- Newsletter (386)
This newsletter was originally published on April 5, 2017.
Large Energy Shifts Continue Across United States
Last week, President Trump signed an executive order to reverse the Obama administration’s energy policies and re-incentivize traditional energy sources such as oil and coal. The President’s actions go against a historical move toward clean and renewable energy.
U.S. Energy Information Administration
Most U.S. energy comes from natural gas, coal, and nuclear sources. However, while the total amount of energy produced by the U.S. has steadily declined since the early 2000s – with significant drops in coal and nuclear production – renewable energy production is on the rise. Combined, renewable energy production grew by 7% last year, while fossil fuel production decreased by 7%.
As clean energy production grew, so did clean energy jobs. Nationally, solar jobs increased by 25% in 2016, topping out at over 260,000 workers in the solar industry.
Utility companies have taken these trends as a sign that the clean and renewable energy industry will continue to grow, despite federal deregulation. In a survey of electric utility professionals across the country, respondents expressed that utilities will continue to move toward green energy, even if regulations requiring the move are lifted.
Michigan Utilities Working on New Data-Driven Incentives for Efficiency and Demand Response
Michigan utility companies Consumers Energy and DTE are working to build incentive programs to help customers reduce energy use and save money. These programs are based on measuring individual households’ energy usage with meters to track not only how much energy a customer is using, but when the energy is being used. This tells utilities who is contributing to peak demand times, during which high usage drives up the cost of energy, and allows them to offer customers incentives to reduce their usage during peak times.
Consumers Energy has nearly completed the roll-out of their Smart Meter, which gives customers the option to have their compressors automatically switched off periodically during Critical Peak Hours in the hottest months of the year. Consumers Energy spokesperson Roger Morgenstern explained, “The fan still works while this is all going on. The customer is going to be comfortable. They probably won’t even notice a change.” This is expected to result in both decreased energy bills and rebates in June, July, and September.
Consumers hopes to grow participation in its demand response programs from around 4,500 currently-enrolled customers to 400,0000 over the next five years. DTE already has over than 340,000 enrolled in a comparable program, and is also planning to expand enrollment.
Because Michigan has such a large deployment of smart meters, J.R. Tolbert of Advanced Energy Economy says, “Michigan is poised to lead the way in this area, poised to lead the way in managing its energy consumption and energy demand probably better than any other Midwest state is.” Advanced Energy Economy estimates demand response could save Michigan residents as much as 1.2 billion dollars over the next decade.
The 5th Annual Member Meeting is Right Around the Corner
Michigan EIBC’s 5th Annual Member Meeting is fast approaching. The all-day event, which will take place on Wednesday, April 26, at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing, provides attendees with an opportunity to network, learn about innovations in advanced energy, and get an overview on the latest policy developments.
Confirmed mainstage speakers for this year’s event include:
- Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, Grand Rapids
- Valerie Brader, Executive Director, Michigan Agency for Energy
- Mayor Jim Carruthers, Traverse City
- Representative Gary Glenn, 98th District, Chair of the House Energy Committee
- Trevor Lauer, President and COO, DTE Electric
- Kevin Miller, Director of Public Policy, ChargePoint
- Brian Pageau, President, Midwest Energy Group
- Eric Shreffler, Managing Director – Automotive Programs, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
- Ed Straub, Technical Program Director, The American Center for Mobility
- Chairman Sally Talberg, MPSC
Along with the mainstage speakers, there will be several break-out panels throughout the day, on topics including:
- Building the Market: Corporate Advanced Energy Procurement
- The Cutting Edge: Building an Energy Innovation Ecosystem
- Distribution Solutions to Improve Grid Resiliency
- Driving Innovation and Efficiency through Advanced Lighting
- From Energy Optimization to Energy Waste Reduction: The Role of CHP, Demand Response, and Load Management in the New Efficiency Landscape
- Selling Projects Under the New RPS: New Markets, New Challenges
Panelists from the following companies/organizations have been confirmed:
- Bratic Enterprises
- DTE Energy
- Growth Capital Network
- Lincus Inc.
