This newsletter was originally published on August 31, 2017.
What to Expect as the Legislature Heads Back to Session
As the Michigan Legislature returns from its summer recess next week, a variety of advanced energy issues will be up for consideration.
Senate Bill 375, introduced this spring by Senator Darwin Booher (R-Evart), would allow methane digesters to be included in Property Assessed Clean Energy financing programs. This bill is currently sitting in the Senate Local Government Committee, which is expected to consider the legislation in the coming weeks.
The Senate Local Government Committee is also expected to take up House Bill 4457, sponsored by Representative Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo Township), which would expand opportunities for community colleges to use performance contracting and tax-exempt lease purchase agreements for energy upgrades. The legislation previously passed the House in June on a 108-0 vote.
Another issue the state legislature is expected to take on is advanced mobility. This includes questions of infrastructure funding, as well as policies to promote vehicle electrification and deployment of charging infrastructure.
In addition, Michigan EIBC is also working with legislative sponsors on a number of other initiatives to advance member priorities. Michigan EIBC members have the opportunity to participate in monthly policy calls to shape the legislative agenda and stay up to date on happenings in the state legislature and Public Service Commission. Make sure your business has a seat at the table. Join Michigan EIBC today!
U.S. Senator Gary Peters, Maven’s Rachel Bhattacharya Confirmed for September Powering Mobility Conference
US Senator Gary Peters and Rachel Bhattacharya, Maven’s Director of Commercial Mobility, are among the many private and public sector leaders confirmed to speak at the fourth annual Michigan Energy Conference, Powering Mobility, on September 25th. Senator Peters is co-chair of the Senate Smart Transportation Caucus, while Bhattacharya leads the commercial mobility efforts for Maven, a mobility company launched by GM last year. In this role, she also oversees Maven Gig, which provides a business model for car sharing services like Uber and Lyft that’s been described as “tailor made for the gig economy.”
The Powering Mobility conference gives attendees an inside look at the cutting edge of mobility and how we will charge and fuel the vehicles of tomorrow. The conference will dive deep into the intersection of energy, telecommunication, and transportation to highlight the role clean fuel vehicles will play in “powering mobility.” The event boasts unparalleled networking with top-tier industry executives, policymakers, and thought leaders.
Other confirmed speakers for this exciting event include:
- Michael Baruby, U.S. DOE Vehicle Technologies Office
- Shannon Bouton, McKinsey Center for Business and Environment
- Jim Ellis, ChargePoint
- Chris King, Siemens Smart Grid
- John Maddox, American Center for Mobility
- Carrie Morton, Mcity
- Chris Nelder, Rocky Mountain Institute
- Trevor Pawl, MEDC
- John Peracchio, Peracchio and Co.; Michigan Council on Future Mobility
- Danil Prokhorov, Toyota Research Institute
- Jim Saber, NextEnergy
- Commissioner Norm Saari, Michigan Public Service Commission
- Kellen Schefter, Edison Electric Institute
- Scott Steiner, Lockheed Martin
- Jon Walker, Lyft
The event is a collaboration between the following organizations:
Don’t miss your opportunity to attend this exciting event. Register now!
Four Elements Energy designs and installs solar ( electric, water heating, air heating) and wind renewable energy systems.
Founded in 2007, Midwest Energy Group is an energy services company (ESCO) focused on energy efficiency and energy management. Midwest Energy Group exists to provide positive financial and operational impact for its customers, serving commercial, industrial, municipal, and institutional organizations. Their purpose is to develop and nurture long-term relationships, consistently driving customer profitability through the provision of expert advice, progressive engineering, custom energy efficiency solutions, and energy management plans.
Midwest Energy Group exists to Identify, Design, Implement & Monitor Energy Efficiency Projects so clients can lower their operating costs and increase their profitability.
Patriot Solar Group provides solar racking systems, including equipment and materials and installation services.
Petros PACE Finance has quickly become a national leader in providing low-cost, long-term PACE financing to commercial property owners. Petros PACE Finance has significant institutional backing and was founded by a team with a collective 60+ years of experience in building and assisting companies with strategic capital, advice, and strong business relationships. We have been involved in the PACE market since 2010 and have played a major role in the implementation of many PACE programs. Through our knowledge and experience, we have developed a flexible financing program designed to seamlessly help property owners and industry partners reap the many benefits of PACE financing.
