This newsletter was originally published on December 20, 2017.
Welcome to our final installment of the Michigan EIBC 2017 year in review. Your support for this important work is woven through the events and discussions during the year. Our shared progress could not happen without your support. Thank you for being part of this effort, whether as an active member, initiative supporter, interested newsletter reader, or partner in another way.
We truly appreciate the opportunity to work together to move the needle on advanced energy deployment in Michigan.
Here’s to a happy, healthy 2018!
Team Michigan EIBC
Michigan EIBC had significant legislative accomplishments in October. EIBC-backed SB 375 to expand PACE financing to include anaerobic digesters passed the Senate on October 3, and EIBC-backed HB 5143 to exempt solar/DER from property taxation was introduced by Rep. Tom Barrett on October 19. There was a hearing in the House Tax Committee on October 25, where EIBC president Liesl Eichler Clark, Rep. Barrett, and Mark Hagerty of Michigan Solar Solutions testified.
EIBC also asked member companies to prepare stories on inconsistent taxation of solar in the state to offer case studies to legislative members, which were sent to offices prior to the tax committee hearing in October. On top of this, Liesl Eichler Clakr testified in the Joint Transportation Committee Hearing on the state of the autonomous and electric vehicle industry in Michigan on October 5.
Michigan EIBC also worked to quantify and communicate potential demand among corporate purchasers for well-structured, competitively priced voluntary options with the Michigan Public Service Commission and leading Michigan utilities to inform the MPSC’s October 18th Green Power Pricing filings. At the same time, EIBC’s partner organization, the Institute for Energy Innovation, started analysis of Consumers, DTE, and other utility filings under Green Power Pricing Section 61 in October. EIBC also submitted formal comments on Integrated Resource Planning on October 6.
On October 17, Liesl Eichler Clark was a guest contributor for a Bridge Magazine article on how Michigan can lead on electric vehicles. And on October 24, Liesl participated in a Central Michigan University panel on Clean Energy.
In October, Michigan EIBC members continued to expand the advanced energy industry:
- On October 13, Invenergy received Oracle’s 2017 Sustainability Innovation Award.
- 5 Lakes Energy and Apex Clean Energy, along with CMS Energy, hosted the 21st Century “Clean Energy” Economy: Crossing Traditional Boundaries panel discussion on October 24 in Mount Pleasant.
- CBS Solar’s customer, Charlevoix-based Friske Orchards, received 1st Place in the Governor’s Energy Excellence agricultural award for a project to improve the company’s seasonal workers’ living conditions. Carla Walker-Miller, President of Walker-Miller Energy Services, was runner-up for the Governor’s Innovator of the Year Award.
- CBS Solar also installed a new 8 KW Solar Array on the roof of a doctor’s office in Traverse City.
- Generate Capital, the company that is redeveloping a waste-to-energy facility in Fremont, raised $200 million in equity to finance more small clean energy projects.
On November 9, Michigan EIBC hosted the 5th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala, with a welcome video by Governor Snyder, opening remarks by Valerie Brader of the Michigan Agency for Energy, and a keynote address by Abby Ross Hopper of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
In November, Michigan EIBC led the filing of joint testimony by 19 partners to support EV pilots in MI. The diverse collaborators agreed on broad principles to support EV infrastructure deployment and EIBC is establishing a convening meeting in January to capitalize on the momentum. The signees to the comments included: Actia, Advanced Energy Economy, the Alliance for Transportation Electrification, Clean Fuels MI, Consumers Energy, DTE, Ecology Center, Edison Electric Institute, Ford Motor Company, GM, GreenLots, MI Electric and Gas Association, MI EIBC, MI Environmental Council, MI League of Conservation Voters, NRDC, Phoenix Contact, Siemens, and Sierra Club.
After SB 375 passed the Senate in October, Michigan EIBC president Liesl Eichler Clark testified in the House Agriculture Committee in November with Kevin O’Connell of Michigan CAT and Cory Connelly of Lean & Green Michigan. Michigan EIBC attended Founders event in Grand Rapids to highlight need for SB 375 to include anaerobic digesters in PACE in November. The event featured several speakers, including Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and Andy Levin of Michigan EIBC member company Lean & Green Michigan.
On November 28, IEI hosted a Wind 101 Lunch & Learn for legislators and legislative staff. The event preceded a dinner with House Energy Committee members.
In November, Michigan EIBC also developed two sets of voluntary green pricing program comments at the end of November – one from corporate purchasers and one from advanced energy companies.
In November, Michigan EIBC members were active:
- Invenergy’s natural gas power plant in Jessup, Pennsylvania, neared completion.
- Generate Capital celebrated the re-opening of the Fremont Regional Digester and demonstrated how to turn organic waste into energy. The company expects to generate enough renewable energy to power 2,500 homes in Michigan.
- 5 Lakes Energy’s Douglas Jester talked time-of-use rates at NARUC Annual Meeting.
In December, Michigan EIBC president Liesl Eichler Clark presented to the Governor’s Council on Future Mobility along with member company ChargePoint, MPSC Commissioner Norm Saari, and Sen. Gary Peters. The discussion covered the EV charging principles Michigan EIBC worked to establish in November with 19 diverse stakeholders and recommendations to guide Michigan’s efforts to lead the advanced mobility future.
On December 5, IEI hosted the second wind legislative dinner with House Energy Committee members. The next day, SB 375 was referred out of the House Energy Committee without amendments and recommended for a second reading. The bill then passed the House unanimously.
Michigan EIBC members closed out the year with more accomplishments:
- Newman Consulting Group won the 2017 Exemplary Project Award from the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association.
- NextEra Energy, is looking to build a 156 MW wind project in Michigan’s Thumb region, which would be the company’s fourth in the state.