- Michigan CAT
- Michigan Public Power Agency
- Michigan Public Service Commission
- Schneider Electric
- Sustainable Partners
- Wolverine Power Cooperative
The Annual Member Meeting attracts a broad range of industry leaders from renewable energy, energy efficiency, transportation, and the utility sector. All EIBC members are invited to attend, and can RSVP here.
Sponsorship opportunities are also available. Sponsors will have direct access to industry leaders during this day-long conference that offers unique insight and unmatched networking opportunities. Current sponsors include:
Michigan Energy News
- According to a report released by The Solar Foundation, Michigan communities are benefiting from alternative energy as solar jobs increase. In the past year, solar-related jobs in Michigan increased from 2,779 to 4,118 – a 48% growth rate!
- Solar maker Suniva Inc. closed a facility in Saginaw Township, and the township has stated that if the closure is permanent, the company owes the township money.
- Ellington Township officials are being sued by NextEra Energy Resources LLC over plans to build a $200 million wind farm in central Tuscola County. This is the second lawsuit against a township regarding the company’s plans in as many months. Complaints include claims that township officials have systematically tried to prevent the project from going forward, that the township violated the state’s Open Meetings Act, that the township violated due process and more.
- Consumers Energy has filed an application with the Michigan Public Service Commission seeking to increase rates by $173 million.
- The U.S. Department of Defense is planning to install a microgrid at Fort Custer to ensure greater resilience while also contributing to the critical power needs of nearby military installations. The proposed microgrid will feature 1375 kW of legacy diesel generators, 720 kW of solar PV, and 400 kW of energy storage.
- DTE Energy is planning to upgrade 140 miles of Michigan’s natural gas pipelines.
- A University of Michigan nuclear energy research lab has been renovated and is scheduled to reopen this week.
- DTE and Consumers Energy are required to report with the Michigan Public Service Commission on their response to widespread power outages caused by recent wind storms
- The Michigan Public Service Commission has begun a two-year process of implementing a host of new energy laws, including developing a new distributed resource tariff for rooftop solar customers and developing guidelines for utility companies to forecast upcoming rate cases. For information on progress, check out their website.
- Consumers Energy has issued a Request for Proposals to acquire a natural gas plant of up to 800 MW in what the utility describes as part of its plans to address the implications of accelerating the closure of the Palisades nuclear plant in late 2018. Notices of intent to bid are due by April 10, with full proposals due on May 15.
- Midland Cogeneration Ventures is planning a $500 million expansion that would increase its electrical capacity from 1633 MW to 2300 MW and increase its steam output from 1.5 million metric tons per hour to approximately 2 million metric tons per hour.
National Energy News
- The Trump administration is planning to cut half-billion dollars from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable energy, the main U.S. hub for renewable energy research. This cut comes out to 25% of the agency’s budget, and even deeper cuts are expected to be sought for 2018.
- The Trump Administration has not announced whether the U.S. will pull out of the Paris climate agreement, but the administration has been advised by China and Exxon Mobile to keep the U.S. in the agreement.
- In uncertainty over the future of the Clean Power Plan, states including Minnesotaand Ohio will continue to invest in renewables. Likewise, mayors from 75 U.S. cities have pledged to double down on climate action.
- Tesla will begin taking orders for solar roof tiles.
- The Missouri House of Representatives will vote this week on whether utility companies should charge customers with solar panels an additional monthly fee. Meanwhile, Oregon lawmakers are considering whether to extend a tax credit that gives residents up to $6,000 for the installation of a rooftop solar system.
- National solar company Sunrun launched a new solar operation in Wisconsin.
- A developer is looking to install solar panels on city-owned and public school buildings in a city in northwest Illinois.
- Some Minnesota communities are collectively buying shares in solar projects.
- An Ohio community is considering a solar project on a vacant school site.
- West Virginia regulators approved a utility company’s request to purchase 120 megawatts of power from an Indiana wind farm.
- An Ohio municipal utility plans to keep a 109-year-old coal plant running “for many more years.”
