- Newsletter (395)
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:
Testimony Calls for Removal of DG Cap for Consumers Energy
Michigan EIBC, the Institute for Energy Innovation (IEI) and Advanced Energy United argue in new testimony filed in Consumers Energy’s pending electric rate case that the utility should eliminate its cap on distributed generation (DG), expand and improve transportation electrification programs and clarify the eligibility of customers to participate in wholesale demand response programs with third-party aggregators.
In its last rate case, Consumers Energy agreed to increase the size of its DG program maximum enrollment from 2% to 4% of the utility’s five-year average in-state peak load. But given the fast adoption of rooftop solar in Consumers Energy’s territory, this higher cap will eventually be reached, creating uncertainty for rooftop solar customers and installers in the meantime. “Given that there is no technical, safety, or cost-based reason to maintain the DG cap, I propose that the Company should eliminate the limits on the DG program moving forward,” Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman wrote in her testimony.
In addition, in this rate case, Consumers Energy is also proposing changes to its PowerMIDrive program, which offers rebates for home EV chargers, and its PowerMIFleet commercial fleet electrification program. In her testimony, Sherman argues that the rebates Consumers Energy is offering under PowerMIDrive are misaligned with the costs of EV charging infrastructure and should be increased. In addition, she urged the utility to explore the use of “make-ready” infrastructure programs to support market deployment of charging stations. “Through make-ready programs, utilities might, for instance, invest in rate-based distribution upgrades and branch line extensions, while leaving investments in chargers, charger ownership, operation and maintenance, marketing, customer service, and network operation to experienced private sector providers,” she wrote.
Michigan EIBC, IEI and Advanced Energy United also sponsored testimony from Peter Dotson-Westphalen, senior director of regulatory and government affairs at Michigan EIBC member CPower. He testified about the ability of Consumers Energy customers to participate in demand response programs. In 2022, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) moved to partially lift the prohibition on aggregated demand response resources to participate in wholesale electricity markets. That decision opens up opportunities for third-party aggregators of retail customers (ARCs) to offer customers demand response programs that can save them money and increase their energy efficiency. Dotson-Westphalen testified that Consumers Energy should update tariffs with language that explicitly clarifies that customers are eligible to participate in wholesale demand response with an ARC, and that the MPSC should direct Consumers Energy “to propose new or modify existing demand response offerings to unbundle the wholesale and retail benefits, products and services that may be provided by its customers under such tariffs.”
Michigan EIBC Is Hiring A Policy Fellow
Michigan EIBC and the Institute for Energy Innovation (IEI) are hiring a full-time policy fellow! The initial fellowship term will be one year with the potential for extension dependent on the candidate’s performance and availability of funding.
Anticipated tasks include:
- Policy research, especially focused on transportation electrification
- Development of regulatory arguments and writing of expert witness testimony
- Support for development of expanded mobility work, including background research
- Communication and collaboration with members of the advanced energy industry
- Support of mobility-specific initiatives, including research and report writing
Desired qualifications include:
- Policy, technical, or educational experience in mobility or transportation electrification
- Strong writing and research skills
- Graduate-level degree (preferred) in business, political science, sustainability, clean energy, environment, or related field or equivalent experience
- Experience communicating with business leaders and balancing the multiple interests
- Eagerness to step in to help with any task to support a small team
- Ability to communicate professionally with business leaders and partners
- Ability to balance multiple tasks at once
- Strong self-motivation and ability to take initiative
Tickets Closing Soon for 11th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala in Detroit on Sept. 27
Michigan EIBC is excited to welcome our members, Michigan legislators and state officials, and the general public to our 11th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on September 27th at The Eastern in Detroit. Gala is a wonderful opportunity to network with colleagues, policymakers, and industry experts, all while celebrating the individuals and businesses who succeeded in growing Michigan’s advanced energy sector.
Ticket sales are closing next week! Get your tickets now while you still can by clicking here.
The keynote speaker will be Shalanda Baker, Director, Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior to her appointment, she was a Professor of Law, Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. She was the co-founder and co-director of the Initiative for Energy Justice, which provides technical law and policy support to communities on the front lines of climate change. Baker served as an Air Force officer prior to her honorable discharge pursuant to the then existing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and became a vocal advocate for repeal of the policy. She earned a B.S. in Political Science from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a J.D. from Northeastern University, and L.L.M. from the University of Wisconsin.
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The Watt Level (Sold Out)
Merjent is an environmental consulting firm, founded in Minneapolis, MN, with a long history of assisting clients in the energy industry on projects located throughout the United States. Merjent’s team specializes in planning and feasibility, environmental permitting, surveys (wetlands, threatened and endangered species, cultural), public outreach, visualization, inspection, restoration and compliance management for the energy industry. Merjent has over 180 full-time office employees in 14 states (10 staff in Michigan) and nationwide project experience and expertise. As an environmental specialty firm, our staff have planned, permitted, and monitored projects in all states except Hawaii.
With over 40 years of combined experience in the electrical utility industry, ecojiva, LLC is a full-service solar energy management system provider. ecojiva, LLC designs Photovoltaic (PV) solar energy solutions for agriculture, commercial, and industrial enterprises, and is a full-service turn-key enterprise from inception to completion. Our engineers design PV systems that provide access to power independent of the utility grid, and creates surplus power that can be returned to the grid. Founded by utility industry veteran Sridhar K. Ayer, ecojiva, LLC is committed to energy innovation in the solar industry not only as a technology provider but through education and advocacy as well. The company’s expertise also encompasses Transmission & Distribution design services, patent-pending eco-DMT™ energy management system, and ecoSEMS™ complete solar energy solutions.
