Newsletter: Support for MISO Tranche 2, Conference Registration Open and More

Welcome to the weekly newsletter of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC), the business voice for advanced energy in Michigan. Here’s what’s new this week:


Michigan EIBC, Gov. Whitmer Push for Next Set of Midwest Transmission Lines

Significantly expanding transmission infrastructure is one of the most important steps needed for Michigan and the country as a whole to enable the connection of enough new renewable energy to meet clean energy goals, and the biggest action yet on new transmission in the Midwest is up for consideration this year. Recently prominent Midwestern governors, including Gov. Whitmer, as well as Michigan EIBC, called for the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the transmission grid operator for most of the central U.S., to take expeditious action on the next big milestone for transmission buildout in the region.

MISO is considering approval of Tranche 2 in its long-term transmission planning process, consisting of multiple transmission lines to be built across MISO’s Midwest subregion, which includes Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. Tranche 2 builds from Tranche 1, a set of 18 transmission lines in MISO Midwest that were approved by MISO in 2022.

Tranche 1 is a major accomplishment, as it is expected to lead to nearly $70 billion in benefits for customers in MISO due to lower power costs from the new renewable energy projects made possible by the transmission buildout. Other benefits include helping to improve grid reliability and resiliency, and support state economic development efforts. Tranche 1 includes two projects in Michigan that will be considered by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) later this year. 

But as significant as Tranche 1 is, Tranche 2 “is going to be an order of magnitude bigger than what we’ve done in Tranche 1,” MISO Vice President of System Planning and Competitive Transmission Aubrey Johnson has said.

On Dec. 6, 2023, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker jointly sent a letter to the MISO Board of Directors and MISO CEO John Bear calling for the approval of MISO Tranche 2 “without delay.” Tranche 2 “will help us build a robust regional grid providing broad access to lower-cost electricity generated from clean energy to our residents.” In 2021, the governors had publicly called for MISO to approve Tranche 1, saying that “we cannot allow the transmission system to become a barrier to meeting our climate commitments.”

In addition, Michigan EIBC also sent a letter to Bear calling for swift action on Tranche 2. “MISO’s system continues to strain under the burden of increasingly frequent and severe weather events, accommodating a rapidly transitioning generation fleet, and expectations of increased load growth. There is no time to waste in making the necessary transmission investments to ensure system demand and reliability are met,” the letter said.

Testimony Calls for True Community Solar and More Third Party Involvement in Consumers Energy’s Voluntary Green Pricing Program 

For the past few years, we have been successfully pushing DTE and Consumers Energy to open up their voluntary green pricing programs to more competition and more project offerings so that customers have better options to buy renewable energy directly than the limited and unnecessarily expensive initial offerings from those utilities. In an ongoing case before the MPSC, Consumers Energy is seeking approval for changes to its voluntary green pricing program. In testimony for Michigan EIBC, the Institute for Energy Innovation and Advanced Energy United, Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman argued the MPSC has the opportunity in this case to further require the utility to establish a true community solar program, pursue projects developed by third parties and purchase renewable energy credits generated by distributed generation installations.

In this case, Consumers Energy is proposing to make permanent its Solar Gardens program, which allows customers to subscribe to the output of utility-owned solar installations. But in her testimony, Dr. Sherman argued that the program should not be made permanent given Consumers Energy’s continued “recalcitrance” to make it a true community solar program.

Solar Gardens “does not allow customers and communities direct access to solar located in their community, it is not community-driven, and it does not provide the same magnitude of economic benefits that could be provided by an expanded program with third-party ownership of the solar assets,” she said in her testimony. While Consumers Energy describes the program as “community solar,” by the utility’s own admission, no customer can expect to receive any financial benefit from participating. “It is a premium program, not a cost-saving program for customers,” Sherman said.

In 2022, Consumers Energy agreed to a settlement with a provision to push Solar Gardens closer to a community solar program, with the addition of an “anchor tenant” option, in which a central tenant like a school, church or business can host community solar projects. But Consumers Energy has yet to test this arrangement on a pilot level, Sherman pointed out. She recommended that instead of making permanent this limited program that lacks true community solar benefits, Consumers Energy be required to apply for an entirely new community solar program. 

Next, when soliciting sources of renewable energy to provide green power for customers participating in the program, Consumers Energy has sought only resources to be owned by the company itself, Sherman testified. That practice makes the program’s offerings more expensive than they could be because more competitive solicitations have a proven track record of reducing costs. For example, MPSC reports have shown that for years of data going back to 2009, purchased power agreements (PPAs) have consistently had a lower weighted average cost than company-owned projects.

Sherman recommended that Consumers Energy be required to procure roughly equivalent megawatts from third-party PPAs as it does from company-owned resources.

She also testified about Consumers Energy’s decision to apparently not purchase any renewable energy credits from customer-owned distributed generation resources, and recommended that the utility be required to recognize more of these credits.

Registration Open for 12th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Conference in East Lansing on April 24

Registration is now open for Michigan EIBC’s most popular event of the year! Our 12th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Conference will be held April 24 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing. Get your tickets now!

For information on sponsorship opportunities and benefits, please click here or contact Brianna Gerard at

Stay tuned for announcements about speakers and panels soon!

Thank you to our sponsors:




The Watt

New Members

We design and manufacture the systems that define the way the world moves forward. With the world’s foremost technologists, engineers and OEMs, we’re accelerating the world’s transformation to eMobility. BorgWarner is a leading supplier of chargers for Electric and Hybrid battery power applications. Our portfolio includes a full range of DC Fast chargers, DC stations, hybrid chargers, high-frequency chargers, battery recovery, and multi-voltage chargers that provide customers with full-function solutions, including multi-dispenser sequential and bi-directional DC V2G chargers.