- A plan is in the works for a $28 million biodiesel facility in Illinois that would double the original planned production capacity to 100 million gallons a year.
- EIBC Member Company Veolia, the global leader in optimized resource management, announced a new partnership with Carbon Clean Solutions Limited for large-scale rollout of Carbon Clean Solutions Limited’s carbon dioxide separate technology.
- Utilities are turning to energy storage as a cheaper and more effective way to meet surges in energy demand.
- Toyota will invest $35 million on research partnerships with several universities to improve electric vehicle batteries.
- Electric vehicle company Faraday Future has canceled plans to build an assembly plant in California.
Michigan Energy Events
The 2017 Michigan Battle of the Buildings Energy Summit is taking place Wednesday, April 19 at the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids. The event includes a plenary address by Michigan Agency for Energy Director Valerie Brader, an awards presentation, panel discussions, and more.
The Michigan Public Service Commission’s Distributed Generation Workgroup will meet again on April 19 at the Public Service Commission office. Stay tuned for more details!
Michigan EIBC’s 5th Annual Member Meeting will take place on Wednesday, April 26 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. This annual event brings together leaders in Michigan’s advanced energy industry, utility executives, policymakers, regulators, and others. This year’s Annual Member Meeting will feature discussions on grid modernization and infrastructure, corporate procurement of advanced energy, and how energy, IT, and transportation are converging to create the new mobility industry, among many others. Registration is open now, and sponsorship opportunities are also available.
The Michigan Geothermal Energy Association is hosting its 2017 annual meeting on April 26-27 at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mt. Pleasant. Trevor Lauer, president and chief operating officer of DTE Electric, will speak at the dinner on April 26. More information is available by contacting Larry Kaufman by email or at 248-396-8231.
The 2017 Energy Efficiency Conference and Exhibition, hosted by DTE Energy and the Engineering Society of Detroit, will take place May 9 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. The conference is now accepting proposals for presentations on topics related to energy efficiency.
TRC is hosting a two-day conference on Developing Solar on Landfills and Brownfields on June 12-13 in Chicago. The event brings together landowners, who will learn about how to turn their brownfield liabilities into clean energy assets, while solar developers will learn how to choose and develop on brownfields.
National Energy Events
The Energy Storage Association’s 27th Annual Conference and Expo is taking place April 18-20 in Denver. This event brings together leaders in the global energy industry working at the nexus of policy, technology and markets for energy storage.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s annual Future of Energy Summit will take place April 24-25 in New York. This annual event brings together traditional players and advanced energy leaders to discuss the critical energy issues of today and the next decade.
The annual AWEA Windpower Conference is taking place May 22-25 in Anaheim, CA. The marquee event for the US wind industry returns with top-tier speakers, world-class education, cutting edge technology, and premium marketing.
Greentech Media’s Grid Edge World Forum 2017 will be held in San Jose, CA on June 27-29. As the only conference exclusively focused on emerging distributed energy system, this event highlights the trends, opportunities, and innovation happening at the grid edge.
The Michigan Public Service Commission has unveiled a new website to serve as a resource for information on changes to energy legislation in Michigan. The website is www.michigan.gov/energylegislation.
The Midwest Energy Group has announced the launch of an e-newsletter, which can be accessed here.
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant cycle is open to agricultural producers and rural small businesses, awarding grants for renewable energy projects in rural communities and agricultural areas. Grants can be used for the purchase, installation, and construction of a Renewable Energy System or Energy Efficiency Improvement. REAP Grants provide a 25% cash reimbursement of the total system costs, with a maximum grant of $500,000 for Renewable Energy Systems and $250,000 for Energy Efficiency Improvements. Applications for projects with Total Project Costs of $80,000 or less are now closed. Applications for projects with Total Project Costs greater than $80,000 are accepted through Monday, May 1, 2017. The Application Templates and Forms are available at USDA Rural Development Offices or online.
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.
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 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.
Applications are open until April 18 for NextEnergy I-Corps Energy and Transportation business programs. Participating teams have a chance to attend the national I-Corps program, where they work through the business model and receive a $50,000 grant.