Michigan Energy News:
- A L’Anse community meeting gauged interest in a possible community solar garden.
- Six years after it was announced, work is finally underway on a solar energy farm at the former Marmon Foundry site in Coldwater.
- The Lansing Board of Water & Light plans to retire the coal-fired Erickson Power Plant in Delta Township in Michigan by 2025. The plant is will be replaced with a mix of renewables, efficiency and natural gas. The municipal utility plans to add 120 MW of solar power by 2030, and is targeting 40% clean energy in the same timeframe.
- The Charlevoix city council has decided to enter into a new wind power agreement.
- Federal regulators are allowing construction to start on the controversial NEXUS gas pipeline that will go through Ohio and Michigan.
- State Representative Kim LaSata held a town hall on clean energy issues this week.
- The Michigan Public Service Commission approved an option proposed by Consumers Energy under its Voluntary Large Customer Renewable Energy Pilot Program to offer large businesses the opportunity to purchase 100% renewable energy.
- In Michigan, adding energy storage can be a profitable investment for businesses, a new study finds.
- University of Michigan student group, Students for Clean Energy, recently completed a multi-year project to place two solar-powered pavilions with battery storage on campus.
- A Michigan-based company that supplies batteries for electric buses announces another round of layoffs.
- The City Council in Ann Arbor called on Congress to put a price on carbon.
- LG Chem will spend $25 million to build a new factory near Detroit to produce battery packs for electric vehicles.
- New electric vehicle chargers were unveiled in Lansing.
- The Michigan Public Service Commission held workgroup meetings this week considering performance-based regulation and utility Codes of Conduct relating to offering value-added products and services.
News from Washington:
- Energy Secretary Rick Perry will lead a special delegation to Ukraine to discuss a possible energy partnership following this week’s exporting milestone: the first shipment of U.S. coal to the country.
- The Environmental Protection Agency will stop sponsoring the Climate Leadership Awards program and conference, which has traditionally recognized companies that reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
- The Department of Energy asked researchers to remove words such as “global warming” and “climate change” from a grant proposal.
- The DC Circuit Court of Appeals ordered another environmental review of the Southeast Market Pipeline Project after ruling that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission improperly analyzed the climate impact of the project.
- The Southern Environmental Law Center sued the Environmental Protection Agency after allegedly receiving no response to its Freedom of Information Act request from April seeking documents about the EPA’s regulatory reform task force.
Cities and Communities Leading in Advanced Energy:
- California lawmakers will consider legislation requiring the state to obtain 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2045.
- An Ohio township will save more than $2,000 a month by switching to LED lightbulbs in township buildings.
- The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority in Ohio is partnering with a national contractor to offer Property Assessed Clean Energy financing for energy efficiency improvements.
National Grid and Efficiency News:
- The Department of Energy’s electric grid study found that energy efficiency is playing a key role in maintaining a reliable power system.
- Five million U.S. businesses could lower their monthly power bills by installing batteries.
- A chain of supermarkets in the Houston area have successfully maintained power in the wake of Hurricane Harvey by using natural gas-powered microgrids.
- An Arizona utility built a 63-megawatt microgrid on a rooftop in Phoenix.
National Solar News:
- Models have consistently underestimated the pace of solar deployment, and it could deter policymakers from prioritizing its research and development, according to a new study.
- State efforts to change the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) are causing a stir in the U.S. solar market.
- Farmers in New England are earning extra income by allowing utility companies to set up solar panels on their land.
- Many experts say North Carolina’s solar and agriculture industries are not at odds and the growth of solar farms represents a huge opportunity for the state’s sheep industry.
- A community solar project on a reservation in Minnesota is the first in the nation to be formally linked with an energy assistance program meant to help low-income residents.
- Indiana school districts are rushing to complete solar projects before new net metering rules take effect.
- Comcast and Sunrun have a 40-month agreement to make Sunrun the exclusive residential solar provider for its cable division.
- The first utility-scale solar project on the Navajo Nation has begun producing electricity in Arizona.
