Plans for $64 Million from Volkswagen Settlement Announced; Michigan Clean Energy Leaders Project Recap

Michigan EIBC Supports Michigan Clean Energy Leaders Project

Throughout 2018, Michigan EIBC has supported the Michigan Clean Energy Leaders Project(MCEL), which is an effort to build a more robust community of young professionals in the clean energy industry in Michigan. MCEL was the brainchild of Michigan EIBC Vice President Cory Connolly. He developed the project in an attempt to build a stronger community of clean energy professionals in Michigan for collaboration now and in the future. The project was predominantly funded by E2, a program of NRDC, through a generous grant from Barry Sternlicht, Founder of 1 Hotels and CEO & Chairman of Starwood Capital Group and received additional support from Michigan EIBC and 5 Lakes Energy.

MCEL participants were selected through an open application process earlier this year, with significant input and support from a team of advisors, including Michigan EIBC President Liesl Eichler Clark. There were approximately 50 incredible applicants for the program, representing diverse geographies, backgrounds, industries, and perspectives. From this strong applicant pool, MCEL selected and brought together 15 talented and accomplished young clean energy leaders.

The participants attended two weekend-long retreats: the first in Northport, Michigan (June 8-10, 2018) and the second in Higgins Lake, Michigan (September 14-16, 2018). Each retreat provided opportunities for peer-to-peer learning on topics such as automated vehicles, wind project development, city sustainability efforts, and utility-scale energy storage. In addition to learning from one another, participants developed strong interpersonal and professional relationships and identified tangible projects for future collaboration. The project has already yielded positive outcomes for participants through new working relationships, with one participant finding a new job that will keep them in Michigan in the advanced energy industry.

Please find a list of the program participants below. If you have any questions about the Michigan Clean Energy Leaders Project, its future, or how to contact participants, please reach out to Cory at or at

Plans for $64 Million from Volkswagen Settlement AnnouncedEarlier this week, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) released its plan for using funds from the Volkswagen settlement. In the fall of 2015, Volkswagen publicly admitted it had installed emissions control defeat devices – software designed to cheat emissions tests and deceive federal and state regulators – in certain vehicles. In the litigation that ensued, an Environmental Mitigation Trust (Trust) was established as part of two partial consent decrees to resolve, among other things, claims of the United States’ concerning excess oxides of nitrogen (NOx) from Volkswagen’s 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter diesel engine vehicles equipped with defeat devices.  The Trust allocates more than $2.8 billion to the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia to fund environmental mitigation actions that reduce NOx emissions. In accordance with the State Trust Agreement, Michigan has developed the Michigan Volkswagen Settlement Beneficiary Mitigation Plan that outlines how it will administer the more than $64 million of settlement funds it was allocated.

The first request for proposals will be later this year for school buses only, including electric buses. All other eligible categories will be funded beginning in 2019. The plan was developed with public comment, stakeholder input, statewide air quality data, and an evaluation of eligible mitigation actions.  

On behalf of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE) will be administering 15 percent of Michigan’s allocation for projects involving light-duty zero emission vehicle supply equipment.  This includes charging stations and hydrogen dispensing infrastructure.

On November 5, 2018, at 1:00 p.m., a webinar will be held explaining the Michigan Volkswagen Settlement Beneficiary Mitigation Plan.  To register for the webinar, click on the following link: Beneficiary Mitigation Plan Webinar.

For more information on the Michigan Volkswagen Settlement Beneficiary Mitigation Plan, contact Ms. Debra Swartz at or 517-284-6903.

What’s Next? Data-driven, customer-centric utilities

Last week, Tendril announced a new collaboration with Google that will provide voice-activated energy information and notifications to utility customers via the Google Assistant and Google Home devices. This initiative is undertaken in partnership with Indiana Michigan Power, a utility that services parts of southwest Michigan and is just the latest news underscoring a broader trend toward a more intelligent, dynamic, and customer-centric electricity system.

Michigan EIBC and our members recognize this trend. Our companies are deploying intelligent system controls for Michigan’s buildings, increasing the penetration of electric vehicles, finding innovative ways to shift demand, and increasing the diversity of the generation mix through solar, wind, combined heat and power, and other technologies. All of these activities are helping change the way utilities function. We have new sources and types of load from electric vehicles, we have more flexible demand from homes and businesses with new smart technologies, and we have a growing diversity and geography of electricity generation with different profiles to consider. This new context — driven by our companies — is causing a major change in the way people, businesses, and utilities think about electricity.

Customers now have more opportunities to interact with and influence their electricity usage and utilities and related companies are taking notice, seeking ways to leverage large data to better serve customers, while also protecting the utility business model. One of the leaders in helping bring data and technology to improve utility services, benefiting customers and utility companies alike, has been Adrian Tuck of Tendril. We’re looking forward to hearing more from Adrian on this topic at the Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on November 14 and hope that we’ll see you there. Make sure to get your tickets here!
Keynote, Adrian Tuck

Event Sponsors

Gigawatt Level 

Megawatt Level


Kilowatt Level

Renewing members

With over 40 years of combined experience in the electrical utility industry, ecojiva, LLC is a full-service solar energy management system provider. ecojiva, LLC designs Photovoltaic (PV) solar energy solutions for agriculture, commercial, and industrial enterprises, and is a full-service turn-key enterprise from inception to completion. Our engineers design PV systems that provide access to power independent of the utility grid, and creates surplus power that can be returned to the grid. Founded by utility industry veteran Sridhar K. Ayer, ecojiva, LLC is committed to energy innovation in the solar industry not only as a technology provider but through education and advocacy as well. The company’s expertise also encompasses Transmission & Distribution design services, patent-pending eco-DMT™ energy management system, and ecoSEMS™ complete solar energy solutions.

