NRStor Storage Project Almost Complete, Laura Sherman One of 40 Under 40 Energy Leaders 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:

NRStor Pursues Energy Storage Tech in Many Forms

  Renewable energy and reliability go hand-in-hand, as we explored in a recent newsletter edition. One of the companies helping to firm up energy generated by renewable sources is Michigan EIBC member NRStor Inc., a Toronto-based company that engineers and operates energy storage projects from flywheel storage to batteries to compressed air energy storage.

Although a Canadian company, NRStor has an Ann Arbor office, where Michigan EIBC VP of Policy Cory Connolly recently met with NRStor Director of Engineering Katherine Peretick to discuss the company’s technology-agnostic approach to storage. Cory has been regularly visiting Michigan EIBC members to learn about the diversity of our membership’s work.

One of NRStor’s most impressive projects is the development of the world’s first commercial fuel-free compressed air energy storage facility. Located in Goderich, Ontario, the project is being built on an old underground salt cavern and expected to begin commercial operation later this year. The Goderich project uses electricity generated by wind power at off-peak times to run a motor to compress air in the salt cavern. Then, a valve can release air from the salt cavern to generate electricity at peak times. A 100-MW, 8-hour compressed air energy storage facility can integrate up to 4,600 GWh of renewable energy over the lifetime of the facility, according to NRStor. The project also has a very small footprint, at less than an acre in size.

The long duration of compressed air energy storage makes it ideal for providing peak energy that grid operators can rely on. But different types of storage technology have different applications. For example, another of NRStor’s projects is a 2-MW flywheel storage project that became operational in 2014. Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator selected NRStor through a competitive RFP to develop the project to provide grid flexibility. The fast-responding nature of flywheel storage makes it a good fit for helping grid operators balance supply and demand on a second-by-second basis. 

NRStor’s technology-agnostic approach means it can pursue storage projects in a variety of applications. 

Wind Power Costs Keep Falling, Department of Energy Study Finds

Competition, a strong project finance environment and technological improvements have driven wind project power purchase agreements (PPAs) to all-time record low prices and the installed costs of wind projects to the lowest levels in almost two decades, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) new 2018 Wind Technologies Market Report.

At the same time, wind continues to become more efficient at generating electricity, according to the latest edition of the annual report from the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. The average capacity factor of the wind power fleet exceeded 35% for the first time in 2018, driven by new wind installations that year whose capacity factor was greater than 40%. In an example of how far the industry has come, projects built between 1998 and 2001 had a capacity factor of 23.8% on average.

Based on a sample of 2018 projects surveyed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) for the DOE report, the 2018 average PPA price was under $20 per MWh, down from over $70 per MWh in 2009. While the report notes that the 2018 sample is tilted towards projects in the Great Plains region where wind is cheapest, average PPA prices for all other regions have been steadily declining from around $90 per MWh to around $30 per MWh over roughly the past decade. “Today’s low PPA prices have been facilitated by the combination of higher capacity factors, declining installed costs and operating costs, and low interest rates… the [federal production tax credit] has also been a key enabler over time,” the report said.

The installed costs of the average wind project in 2018 were about $1,470 per kW, down 40% from 2009, and on par with costs in the early 2000s, when turbine prices dipped. Turbine prices peaked in 2008 and 2009, but installed costs did not peak until 2009 and 2010. Turbine prices are a lagging indicator for the costs of wind projects due to the length of time between the signing of a turbine supply agreement and the completion of a project.

Wind made up 21% of all power capacity additions in 2018, third behind solar and natural gas.
Independent power producers own 80% of the wind capacity installed in 2018 and investor-owned utilities own 19.9%.

As with other economies of scale, the $ per kW cost for wind projects tends to be significantly lower the larger the project. Based on the LBNL sample, projects ranging from 161 to over 200 MW in capacity size all came in under $2,000 per kW, while projects under 5 MW ranged from around $2,000 per kW to $5,000 per kW. 

Michigan EIBC President Dr. Laura Sherman Recognized As One of ‘40 Under 40’ Leaders in Clean Energy in the Midwest

Midwest Energy News has named Michigan EIBC President Dr. Laura Sherman to its 2019 40 Under 40 list, which honors leaders in the advanced energy world in the Midwest who are under 40 years old. Congratulations to Laura!