National Wind News:
- Apple says the large amount of wind energy developed in Iowa was “paramount” to the company’s decision to build two new data centers there.
- Farmers neighboring the construction of a MidAmerican Energy wind project in Iowa are complaining about their proximity to the turbines and their lack of input during the county board’s approval process.
National Bioenergy News:
- The North Dakota Farmers Union is touting the economic and environmental benefits of ethanol in an effort to “bump up demand and prices in the flooded corn market.”
National Fossil Fuel and Nuclear News:
- Hurricane Harvey has knocked out a quarter of U.S. oil production from the Gulf of Mexico and forced Royal Dutch Shell to shut down one of Texas’ largest refineries. The hurricane caused U.S. gasoline futures to surge on Monday, but the prices have since been restored.
- Duke Energy Florida filed a settlement with state regulators this week seeking approval to terminate the development of a new nuclear plant. In exchange, the utility is committing to a four-year, $6 billion investment plan that includes 700 MW of new solar, 50 MW of battery storage, 500 electric vehicle charging stations, expanded deployment of smart meters, grid modernization improvements, and a commitment to forgo a proposed 8.3% increase in rates and to tie rate adjustments to the rate of inflation for the next four years.
- Some oil and gas industry officials worry the Trump administration’s rapid deregulation efforts could backfire by setting the stage for an environmental disaster.
- Duke Energy is seeking to increase electricity rates for Charlotte-area residents by 16.7%, in part to pass on to its customers the high costs for cleaning up coal ash sites.
- The Department of Energy announced a $50 million pilot project to build two coal power plants with “transformational” clean technology.
- Duke Energy Carolinas filed a proposal to cancel its planned Lee nuclear plant in North Carolina and wants to raise customers’ electricity rates by 13.6%. The utility also won’t help restart construction on the abandoned Summer nuclear plant in South Carolina.
- A partner in Georgia Power’s Vogtle nuclear project asked the Department of Energy for up to $1.6 billion to help finish the reactors.
National Technology and Market News:
- A Chicago-based accelerator will spend the next two years developing an investment model that better suits the needs of clean-energy startups.
- Chevron Corp. Chief Executive John Watson plans to step down. Vice Chairman Michael Wirth, a refining specialist, is seen as the leading candidate to replace Watson.
- Connecticut-based FuelCell Energy Inc. says it will build a fuel-cell power plant in Pittsburgh.
- Los Angeles-based Romeo Power raised $30 million in seed funding to complete a manufacturing facility and ramp up production of lithium-ion battery packs for electric vehicles and stationary storage applications.
National Vehicle and Mobility News:
- Driverless cars and trucks don’t mean mass unemployment—they mean new kinds of jobs.
- California lawmakers are considering legislation that would increase electric vehicle rebates from $2,500 to $10,000 or more for a compact electric car.
- Tesla announced plans to unveil an electric big-rig truck with a range of 200 to 300 miles.
- Volkswagen AG used a secret internal lab at its Wolfsburg, Germany, headquarters to develop diesel technology that would deliberately flaunt strict vehicle emissions standards. The company has said that only a small group of engineers was involved, but a separate test site near management offices raises questions about how much top executives knew about the project.
Michigan Energy Events:
Technology in Motion Detroit is taking place September 6-8 at the Cobo Center. The event will bring together OEM’s, suppliers and the tech community to establish the preeminent mobility event in Detroit. Technological advancements in autonomous and electric vehicles, connected cars, shared economy and digital consumer experiences are just a few of the areas that will be featured at TIM ’17. Register here.
Advancing Women in Energy invites you to the September members-only luncheon in Lansing on September 15. The luncheon will feature keynote speaker Phyllis E Currie, MISO Board of Director. RSVP here.
Michigan EIBC, together with Michigan Energy Options and the Institute for Energy Innovation, are hosting a UP Energy Roundtable and Networking Meeting on Tuesday, September 19 at Northern Michigan University’s Bottum University Center in Marquette. The event will feature discussion on a range of issues, including UP energy planning, the opportunities and barriers to self-generation (both solar and combined-heat-and-power), and an update on the Michigan Energy Office’s CHP Roadmap. The UP Energy Roundtable is free for Michigan EIBC members; $25 for non-members.
