- Newsletter (351)
This newsletter was originally published on April 19, 2017.
More projects for less money: the story behind the recent decline in advanced energy investment
Across the country, investment in advanced energy technology fell by 24% in the first quarter of 2017. The $53.6 billion funneled into projects such as renewable energy, efficiency and electric cars in January, February, and March of 2017, was the lowest investment for the quarter since 2013. This follows a similar decline in 2016, as the U.S. has continued to scale back support for wind and solar farms.
But there’s a silver lining to this story. The reason for the decline in investment can be explained by the falling cost of capital for advanced energy technology. As the startup costs for solar and wind farms have decreased, investors are able to install the same power generation capacity for less. In fact, advanced energy was the largest new source of electricity in 2016, despite investment decreasing by $80 billion from the 2016 numbers.
As a result, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions fell 1.7 percent in 2016, according to a recent report, including a 4.9% decline in carbon emissions from the electric power sector.
When it comes to advanced energy projects, communication and transparency matter
Wind energy development has been underway in Michigan for about 15 years, and is expected to increase by 40 percent over the next five years. As Michigan continues to invest in wind power, communication and transparency are key to ensuring the success of new projects, according to Michigan EIBC President Liesl Eichler Clark, who spoke to area farm and business leaders at the 33rd annual Farm City Dinner in Shiawassee County last Tuesday.
The issue of wind energy has become increasingly relevant in Shiawassee County in recent months, as several energy companies have begun planning wind projects in the county. Numerous landowners have agreed to allow towers on their property, and their neighbors have been offered compensation for the possible impact of the upcoming developments. However, following divisive projects in other Michigan counties, Clark is encouraging Shiawassee County officials to proceed in a way that is transparent and attentive to residents’ concerns.
Michigan is home to a wide array of energy resources, such as natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydroelectricity, solar, and wind, Clark said. However, the levels at which each of those individual energy sources power the state is changing, as wind and solar energy continue to grow.
Clark also highlighted how advanced energy projects benefit the communities that host them: property tax revenues from wind energy development are used for road improvements, schools, health care, public safety and infrastructure projects in Michigan, accounting for tens of millions of dollars directed to rural communities since their implementation in the state.
“The only counties that were not cutting services during the recent recession were those with wind income coming in,” Clark said. “Even if it’s hard for residents to see the influx of money from wind projects, it’s important to recognize the differences between the neighboring communities.”
30 Speakers, 10 Panels, and Top-Tier Networking: Don’t Miss Michigan EIBC’s 5th Annual Member Meeting – Next Week!
Michigan EIBC’s 5th Annual Member Meeting is right around the corner. Get your tickets today to attend the conference on Wednesday, April 26, at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. The Annual Member Meeting provides attendees with an opportunity to network, learn about innovations in advanced energy, and get an overview on the latest policy developments.
We’ve got an exciting line-up of speakers, including:
- Valerie Brader, Executive Director, Michigan Agency for Energy
- Brian Pageau, President, Midwest Energy Group
- Trevor Lauer, President and COO, DTE Electric
- Chairman Sally Talberg, MPSC
- Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, Grand Rapids
- Mayor Jim Carruthers, Traverse City
- Representative Gary Glenn, 98th District, Chair of the House Energy Committee
- Representative Sam Singh, 69th District, House Democratic Leader
- Rob Threlkeld, Global Manager – Renewable Energy, General Motors
- Peter Rienks, Senior Account Executive, Inovateus Solar
- Teri VanSumeren, Executive Director of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Consumers Energy
- Commissioner Norm Saari, MPSC
- Steve Bratic, Managing Director, Bratic Enterprises
- Dave Simon, Senior Director, toggled
- Paul Brown, Lead Energy Advisor, CLEAResult
- Commissioner Rachael Eubanks, MPSC
- Glenn Stevens, Executive Director, MICHauto
- Kevin Miller, Director of Public Policy, ChargePoint
- Eric Shreffler, Managing Director – Automotive Programs, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
- Ed Straub, Technical Program Director, The American Center for Mobility
- Andy Haun, CTO of Microgrids, Schneider Electric
- Dalia El Tawy, Senior Marketing and Business Development Manager, Siemens
- Kiran Kumaraswamy, Director of Market Development, AES Energy Storage
- Jean Redfield, President and CEO, NextEnergy
- Dave Harwood, Director of Renewable Energy, DTE
- Patrick Bowland, CEO and General Manager, Michigan Public Power Agency
- Zach Anderson, VP of Power Supply, Wolverine Power Supply
- Simon Whitelocke, President, ITC Michigan
- Kevin O’Connell, Electric Power Commercial Business Manager, Michigan CAT
- Katie Guerry, VP of Regulatory Affairs, EnerNOC
- Pat Poli, Executive Advisor, MPSC
- Greg Northrup, Principal, Sustainable Partners LLC
This year’s panel topics include:
- Building the Market: Corporate Advanced Energy Procurement
- Driving Innovation and Efficiency through Advanced Lighting
- Distribution Solutions to Improve Grid Resiliency
- Energy, Mobility, and the Future of Transportation
- Selling Projects under the New RPS: New Markets, New Challenges
- From Energy Optimization to Energy Waste Reduction: The Role of CHP, Demand Response, and Load Management in the New Efficiency Landscape
Time is running out to register. Click here to RSVP today!