Other honorees included Michigan EIBC Board Member and Lean & Green Michigan CEO Bali Kumar, Michigan EIBC member Invenergy Vice President for Communications Elizabeth Conley, State of Michigan Policy Advisor on Energy and Environmental Issues Kara Cook and ENGIE North America Director of Solar Technical Services Mike Capalbo and Director of Business Development Kristen Fornes. 

Midwest Energy News is holding a reception to honor this year’s recipients in Chicago on Monday, Sept. 23. 

Last year’s 40 Under 40 list included Michigan EIBC VP of Policy Cory Connolly, Michigan EIBC Board Member and Cypress Creek Renewables Midwest Policy Director Kevin Borgia and Michigan EIBC member OneEnergy Renewables Director for Project Development Eric Udelhofen. 

9th EV Convening Will Deal With Private Sector Challenges and Solutions

The electric vehicle industry is facing a catch-22: high voltage, fast-charging stations need to become more widespread to persuade more customers to adopt EVs, but higher EV adoption is also needed to make those stations financially viable. That problem was recently outlined in research by the Great Plains Institute that found that the majority of direct current fast-charging stations lose money.

This issue is one example of how the private sector faces challenges providing EV infrastructure. How can private sector actors like gas stations, car dealerships, private fleets and more navigate the transition to EVs in a financially sustainable way?

Michigan EIBC’s 9th EV Convening, co-hosted by Clean Fuels Michigan and sponsored by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy – Office of Climate and Energy, will explore this question. The topic is Vehicle Electrification in the Transition to Advanced Mobility: Private Sector Solutions. Register here for the event, which will be held Tuesday, September 17, from 11:45 am to 2:30 pm in downtown Lansing.   

Save The Date for the Michigan Energy Innovators Gala November 14

Michigan EIBC’s 7th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala will take place on Thursday, November 14 from 5:00 to 9:00 pm at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. During the gala, we celebrate businesses and individuals who are working to grow Michigan’s advanced energy sector. Advanced energy business leaders, state officials, MPSC staff, and legislators will be in attendance. Awards will be handed out at the event, and only Michigan EIBC members are able to nominate and vote for award winners. Sponsorship opportunities are available and can be found on our websiteRegistration is also open should you wish to purchase individual tickets.


Gigawatt Level

Megawatt Level

Kilowatt Level

Renewing Members

Foresight exists to champion energy management, accelerate sustainability, and increase our client’s profitability. We strive to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships resulting in positive financial, operational, and environmental impact for our customers. 

Since 2007, Foresight has served multi-site, multi-national commercial, industrial, and institutional organizations.  From setting goals and developing strategic plans, to identifying, designing and implementing energy efficiency projects, Foresight acts in partnership with our client’s as their “outsourced energy and sustainability managers”. 

NOVI Energy
NOVI Energy offers a variety of services whose main goal is to increase efficiency, economic performance, and reliability of our customer’s current systems. We bring our real world development and operations experience into our consulting work, offering first-hand knowledge of the best available technologies in the marketplace. NOVI Energy is a strong project development company with many years of experience in design, construction, and ownership of small to large scale power and energy generation facilities spanning a range of technologies including both conventional and renewable fuels.

The Christman Company
Christman is a self perform builder, construction manager, and general contractor, in business for over 120 years, based in Michigan and with a footprint in the mid-south region. With average revenue around $800M, and a diverse, talented group of professionals, our capabilities fit for a broad range of project types and size.

Volta Power Systems
More than a battery, our systems represent everything you need to integrate advanced energy storage into your RV, yacht, coach, utility truck or virtually any mobile application. We set out to redefine the industry by pursuing the first ever automotive-grade, lithium ion solution for smaller OEM markets.  

Michigan Energy News

  • Consumers Energy will purchase 100 MW from Michigan EIBC member Ranger Power’s River Fork Solar project in Calhoun County as the result of a competitive bidding process.
  • Consumers Energy and DTE Energy are sending crews to Florida to help with Hurricane Dorian as part of a mutual assistance network run by utilities.
  • GM is pondering whether to join an agreement between California and other automakers that would keep fuel economy standards high in the face of a rollback from the Trump administration.
  • Consumers Energy CEO Patti Poppe paid special attention to energy efficiency in recent remarks in Grand Rapids.
  • Linda Apsey, president and CEO of Michigan EIBC member ITC Holdings Corp., was part of a CEO roundtable, along with GM’s Mary Barra and Ford’s Jim Hackett, discussing corporate social responsibility, as reported by Crain’s Detroit.
  • Energy CIO Insights magazine featured Michigan EIBC member e-On Batteries, Inc. in a cover story, naming the company one of the top energy storage providers for 2019.
  • The Branch Intermediate School District in Branch County is leasing solar panels under a 20-year agreement with Michigan EIBC member Chart House Energy.
  • DTE Energy should take another look at battery storage, the Energy and Policy Institute argues.