The Powering Mobility conference will take place on September 25 at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. The event, which is the 4th Annual Michigan Energy Future Conference, will bring together leaders from industry, government, utilities, finance, and academe working at the nexus of advanced mobility and vehicle electrification.
The 1st Annual Sustainable Detroit Forum is scheduled for October 25. The event will consist of interactive learning, keynotes, and short presentations. Proposals for presentations will be accepted for Sustainable Projects, Personal Green Stories, and Lessons Learned/Greatest Failures.
NextEnergy invites you to the Autonomy & Mobility Conference on October 25 in Detroit. Autonomy & Mobility 2017 will provide an open forum for all participants to share ideas. In addition to focused sessions with leading experts, the event will culminate in a unique, interactive exchange among panelists and attendees. Register here.
National Energy Events:
The Catalysts of the Climate Economy summit will take place in Burlington, Vermont, September 6-8. This event will focus on ways to accelerate economic development for a low-carbon future. The event will feature speakers, round-table discussions, and other forums with entrepreneurs, investors, and thoughts leaders. Speakers include EIBC member company Generate Capital’s Jigar Shah; Danny Kennedy of the CA Clean Energy Fund; Carol Browner, Former Climate and Energy Czar in the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy; and CEOs and leaders from Patagonia, Green Mountain Power, Stonyfield Yogurt, General Motors, Seventh Generation, Ben and Jerry’s, Fetzer Vineyards, Proterra, Generation Investment Management, and more!
Solar Power International will take place September 10-13 in Las Vegas. Powered by the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Smart Electric Power Alliance, SPI is the largest and fastest growing solar show in North America.
Renewable Energy Grid Operations: Integration, Forecasting, Modeling, Planning and Curtailment, hosted by EUCI, is scheduled for September 11-12 in Austin, Texas. This conference will evaluate the biggest challenges to renewable energy integration, and identify solutions and pathways that coordinate responses and overcome these challenges. Case studies from experts and industry professionals from around the country will share their experiences and lessons learned on renewable integration. Register here.
ACORE Finance West will take place in San Francisco on October 12. The annual conference highlights top investment opportunities and provide the latest insights on the financing of renewable energy and grid modernization efforts in leading western markets.
EUCI’s Renewable Energy PPAs Seminar is October 16-17 in Denver, Colorado. The Renewable Energy Power Purchase Agreements seminar is designed for those in the renewable energy industry who are new to PPAs or who have worked with PPAs for a while and are ready to gain a deeper understanding of the legal impact of, and allocation of risks under, key PPA provisions. The course will begin with an introduction to the development and financing process and the role of competitive procurement (including RFP solicitations and bilateral negotiations). The instructors will review the various general contract terms found in most non-PPA project agreements that directly impact the PPA negotiations, and provide an overview of environmental and permitting matters that arise in PPA negotiations. Register here.
Join SEIA and Smart Electric Power Alliance for Solar Power Midwest in Chicago, October 19-20. The event features multiple networking and educational opportunities with a targeted, buying audience.
The 2017 U.S. Power and Renewables Summit will take place in Austin on November 7-8. The conference, hosted by Greentech Media, provides an in-depth look at how solar, wind, and related renewable energy technologies are impacting power markeys, and how this interaction is raising key questions and challenges for the industry moving forward.
The U.S. Energy Storage Summit 2017 is taking place December 12-13 in San Francisco. Now in its third year, this event brings together utilities, financiers, regulators, technology innovators, and storage practitioners for two full days of data-intensive presentations, analyst-led panel sessions with industry leaders, and extensive, high-level networking.
A website from the Michigan Public Service Commission provides details on updates to state energy laws. For more information, or to sign up for notifications, visit www.michigan.gov/energylegislation.
World Resources Institute recently published an Implementation Guide for Utilities, outlining best practices in designing renewable energy projects to meet large energy customers’ needs.
Energy leaders — make your nominations today for the 2017 Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40. Open to nominations from all sectors involved in the Midwest’s energy transition.
The 2018 MEAP RFP has been released and is available online at Michigan.gov/energygrants.