This newsletter was originally published on July 7, 2017.
WIND EQUALS ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY IN MICHIGAN
What industry hires veterans at a rate 50% higher than the national average, boasts the fastest growing job category in the nation, and is expanding in Michigan? If you guessed wind energy, you’re right.
In a recent Advanced Energy Perspectives blog post, Michigan EIBC President Liesl Clark discusses the economic and community benefits of wind energy, and debunks some of the common myths surrounding turbines.
Clark explains that, since 2008, the price of wind has fallen 61%, to the point that, even without the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC), wind is approximately equal to natural gas in price, and cheaper than coal or nuclear. And, Clark explains, building the lowest cost generation source makes sense, especially when that resource is also secure and clean.
Across the nation, wind has driven down energy costs because it is a fuel-free energy source. And without the factor of variable fuel prices, risk decreases significantly.
In addition to being the lowest-cost generation source and helping to keep rates in check, wind offers additional benefits to Michigan communities. Clark highlights several benefits in the blog:
- Wind is best sited where there is a good wind resource and communities that are interested in building some security for the future. Michigan has plenty of wind, and plenty of communities like these, many of them in rural areas.
- Tax payments and assessments from wind development are used for road improvements, schools, health care, public safety, and infrastructure projects. This results in tens of millions of dollars directed to rural counties and communities that need funding – in fact, the four counties with the most wind farms received $23.3 million in 2014 and $22.3 million in 2015. The only counties in Michigan not cutting services during the recent recession were those with wind power income.
- Wind development boosts property values. This map, from Bridge Magazine, shows that wind developments in Michigan improve property values. Wind installations also create a revenue stream that helps the next generation of farmers stay on the land.
Source: Bridge Magazine.
Energy consumers in Michigan and across the country are demanding renewable energy, and cities are demanding greater reliance on advanced energy sources.
Wind is on the move in Michigan, Clark concludes, along with other advanced energy technologies and services. That’s good news for the advanced energy industry – and for the Michigan economy.
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MICHIGAN ENERGY NEWS:
- Consumers Energy has an open Request for Proposals for Wind Generation Projects and Solar Generation Projects Bids for both RFPs are due by noon, July 28.
- 26 Michigan communities were recognized for their sustainability achievements as part of the Michigan Green Communities initiative.
- Michigan EIBC member NextEnergy announced its NextChallenge Smart Cities contest for 2017.
- Petoskey Mayor John Murphy plans to join the Climate Mayors, a group of over 300 U.S. mayors that hope to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
- A forum in Petoskey discussed advanced energy development in the region.
- The Institute for Energy Innovation report on solar DG continues to receive media attention, including a piece by Michigan Radio (that was also covered by Midwest Energy News), a write-up in PV Magazine, and a tweet from SEIA.
- Officials in Ann Arbor are considering adding $2.3 million in tax incentives for a housing redevelopment project to include solar.
- Ann Arbor officials are also partnering with Michigan Interfaith Power and Light to assist places of worship in installing solar panels.
- MLive compiled wind information in an article entitled “What you need to know about wind power in Michigan.”
- A 160-foot wind turbine blade broke at the Tuscola Bay Wind Farm, leaving it dangling above a field. A spokesperson stated that the break was an “isolated equipment issue.” Plans call for the blade to be taken down and replaced.
- The Shiawassee County Planning Board continues to hear concerns over wind turbine siting.
- A dredging project in a river near a former coal gasification plant in Flint aims to remove legacy coal tar waste.
- Michigan officials released a highly anticipated report about alternatives to Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline through the Straits of Mackinac.
- Clean-up crews are responding to an oil spill in Calhoun County.
- The U.P.’s first energy efficiency training program has been scheduled.