Roots Heating and Cooling

Roots Heating and Cooling is a customer focused heating and air-conditioning company that was originally started in 1990. Located in Millington, MI, we employ highly trained people whose goal is to make our company the best service company in Millington and surrounding areas. Our company specializes in designing, engineering, and installing complete comfort systems for owners of existing homes and buildings just like yours. We take special pride in the craftsmen we train and employ–a fact you’ll notice immediately in the attitude and integrity they bring to your job site. Our entire company works hard to make your experience with us hassle-free and enjoyable. Should we make a mistake, we will do everything in our power to correct it to your satisfaction.

Renewing Member


West Monroe
West Monroe works with the nation’s largest electric, gas, and water utilities in their telecommunication, grid modernization, and digital and workforce transformations. West Monroe brings a multidisciplinary team that blends utility, operational experience, customer solutions, digital products, and technology and regulatory expertise to address grid modernization, advisory on building and transportation electrification, transitioning to digital, Integrating DER, re-engineering to decarbonization, improving resiliency, discovering value through data, and cybersecurity. West Monroe is a national practice with Michigan representation.

Michigan Energy News

  • The U.S. Department of Energy will reportedly offer Holtec International a $1.5 billion loan by late February to allow it to restart the Palisades nuclear plant.
  • BBC News reports on the installation of the first wireless electric road in the U.S. in Detroit’s Corktown area.
  • Bridge Detroit reports on difficulties that a shortage of contractors is having for weatherization programs.
  • “Thanks to the Clean Energy & Jobs Act, Michigan is investing in energy storage for the first time in our state’s history to fortify our energy supply and make it more reliable,” State Rep. Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia) writes in a letter to the Detroit News.
  • Gov. Whitmer joins members of Energy Innovation, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights at an Evergreen Action-hosted panel to discuss Michigan’s new energy laws.

National Energy News

  • The increasing interest in clean hydrogen is amplifying the debate among climate policy advocates over whether hydrogen should be used as a power plant fuel.
  • FERC approves changes to Mid-Atlantic grid operator PJM’s capacity market that are meant to bolster reliability.
  • Severe weather has shown to reduce the long-term productivity of solar panels, according to a study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
  • A new bill in Virginia would require the state to consider competitive offshore wind bids from parties beyond just the regulated utility Dominion Energy.
  • Energy News Network reports on successes that New Hampshire has experienced with a recent “community power” law that authorizes municipalities to procure power directly instead of through local distribution companies. 

Job Board

Attention Michigan EIBC members: if you have a job announcement you would like in the newsletter, please send a paragraph describing the position and a link to apply to Matt Bandyk at Please include in the email a specific end date for the job posting.

Advanced Energy United

Policy Director – Decision Maker Education & Engagement – Central. Location: Remote.

Advanced Energy United is currently seeking an experienced, strategic and innovative Director to focus on decision maker education and engagement in central states. The Director will work with other United team members to develop and implement educational strategies designed to achieve policy successes at the state level that will expand markets for the advanced energy industry and accelerate the U.S. transition to 100% clean energy.

Policy Director – Decision Maker Education & Engagement – West. Location: Remote.

Advanced Energy United is currently seeking an experienced, strategic and innovative Director to focus on decision maker education and engagement in western states. The Director will work with other United team members to develop and implement educational strategies designed to achieve policy successes at the state level that will expand markets for the advanced energy industry and accelerate the U.S. transition to 100% clean energy. 


Director, Community Programs (MI).

The Director, Community Programs leads and manages Elevate’s Community Programs team in Michigan. The Director is responsible for implementing programs in partnership with community organizations, municipalities, and state agencies related to affordable housing and resilient communities, with an emphasis on building decarbonization – energy and water efficiency, electrification, and renewable energy. The Director, Community Programs collaborates with departments across the organization as well as with key partner organizations. The Director leads strategic planning, resourcing and process improvement on this fast-growing team.

Michigan and National Energy Events

The Consumers Energy Clean Energy Workforce Training Program is running an “Upskilled” Program on Feb. 12 at Jackson Community College. The company is seeking contractors in Jackson and the surrounding areas who have a need for their employees or themselves to be upskilled. Applications for the 2024 Upskilled Program are due Feb. 2.

Michigan EIBC and Michigan EGLE’s Home Energy Rebate Convening is scheduled for Feb. 21 in Ann Arbor. Register here.

Michigan EIBC’s 12th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Conference will be held April 24 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing. Get your tickets now!



Invest In Our Future is hiring for several positions, including a Program Manager with regional connections in the Midwest.

Climate Power is hiring a Michigan States Desk temporary position. This is a remote, temporary position to support work through the election cycle “to drive the narrative on how the Inflation Reduction Act and the clean energy boom are benefiting residents.” Find out more here.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is hiring an Engineer in its Energy & Recycling Section. Find out more here.

The City of Detroit is soliciting proposals from qualified solar providers to design, engineer, build, operate, maintain, and decommission installations of ground-mount solar PV projects. Proposals are due Feb. 15.

The MPSC has released a request for proposals for a $21.3 million renewable energy and electrification infrastructure enhancement and development grant program. Applications are due Feb. 21

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office has announced a $38 million funding opportunity focused on cross-sector technologies for industrial decarbonization. Applications are due March 20Learn more here.

Michigan EGLE has several open grant applications related to energy efficiency for businesses, local governments, tribal governments and farmers, as well as support for public, private, or nonprofit entities for deploying publicly available fast-charging electric vehicle stations along the Lake Michigan Circuit. These applications have various deadlines from January to March of 2024Find more information here.