Invenergy is North America’s largest independent, privately held renewable energy provider. The Company develops, owns and operates large-scale renewable and other clean energy generation and storage facilities in North America, Latin America, Japan and Europe. Invenergy is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. In Michigan, Invenergy developed and constructed the 133-turbine Gratiot County Wind project and has several additional projects under advanced development.
Michigan Energy News:
- More small businesses in Michigan, including farms, are now covered by updated consumer rules that give them the same protections and benefits as other nonresidential electric and natural gas customers. The Michigan Public Service Commission recently approved the rules for the utilities it regulates.
- A study from the University of Michigan says utility energy efficiency programs disproportionately benefit wealthier ratepayers.
- Newsweek ranks Michigan-based Consumers Energy as the ninth-“greenest” company in the U.S.
- J.D. Power ranked DTE highest in the Midwest for business customer satisfaction.
- A greener Grand Rapids starts from the ground up.
- Hammond Business Park in Garfield Township has been certified “Energy Ready” for incoming large employers by Consumers Energy.
- UPSTART provided survey results on a proposed L’Anse community solar garden.
- Michigan Tech students explore a community solar project in collaboration with the Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO).
- Some residents in Ann Arbor, Michigan are frustrated by a city-backed solar group-buying program that is having difficulty supplying customers with panels.
- EPLC’s Margrethe Kearney on the future of solar energy in Michigan.
- An affordable solar program launched for middle-class homeowners.
- Financial hurdles upset Ann Arbor solar program.
- In Huron County, the deadline for the wind moratorium is January 18.
- Proposed legislation by Representative Glenn would prohibit local officials from voting on issues if they stand to financially benefit.
- Michigan EIBC member company Invenergy announced that it has completed construction financing for its 132MW Bishop Hill Wind Energy Center in Illinois.
- The Huron County Press toured DTE’s wind park in Bad Axe.
- Grand Rapids, Michigan breaks ground on a $38 million biodigester facility that will help the city reach its renewable energy goals.
- Michigan residents called on state officials to close down the Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.
- Michigan’s aging gas pipelines raise safety concerns.
- There’s a new EV startup in town: Rivian added executives from McLaren and Nike to its development team.
- Ford announces plans for a site near downtown Detroit that will serve as a base for high-level employees working on electric and autonomous vehicles.
National Energy News:
- House and Senate negotiators have agreed that their compromise tax overhaul package will preserve tax credits for new electric car purchases and wind production.
- The White House hosted talks between oil and ethanol industries last week in an effort to reach a deal that would help refiners who say the Renewable Fuel Standard threatens their business.
- The Government Accountability Office said the Trump administration violated the Impoundment Control Act by withholding $91 million budgeted for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, a popular Energy Department program supporting innovation. The funds have since been released.
- A detailed look at the controversial solar tariff case launched by Suniva and SolarWorld. The U.S. solar supply chain and small businesses could suffer the most if tariffs are imposed on imported solar panels.
- About 20 companies and 26 nations pledged to phase out coal at the “Powering Past Coal Alliance.”
- As more U.S. cities commit to 100% renewable energy goals, utilities are realizing they must either work with municipalities or risk losing customers.
- Renewable energy resources, excluding hydropower, are expected to reach 10% of U.S. electricity generation next year.
- A roundup of the most prominent grid edge policy actions this year, according to a senior associate for Advanced Energy Economy.
- A 10-year forecast predicts that natural gas and renewables will be able to meet the grid’s reliability needs, despite the closure of coal and nuclear plants.
- Third-quarter energy storage deployment grew 46% over the same period last year, and analysts expect strong growth in the years to come.
- How the rise of utility-scale battery storage could kill demand for natural-gas peaker plants in the U.S.
- Dozens of U.S. mayors from across the country release a joint statement in support of solar energy.
- The Department of Energy announces almost $20 million will be used for research aimed at reducing the cost of offshore wind technologies in the United States.
- Pepsi has reserved 100 Tesla electric Semi trucks in the largest public pre-order of the big rigs thus far.
- Toyota and Panasonic are teaming up to investigate the technological potential of batteries that use prismatic cells, which can power electric cars.
- The rise of electric vehicles will bring a unique set of pressures to battery suppliers, utilities and oil companies, according to a new report.
Michigan Energy Events:
Michigan EIBC will host a Michigan Energy Forum on solar at member company Varnum’s Grand Rapids office on March 5. Stay tuned for registration details!
SAVE THE DATE: Michigan EIBC’s 6th Annual Member Meeting is scheduled for April 30, followed by a Lobby Day on May 1. Mark your calendars!
Michigan EIBC will host a Michigan Energy Forum on energy efficiency and lighting on June 11 at member company CLEAResult’s office in Detroit. Stay tuned for details!
National Energy Events:
The 2nd Smart Cities International Symposium and Exhibition, January 17-18 in Chicago, brings together municipal professionals and thought leaders to explore technology advances and key lessons to date in achieving the Smart City vision. Register here.
Mark your calendar for the 5th National Conference on Next Generation Demand Response on February 7-8, in San Diego, California. Learn more and register here.
With more than 650 attendees, MES is the region’s largest energy efficiency event and an unparalleled networking opportunity. February 7-9, MEEA will be holding their annual 2018 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference at the Chicago Hilton & Towers. MES is about celebrating accomplishments in energy efficiency, as well as laying out the efficiency program and policy landscape for the coming year. Register here.
EUCI invites you to its Renewable Energy 101 Forum, March 12-13, in Portland, Oregon. Learn more and register here.
The video of the 2017 Michigan Energy Innovators Gala is LIVE on the Michigan EIBC website. Check it out here!