- Founder of SunEdison Jigar Shah discusses why his new company, Generate Capital (a Michigan EIBC member), is interested in re-opening a shuttered food waste-to-energy facility in west Michigan
- Troy-based Aquasight is helping Great Lakes Water Authority identify potential savings for residents through energy waste reduction
- Michigan EIBC member company ITC will build an underwater transmission line under Lake Erie.
- According to former Governor Granholm, the future of electric and autonomous vehicles will “blow your mind.”
NEWS FROM WASHINGTON:
- A bipartisan energy reform bill was approved by the Senate but has been stalled in negotiations with the House.
- House appropriations committee members introduced an energy bill that rejected the deep cuts proposed by President Trump, though the House bill would still cut $209 million from the department’s current spending levels, including slashing funding for Department of Energy research programs and eliminating the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).
- As part of the administration’s Energy Week, President Trump made a speech vowing to “unleash American energy,” but his plans exclude renewables. The President also discussed plans to bring energy development jobs to tribal lands.
- A federal court ruled that the EPA will not have to disclose the number of coal jobs lost due to regulatory changes.
NATIONAL GRID AND EFFICIENCY NEWS:
- The new D.C. United soccer stadium is going to feature a host of energy efficiency and other energy measures, thanks to $25 million in PACE financing.
- An outgoing member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said “bring on more renewables.”
NATIONAL SOLAR NEWS:
- Minnesota’s second 100-megawatt solar project is up and running.
- Just six months after signing major energy legislation, Illinois Governor Rauner is supporting a bill that would divert up to $160 million allocated to develop solar power in low-income neighborhoods to other uses.
NATIONAL WIND NEWS:
- Ohio lawmakers removed provisions in a budget bill that would have eased restrictive zoning setbacks for wind turbines and allowed utilities to seek rate increases solely to improve their credit rating.
NATIONAL FOSSIL FUEL NEWS:
- According to the Energy Information Agency, American exports of crude oil and petroleum products have more than doubled since 2010
- An American Petroleum Institute study predicts that two million new jobs will be created in the natural gas industry by 2040, though other reports say that natural gas exports will take away jobs.
- Idaho Power announced plans to phase out coal generation by 2032.
NATIONAL BIOENERGY NEWS:
NATIONAL TECHNOLOGY AND MARKET NEWS:
- Officials confirmed that at least one nuclear facility was hacked. An investigation is ongoing.
- UPS announced that 25% of its electricity will come from advanced energy sources by 2025.
- General Electric Co. combined its oil and gas business with Baker Hughes Inc. to try to hold out for higher oil prices.
NATIONAL VEHICLE AND MOBILITY NEWS:
- A study led by BMW and Pacific Electric and Gas found that electric vehicles can be a valuable tool for supporting grid flexibility.
- Chevrolet picked Colorado for early sales of the new Bolt EV due to the state’s high demand for electric vehicles.
- EV charging company and Michigan EIBC member ChargePoint is acquiring nearly 10,000 charging stations from General Electric.
- IKEA is planning to install three EV charging stations at its new store in Columbus.
- Volvo announced that all of its cars will be electric or hybrids after 2019.
- Tesla kicked off production on its first mass market electric car, the Model 3, with a sticker price of around $35,000. As Tesla works to catch up with the Chevy Bolt for mass-production of electric vehicles, a number of states have levied new fees on electric cars, removing a significant consumer incentive.
MICHIGAN ENERGY EVENTS:
The Energy Alliance Group of Michigan is hosting a program entitled “PACE in West Michigan – Making Building Efficiency Upgrades Affordable” on July 12 in Grand Rapids. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing is now available in the City of Wyoming, and is under consideration in the cities of Grand Rapids, Walker, Grandville, East Grand Rapids and Kentwood. This event will provide information detailing how to use this new financing option for upgrading the energy efficiency of commercial, industrial, multi-family and non-profit buildings. For more information or to RSVP, click here.