The 5th Annual Member Meeting is being sponsored by:
Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Please contact Nicole Forward if you would like to sponsor or have questions.
Founded in 1915, Black & Veatch is a leading global engineering, consulting and construction company, with 11,000+ professionals employed in 110 offices worldwide speaking 80+ languages. We specialize in Energy, Water, Telecommunications, Oil & Gas, Renewables, Management Consulting solutions consistently ranked in Forbes magazine’s “America’s Largest Private Companies” listing Black & Veatch has a reputation for innovative technical solutions and the ability to make the complex manageable. We deliver quality, sustainable solutions of lasting value and operating with the highest level of integrity. Our expertise and ability to deliver highly reliable solutions result in annual recognition, including industry awards. Black & Veatch places the highest importance on the safety and health of our professionals, subcontractors, and clients. Strong leadership and commitment coupled with zero incident expectations have resulted in industry credibility, 13 Voluntary Protection Program awards from OSHA, and 10 consecutive years at Silver and Gold Level from The Royal Society for the prevention of Accidents in the United Kingdom. Black & Veatch Holding Company is privately held through an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP) and we are the 11th largest employee-owned company in the U.S. Our ownership structure gives us the distinct advantage of being free from the pressures that drive publically held companies to value short-term profits over long-term client service. We are our own stockholders, with corporate strategies supporting the continued long-term interest of our global clients.
Cypress Creek Renewables is the American leader in Local Solar. Cypress uses a data driven approach to identify and develop underutilized land on which it builds solar farms ranging from 2 – 20 MW on average, and currently owns one of the largest solar farms east of the Mississippi River. Cypress sells the renewable energy these solar farms create back to local communities and utilities, typically at rates lower than fossil fuels. This process guarantees widespread, affordable access to clean energy. With over 5 GW of local solar farms deployed or in development (enough to power nearly 1 million homes) across 8 states, Cypress Creek Renewables is the largest and fastest-growing dedicated provider of local solar farms in the United States.
AES Energy Storage, LLC is a pioneer in the commercialization of battery-based energy storage on the grid, placing the first lithium ion grid battery into service in 2008. Today, AES Energy Storage LLC is a global leader in commercial energy storage solutions. Its solutions unlock value from existing power infrastructure, improve flexibility and reliability of the power system, and provide customers with a complete alternative to traditional peaking power plants.
Michigan Solar Solutions was established in 2008. MSS has earned an excellent reputation for designing, selling, servicing and installing solar electric systems for homes, businesses, commercial buildings and municipalities.
Michigan Energy News
- More renewable energy and energy efficiency will be necessary to support an ‘explosive’ growth of data centers. Data firms are sourcing more and more of their energy from renewables in the Midwest, including in Michigan.
- After doubling its ethanol output, Andersons Inc.’s southwest Michigan plant is now one of the largest ethanol production sites in the country.
- DTE announced a 9% drop in natural gas prices, which customers can expect to see reflected in their April gas bills.
- A Charlevoix-based business, Manthei Landscape Supply, is investing in solar power.
- According to Al Go of Michigan State University’s Michigan Farm Energy Program, farmers who use solar energy could help drive down energy costs across the state, and make Michigan more energy independent.
- Countryside Greenhouse has unveiled a new solar garden project.
- Local officials in Traverse City are deliberating over a proposed utility-scale solar project.
- While the Huron County Planning Commission continues to hear complaints about wind turbine noise, State Representative Ed Canfield explains that the legislature is unlikely to help resolve local disputes over wind turbine tax revenue.
- The shutdown of Palisades Nuclear Plant, which is waiting on approval from the Michigan Public Service Commission, continues to divide the community, with job losses a top concern.
- Forsite Development Inc. of North Carolina is still working with Consumers Energy to buy the BC Cobb Power Plant, which closed last year, but is still waiting on approval from the Michigan Public Service Commission.
- New supply and lower demand in grid operator MISO’s territory across the Midwest have resulted in a capacity auction with fewer regional disparities than the past two years.
- The Michigan Public Service Commission has asked DTE Energy and Consumers Energy to provide a “thorough accounting” of their response to the March 8 windstorm that left around 1.5 million customers without power.