Since 2006, Harvest Solar’s mission has been to assist residential, agricultural, commercial, and utility customers in becoming more sustainable, efficient and independent with renewable energy. We pride ourselves on partnering with our customers throughout this experience, consistently delivering quality, custom-designed & engineered, cost-effective energy systems.
Michigan Energy News
- Sen. Sam Singh and University of Michigan’s Director of Sustainable Climate Action Engagement Liesl Clark talk to WDET’s Detroit Today about Michigan’s potential transition to 100% clean energy.
- When it comes to energy efficiency policy, Michigan has taken a dramatically different—and dramatically more successful—path compared to its neighbor Ohio, Martin Kushler, senior fellow with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, writes in a letter to the Columbus Dispatch
- Michigan is lagging other states in terms of the amount of money it is receiving from federal grants and loans for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects for farms and rural small businesses, Michigan Radio reports.
- Realizing the goals of the MI Healthy Climate Plan is necessary to protect the health of the Great Lakes, Cory Connolly, climate and energy advisor in the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy’s (EGLE) Office of Climate and Energy, writes.
- Michigan’s rate of power outages is double the national average, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
National Energy News
- Battery storage may have been a critical factor preventing rolling blackouts in Texas this week, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).
- Federal appeals court upholds FERC’s revisions to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), rejecting arguments that FERC’s move was not encouraging the development of “qualifying facilities,” like renewable energy projects that sign contracts with utilities under PURPA.
- California utilities are fighting a proposal to create a new payment structure for community solar in that state.
- New Hampshire utilities surprise solar advocates by coming out in favor of net metering.
- Microsoft says it will purchase $200 million in carbon credits from a startup that is attempting to catch and hold carbon dioxide in limestone.
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 email@example.com. Please include in the email a specific end date for the job posting.
Advanced Energy United
Advanced Energy United is currently seeking a highly energetic, smart, self-starting Policy Principal with a background in regulatory engagement, issue advocacy, and coalition building to join United’s policy and campaign team in the West. The Principal will work collaboratively with United’s state teams to craft and execute creative policy campaigns that will achieve successful state regulatory action to accelerate the energy transition and expand markets for the advanced energy industry. Policy topics may include distributed energy resources, transmission and interconnection, resource planning, future of gas and building decarbonization, transportation electrification, western regional market formation, and utility business model reform. The Principal will also work under the direction of United’s western regulatory Policy Director to build out United’s regulatory presence and strengthen relationships with decision-makers in western states. Candidates will need to have the ability to travel to meet with United members, coalition allies and stakeholders, and public officials.
Cultivate Power is seeking a Director of Community Partnerships & Investment. This person will help originate, develop and foster community partnership and investment opportunities in the host communities and regions where Cultivate Power develops distributed energy projects. Additionally, the Director will work to build systems and standardized processes for engaging communities on every project. This is a unique role with the opportunity for the Director to drive industry-leading impact to create greater inclusion, equity and benefit to communities through innovation and creation of new programs and partnerships. The Director will report directly to one of the Managing Directors and co-founders of Cultivate Power.
Michigan and National Energy Events
The Battery Show North America 2023 is taking place Sept. 12-14 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. Register here.
Tickets are available for the 11th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on Sept. 27 at The Eastern in Detroit.
Michigan EIBC member Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University is calling all innovators to apply for its Industrial Decarbonization Innovation Challenge. The goal of this challenge is to globally crowdsource best-in-class industrial decarbonization technologies and connect them with industrial corporate sponsors to accelerate their emission reduction goals and industrial decarbonization programs. Up to $250,000 in prizes will be made available to demonstrate and test best-in-class industrial decarbonization technologies in a real world setting. An informational webinar about this challenge will be held on Sept. 14. Click here to learn more about the challenge. Applications will close on Nov. 30.
Acadia Center is seeking to fill the role of Senior Director, Climate & Clean Energy Programs. Learn more here.
Michigan EGLE is hiring a Climate Action Officer. This position will be responsible for evaluating policy and program options and implementation efficacy toward achieving the Office of Climate and Energy’s (OCE) mission and vision. Duties include researching climate policies and necessary data, gathering stakeholders’ and experts’ opinions and advice, and presenting Michigan’s best policy options for moving forward. The position will focus specifically on the implementation of the Climate Pollution Reduction Grant program. Find out more about this position and apply by clicking here.
Consumers Energy plans to issue a RFP for solar generation projects in accordance with the company’s Proposed Course of Action in its Integrated Resource Plan. This forthcoming RFP is separate and distinct from the ongoing Consumers Energy 2023 VGP RFP for Wind and Solar generation projects.Enel X anticipates formally releasing the upcoming RFP and associated documents in October 2023.
The Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity (LEO) has two job openings: Director of Mobility Policy, who will be an advisor to LEO and serve as the lead policy staffer for the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, and Policy Director, who will cover a broad portfolio of issues across the entire department including workforce development, economic mobility and workplace rights and safety.
Organizations currently have the opportunity to work with a grad student from the University of Michigan School for Environment & Sustainability (SEAS) for their Master’s Projects. In these projects, “students work on research teams with client organizations and faculty advisors to address complex environmental issues and design innovative, impactful products,” according to SEAS. Learn more here. Proposals for projects are due by October 1, 2023.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to expand the weatherization assistance program utilizing bipartisan infrastructure law funding for multi-family dwellings. The five-month award begins on May 1 and ends Sept. 30, 2023, with the total available amount being $1 million dollars. Successful applicants may be awarded funding annually through at least Sept. 30, 2028, based upon funding availability and acceptable performance. For more information or to apply, visit the EGrAMS website.
The City of Detroit has issued a Request for Information seeking feedback on the number and type of projects that would best achieve the goal of generating enough renewable energy to power municipal operations and buildings with locally generated and City-owned solar power. Find more information here. Responses are due October 2, 2023.