Newsletter: Welcome Policy Fellow Sophia Schuster, Whitmer State Fleet Directive 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:


Gov. Whitmer Moves to Shift State Fleets to Zero-Emission Vehicles

On Dec. 5, Gov. Whitmer signed an executive directive to convert light-duty vehicles in the state fleet to zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2033 and convert medium- and heavy-duty state fleet vehicles to ZEVs by 2040.

“Getting this done will help drive demand of Michigan-made electric vehicles, lower gas and maintenance costs for the state since ZEVs cost far less to fuel and maintain and reduce air and noise pollution in our communities,” the governor said in a statement.

The directive instructs state departments and agencies to “prioritize ZEVs in their fleet… prioritize transitioning vehicles that travel the most miles first… prioritize transitioning vehicles in communities historically impacted by higher pollution… [and] install electric vehicle supply equipment, including publicly accessible chargers, in high-density areas,” among many other steps.

“Moving our state vehicles to clean energy propulsion systems is a significant step towards Michigan’s leadership as a clean energy economy,” Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director at MICHauto, vice president for automotive and mobility initiatives at the Detroit Regional Chamber and Board member of the Institute for Energy Innovation, said. “Our state fleet will be a leading example of zero-emission vehicles on our roads and will help set a precedent for all public and personal transportation to move in this direction.” 

For years, Michigan EIBC and the Institute for Energy Innovation have been advocating the conversion of state fleets to EVs as a powerful step to expand the growth of EVs in the state overall. A 2019 report from the Institute for Energy Innovation, for example, called on the Whitmer administration “to use its purchasing power to catalyze investments in and uptake of EVs and related infrastructure” by electrifying state vehicle fleets.



Welcome Michigan EIBC and IEI Policy Fellow Sophia Schuster

We are excited to welcome Sophia Schuster to our team as the new policy fellow for Michigan EIBC and the Institute for Energy Innovation! 

Before joining Michigan EIBC, Sophia served as the Strategic Procurement Intern for Pennsylvania State University’s Office of Central Procurement, where she led a variety of projects focused on process improvement and financial analysis.

While pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Environmental Studies, Sophia participated in several major research ventures that focused on the migratory patterns of humpback whales in Hawaii and the implementation of small-scale hydroelectric systems to bring electricity to rural communities in Bhutan. In these roles, she gained a deep appreciation for stakeholder engagement and relationship management in advocating for environmental policies and development projects.

This, combined with experience in the retail and education sectors, propelled her to pursue an MBA and a Master’s in Supply Chain Management from Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, where she sought to understand the business case for sustainable development. Her graduate research focused specifically on firm environmental, social and governance (ESG) behavior, best practices and public communication in a saturated ESG index market.

Welcome Sophia!

Source: JK Nair.

In DTE Rate Case, MPSC Considers Vehicle-to-Grid Charging, Demand Response, EV Charging Pilots and More

In its recent order on DTE Electric’s rate case, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), in response to several positions taken by Michigan EIBC, Advanced Energy United and the Institute for Energy Innovation in testimony, revised DTE proposals for tariffs for vehicle-to-grid charging, demand response and business EV chargers, an electric school bus charging pilot, commercial time-of-use (TOU) rates and more in ways that may encourage the use of distributed energy or make those programs more open to third-party competition.

First, our testimony criticized the credit with which DTE was proposing to compensate customers who discharge power to the grid from an EV or stationary storage as too low, likely to lead to economic losses for those customers. In its order, the MPSC directed its staff to convene a stakeholder workgroup to develop tariff options for stand-alone storage and vehicle-to-grid charging next year so that a rate structure that is fair to customers can be fleshed out.

Next, on demand response, we argued that DTE should be required to unbundle the wholesale and retail elements of its programs so demand response aggregators, a business model with great potential for Michigan following a decision last year by the MPSC to lift a prohibition on wholesale market participation by third-party demand response providers, can offer to DTE retail demand response customers the option to enroll in the aggregators’ programs for wholesale demand response. Doing so would unleash competitive forces to make for better demand response offerings in Michigan. The MPSC found that our argument had merit and ordered its staff to convene a workgroup to study, among other issues, “whether tying of retail and wholesale DR programs by the retail electric provider is appropriate.”