- This month, EIBC member company Invenergy reached a major milestone: 15 GW of advanced energy in 15 years since the company’s founding.
- Three architecture students from the Netherlands are rehabbing a vacated Detroit house into an affordable, energy-efficient home that will serve as a teaching tool and supports a local family.
National Energy News
- Legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate could hurt the growth of property-assessed clean energy (PACE) financing, which helps fund building efficiency upgrades and rooftop solar projects.
- As solar makes up a growing share of energy generation, it’s putting downward pressure on wholesale prices, in some cases even pushing prices into negative territory.
- An analysis has found that large solar installers have been quoting higher prices for homeowners than smaller companies.
- Several Midwest states are changing interconnection rules for solar customers, which is anticipated to cut the time and cost required to establish a connection to the grid.
- Michigan EIBC member company Geronimo Energy purchased a 40-acre site near Minneapolis for a community solar garden.
- GM has plans to put as many as 300 additional self-driving cars on the road, which would give it the largest fleet of self-driving cars in the U.S.
- Tesla unveiled its new 325-watt solar panels manufactured by Panasonic.
- Construction is underway for more than a dozen solar projects in Western Wisconsin.
- Hawaiian Electric Co. is adding 2,800 customers to a rooftop solar energy program that will credit customers for the excess electricity they send to the grid.
- Policy changes are expected to help Georgia and South Carolina surpass North Carolina in solar installations.
- A group of large companies – including Toyota, Ford, GM, and WalMart – are trying to open up opportunities to source renewable energy to power their operations in Kentucky.
- An Illinois program is using solar to prepare kids for advanced energy jobs.
- Officials unveiled a 10-megawatt solar project at a National Guard base in Minnesota, which is the largest on any National Guard base in the country.
- Oklahoma lawmakers voted to end income tax credits for wind energy production more than three years ahead of their original schedule.
- Officials in Columbia, Missouri, are considering a plan to buy wind energy from Kansas, which would be delivered through Clean Line’s Grain Belt Express transmission project.
- A Greater Cincinnati-based clean energy company opens a geothermal division to meet growing customer demand.
- California officials are looking at again moving to retail open access.
- Officials in a northeast Ohio county are opposing a plan to re-regulate the electrical industry in an effort to protect a planned $900 natural gas project.
- Duluth, Minnesota, is launching a pilot program to reduce coal usage at its downtown steam plant by transitioning to natural gas.
- Ethanol company Archer Daniels has begun operations to inject and permanently store more than 1 million tons of carbon dioxide per year deep underneath a corn processing facility in part of Decatur, Illinois.
- Major automakers are ready to sell more hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, but the U.S. needs a more robust fueling network first.
- Tesla Inc. is planning to launch an electric semi truck in September, and also hopes to offer an electric pickup and sports car. The company first needs battery technology to catch up still can’t support long-haul trucking.
- Uber is launching an electric-vehicle program in Portland, Oregon.
- South Dakota farmers are worried about the future of ethanol production under the Trump administration.
- Maryland has passed an energy storage tax credit plan that offers up to $5,000 for residential and up to $75,000 for commercial projects.
Michigan Energy Events:
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.
The Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council invites you to attend our upcoming Michigan Energy Forum networking meeting and tour at Covanta Kent on May 10 in Grand Rapids. This energy-from-waste facility has been in operation for approximately 27 years. Attendees will watch a brief overview video created by Kent County about the waste system, followed by a tour of the facility, including stops at the tipping floor/refuse pit and the control room. Environmental Specialist Terry Madden will conduct the tour along with Business Manager Matt Marler. RSVP here.
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:
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.
GTM’s annual Solar Summit is scheduled for May 16-18, and GTM is offering 15% off tickets with the code MWENERGY15.
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.
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.
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.
The Michigan Energy Office (MEO), in partnership with the States of Tennessee, Georgia, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, the National Association of State Energy Officials, and The Climate Registry, is inviting interested parties to comment on the developing National Energy Efficiency Registry (NEER) Principles & Operating Rules, which are open for public comment until May 31, 2017. Information on the NEER can be found at NEERegistry.org, as well as a FAQ document and description of sample NEER user scenarios. The NEER is intended to serve as a central repository for tracking and validating energy efficiency initiatives and as a means for documenting compliance with existing and future state and federal environmental regulations . The public comment period provides Michigan stakeholders the opportunity to inform NEER’s development to ensure Michigan interests are represented. How to Submit Comments: Reviewers are encouraged to access and provide feedback on the Draft NEER Principles and Operating Rules by logging into the web-based Collaborase platform or offline here. For commenters who prefer to submit comments directly, a public comment template has also been provided here. Please submit comments either in Collaborase or by attaching your completed public comment template via email to Emily Duff.