National Energy News

  • Greentech Media describes how a “battery arms race” has led to some huge battery storage projects of 100 MW and more.
  • Dominion Energy hopes to replace all diesel school buses in its Virginia service territory with electric buses by 2030.
  • Solar panels on freight trucks are a developing part of the distributed solar industry.
  • Research into tidal and wave energy in New England has stalled as offshore wind takes off.
  • A proposal for a new system to fund solar projects in New Jersey has some developers concerned about the potential effects on the single family home sector.
  • Missouri utility Ameren is planning to build three solar plus battery storage projects at 10 MW each.
  • The mayor of Pittsburgh wants to make city government buildings net-zero energy efficient.

Michigan Energy Events

Advanced transportation advocacy group Forth is holding a networking reception at the Michigan Beer Company at 5:00 pm on Sept. 10 following the Electric & Hybrid Technology Expo in Novi. RSVP here.

Michigan Energy Options is holding a Summer Solar Webinar Series. On Sept. 19, Marta Tomic of Vote Solar will discuss community solar projects.

The Battery Show’s North America 2019 conference on Sept. 12 to 19 in Novi will feature exhibitors and speakers covering all stages of the advanced battery supply chain. Learn more here.

The Michigan chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy is holding its 2nd Annual Energy Ball in Detroit on Sept. 14Register here. For those interested in all sustainability issues, tickets are now available for the Rise Up & Drawdown Michigan conference at DeVos Conference Center in Grand Rapids on Sept. 25. Also see the exhibitor opportunity listed below.

The University of Michigan Energy Institute’s 2019 Conference on Transportation, Economics, Energy and the Environment will be held on Oct. 18 and is now open for registration.  

National Energy Events

Register for North America Smart Energy Week from Sept. 23 to Sept. 26 in Salt Lake City, co-hosted by the Smart Electric Power Alliance and the Solar Energy Industries Association.

National Clean Energy Week is Sept. 23 to Sept. 27, and involves a number of events in Washington, DC.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s U.S. Commercial Service is holding Discover Global Markets: Powering & Building the Middle East & Africa in Houston, Texas from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. This event is for companies who want to learn how to enter the renewable energy, electricity infrastructure, construction, engineering, transportation and oil & gas sectors in the Middle East & Africa. There is also the opportunity to pre-schedule meetings at the event with U.S. commercial diplomats. Learn more here.

On Oct. 2 in London, UK, Greentech Media’s Off-Grid Energy Access Forum is featuring speakers including Valérie Levkov, VP for Africa, Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean at EDF, parent company of Michigan EIBC member EDF Renewables, on the topic of solar systems and mini-grids in the developing world. Click here to register.

Register here for Advanced Energy Now | West, Advanced Energy Economy’s regional energy policy conference, to be held Oct. 16 to 17 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Greentech Media’s Power & Renewables Summit is in Austin, Tex., on Oct. 29 to 30. Topics include clean energy mandates, post-subsidy scenarios, East Coast offshore wind, distributed energy resource participation in wholesale markets and more. Go here to register. Energy Storage North America’s 2019 Conference & Expo is in San Diego from Nov. 5 to 7.

The U.S. Commercial Service has also organized the Clean Energy and Zero Emission Vehicle Technologies Trade Mission to Mexico from November 18 to 23. This one-week trip for U.S. companies involves one-on-one meetings, conferences, roundtables, a networking reception and OEM and tier 1 plant visits with the automotive and clean energy industry in Mexico. Contact U.S. Commercial Service Mexico Energy Industry Specialist Claudia Salgado at The U.S. Commercial Service is also offering free consultancies for Michigan EIBC members interested in these business sectors in Mexico.


The Michigan Energy Office’s Small Manufacturers Energy Waste Reduction Incentive Pilot is offering rebates of up to $15,000 per company for small manufacturers that can implement energy efficiency activities between Oct. 1, 2019 and July 31, 2020. There is a 100% minimum match requirement. Click here to learn more about eligibility and apply.

Click here to learn more about reserving an exhibitor table at the Rise Up & Drawdown Michigan conference in Grand Rapids on Sept. 25