Next, DTE requested to increase the funding for its program to install EV chargers at businesses. We supported the program but asked that DTE be required to provide more information to third-party developers. The MPSC approved the funding increase and also said that “DTE Electric should develop accurate capacity mapping to provide third-party developers.”

Third, DTE proposed a pilot program where it would install vehicle-to-grid chargers for electric school buses. We suggested changes to the program to ensure it is open to third-party EV charging companies. An administrative law judge (ALJ) agreed “that DTE Electric should commit to facilitating third-party ownership of the charging infrastructure,” and in its order, the MPSC approved the program along with the ALJ’s recommendation.

Finally, on TOU rates, our testimony recommended that the MPSC direct DTE to establish two optional TOU rates for commercial and industrial customers. The commissioners agreed with the need for these new rates and directed DTE to propose them in its next rate case.


Renewing Member


Advanced Energy Storage, LLC

Advanced Energy Storage, LLC has invented, developed and engineered an innovative energy storage and management system to: (1) provide sustainable critical power for infrastructure during emergency electrical grid outages, (2) manage peak load energy demand to lower utility costs for businesses and (3) serve as backup power to increase efficiency and output of other energy sources (e.g., hydroelectric, wind). The energy system is a mid-density, environmentally “green”, highly efficient and superior storage solution compared to lithium-ion and other chemical based battery storage systems. Our Power Pack Energy System, which is primarily used for emergency and back-up power applications, is uniquely designed as a scalable 20’ x 8’ battery unit. The Base Power Pack energy system stores 100kW hours of energy. The Standard Power Pack energy unit contains a wind turbine with a telescoping tower that when deployed can recharge the system in approximately 6 to 14 hours (depending on average wind speed) and can make the system fully sustainable off the grid. In addition, the Standard unit’s roof contains a bank of solar panels used to power the control panel lights, security system and the electronic controls inside the battery unit in the event the unit needs to be awakened and deployed from a fully discharged state. Its weight (approximately 34,000 lbs makes it air transportable using any one of 3 heavy lift commercial helicopters available in the US.


Michigan Energy News

National Energy News

  • The Biden administration is expected to set strict rules with hourly tracking requirements on tax credits for clean hydrogen production.
  • Automakers and environmental groups praise new rules for EV tax credits that are meant to block certain foreign entities from EV supply chains.
  • One of the long-duration storage demonstration projects receiving funding from the U.S. Department of Energy is an organic flow battery design from German developer CMBlu Energy.
  • A new report from advocacy group Think Microgrid grades each U.S. state on its microgrid policy.
  • Demand for efficient electric heat pumps is going strong in Maine, Energy News Network reports.


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.


Senior Program Manager, Michigan Justice 40 Accelerator. Location: Michigan, Hybrid.

Elevate’s Senior Program Manager, Michigan Justice 40 Accelerator supports Elevate’s mission by leading equity-focused programs and projects that support building the capacity of community-based organizations to implement community-driven climate solutions. The Senior Program Manager collaborates across the organization as well as with key partner organizations, public sector partners. The Senior Program Manager will serve as the primary point of contact for the MI Justice40 Accelerator cohort members on their journey of federal funding readiness and implementation.

Energy Project Manager, Community Programs (MI). Location: Southeast Michigan.

The Technical Project Manager, Community Programs (MI) leads the implementation of projects and small programs, maintains client relationships, and assists with program development for specific initiatives related to affordable housing and sustainable communities with an emphasis on energy and water efficiency and renewable energy. Many projects focus on utility affordability, building decarbonization, renewable energy access, climate planning, and/or community resilience. This position requires some technical background in building science, construction management, energy auditing, energy engineering, or other related analytical expertise.

Michigan and National Energy Events

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) is holding public input sessions as it prepares for competitive federal funding coming from the Climate Pollution Reduction Grant Program:

  • December 14 – Virtual
  • December 12 – Petoskey
  • December 18 – Virtual

These events are free to attend but registration is required.


The City of Grand Rapids has released a Request for Information/Request for Qualifications related to its plan to develop solar on the Butterworth Landfill. Responses are due Dec. 29, 2023.

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.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (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.