Department and U.S. Department of Agriculture will present a live webinar titled “Residential Energy Efficiency Deep Dive, Part Two” on Thursday, December 18, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Energy Department and U.S. Department of Agriculture will present a live webinar titled “On-Bill Financing” on Thursday, January 8, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.