On Thursday, July 13, MPSC Staff is hosting a meeting to discuss how to implement the new provisions of Public Act 342 of 2016 with respect to Section 11 (a) ““Renewable energy” means electricity or steam generated using a renewable energy system”; Section 11 (g)(ii) “Solar and solar thermal energy”; and Section 11 (g)(vi) “Thermal energy produced from a geothermal heat pump.” To participate, use the following information:
- Location: MPSC Offices at 7109 Saginaw, Lansing, MI 48917, in the Lake Michigan Hearing Room
- Date and Time: July 13, 2017 – 1:30-3:00 P.M.
- Call in: (888) 808-6929 – Access Code: 918-6690
- Webinar: https:///www.webmeeting.att.com – Access Code: 918-6690
The 2017 PlugVolt Battery Seminar is scheduled for July 18-20 in Ann Arbor. Industry leaders, policy decision-makers, and key stakeholders from more than 80 companies are expected to gather at the PlugVolt Battery Seminar to learn more about the challengers and opportunities for energy storage systems in grid/utility storage and automotive applications. Register here.
The MPSC will be holding its first Performance Based Regulation (PBR) stakeholders discussion meeting on July 24th from 2:00-5:00 pm at the Lake Michigan Hearing room at the MPSC office at 7109 W. Saginaw, Lansing, MI 48917. Section 6u of PA 341 directs the Commission to complete a study of PBR and submit it to the Governor and Legislators by April 20, 2018. The legislative language references collaboration with stakeholders for this study. The MPSC is requesting input from Michigan utilities as well as other interested parties regarding PBR. Please RSVP to email@example.com.
The MPSC will host a technical conference on the future of electric vehicle charging on August 9 at the public service commission office, 7109 W. Saginaw Highway, Lansing. Subject matter experts interested in participating in a panel are asked to submit a letter of interest, resume and summary of expertise to Al Freeman at the commission offices or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAVE THE DATE: 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. Proposals are due July 14.
NATIONAL ENERGY EVENTS:
Intersolar North America, the most attended solar exhibition in North America, will take place July 11-13 in San Francisco. Since its founding, Intersolar has become a key industry platform for manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, service providers, and partners of the solar energy.
The National Energy Conference for Educators is July 16-20 in Milwaukee. This event brings together educators that are passionate about bringing energy education to their classrooms. In five interactive days in Milwaukee, the conference provides teachers with the most up-to-date information on all aspects of energy including the science of energy, sources of energy, transportation, electricity, efficiency and environmental and economic impacts. For more information or to register, see the NEED website.
The 2017 National Energy Codes Conference is July 17-20 in Pittsburgh. This event is the only national conference dedicated solely to energy codes. The theme this year is “Bridges to the Future.” The conference will focus on achieving compliance but sessions will also cover development, adoption, policy, tools and research. For more information, see the Department of Energy website.
Energy Storage North America will take place August 8-10 in San Diego. As the largest conference and expo for grid-connected energy storage in North America, Energy Storage North America brings together utilities, regulators, municipal leaders, project developers, investors, systems integrators, and commercial and industrial customers for top-tier networking and information sharing.
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.
A web site from the Michigan Public Service Commission provides details on the laws, which took effect on April 20. For more information, or to sign up for notifications, visit www.michigan.gov/energylegislation.
The presentations from last week’s Michigan CHP conference can now be viewed online.
Google’s free online tool, Project Sunroof, now shows which homes have already installed rooftop solar panels.
World Resources Institute recently published an Implementation Guide for Utilities, outlining best practices in designing renewable energy projects to meet large energy customers needs.
The Michigan Energy Office is offering rebates to eligible applicants to upgrade existing public streetlights with LED lights through the Exterior LED Lighting Rebate Program. The purpose of this program is to encourage energy waste reduction and promote community vitality by accelerating the transition to energy efficient LED lighting. MEO will match utility rebates up to $0.35/W reduced. Applicants with no utility rebate will be awarded at a rate of $0.35/W reduced. For more information or to apply, click here.