Harvest Energy Solutions
Harvest Energy Solutions provides cost effective renewable energy for Agriculture, Commercial and Residential customers throughout the midwest Harvest Energy Solutions provides full design and installation of solar energy systems in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Arkansas. We specialize in agricultural, commercial and rural residential installations. Over the past several years we have had conversations with thousands of farmers and ranchers that expressed concern and frustration over the skyrocketing cost of energy and the volatile supply in real times of need. As a result, many of us are taking steps toward energy conservation and are considering alternative and renewable options with the ultimate goal of energy independence and sustainability right on our own farms. We offer the most energy efficient, American made products to the agricultural industry and continue to add more. Our products offer a great return on investment and are designed for rugged, agricultural applications.

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.

NTH Consultants
NTH Consultants, Ltd. (NTH) has been providing professional engineering consulting services to the energy, urban renewal, water resources and infrastructure markets since 1968. From a small, Detroit-based, geotechnical engineering firm, our company has grown significantly providing a wide range of services in geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering, and facilities engineering.

Michigan Energy Stories

  • Researchers at Michigan State University are testing methods for long-duration energy storage using cheaper materials.
  • Corporate demand for renewable energy is helping drive policy and projects in Michigan. Michigan EIBC President Liesl Eichler Clark: “They [Michigan companies] understand renewables benefit their company and they want access to them.”  
  • DTE Energy is slated to close two coal plants based on carbon emissions and financial considerations. “To me, the No. 1 driver has absolutely been market costs and economic forces,” said Liesl Clark, president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council. She noted that the rising tide of renewables has been helped by a combination of low wind and solar prices, growing corporate demand for clean energy, and improved integration from grid operators.
  • General Motors Co. proposed a national requirement to ensure that zero-emission cars compose 25 percent of automaker fleets by 2030, a response to President Donald Trump’s push to roll back stringent gas mileage rules enacted by former President Barack Obama.
  • A proposed wind farm in Kent and Muskegon counties remains in limbo after a fourth public meeting.
  • A new law in Michigan reduces electricity costs for a Hemlock Semiconductor, which manufactures components for solar panels.
  • Heritage Sustainable Energy has been operating 14 wind turbines in the Garden Peninsula since 2012. Now, they’re breaking ground on their expansion project near the original wind farm in Garden.
  • The State of Michigan’s PlanetM continues to drive mobility solutions, focusing on four strategies: create public-private sector working groups, evaluate mobility challenges and solutions, construct viable business models around those solutions, and then create investment channels to fund technology pilots that bring those solutions to life.
  • Energy generated by residents generating their own energy from solar, wind and other sources increased by 35 percent from 2016 to 2017, but overall residential customer-sited renewables make up only 0.032 percent of Michigan’s retail electricity sales.
  • Governor Snyder named Mark Van Port Fleet the new director of the Michigan Department of Transportation.
  • Michigan Saves announced 12 new measures that can qualify for financing through its residential and commercial programs. New measures include electric vehicle charging stations, micro-CHP systems, whole-home battery storage, and more. 

National Energy Stories

Michigan Energy Events  

Please join representatives from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Agency for Energy on November 5 at 1pm for a webinar to learn more about Michigan’s Beneficiary Mitigation Plan (BMP).  The BMP outlines how Michigan plans to spend $64.8M that it has been allocated as a result of the Volkswagen Settlement. Register here.

Michigan EIBC will host a members-only election recap on Friday, November 9. Watch your inboxes for registration details.

Michigan EIBC’s Annual Energy Innovator’s Gala is scheduled for Wednesday, November 14, in Lansing. Sponsorship opportunities are available and interested sponsors should contact Nicole Forward at For more information on the Gala and to register, please check out the website.

IEI will host a Corporate Purchasers Lunch & Learn at the House Office Building in Lansing on December 5. This event will be open to legislators and legislative staff, as well as Michigan EIBC members. Watch your inboxes for registration details.

Attend Automobli-D January 14-17, an event showcasing suppliers driving mobility technology, V2I connectivity, urban mobility, smart cities, building a mobility workforce, ride sharing, cybersecurity and autonomous technologies.

The North American International Auto Show is Jan. 14-27 in Detroit.

National Energy Events     
Join 20,000 energy professionals at the Energy Storage North America Solar+Storage Summit November 6-8 in Pasadena, California. Register here.

You’re invited to Facing Race, a conference taking place in Detroit November 8-10. The conference will include several components related to energy democracy, helping cities and states to implement their new energy programs in a way that is racially equitable. For more information, please click here.

The 130th NARUC Annual Meeting and Education Conference will convene state and national utility regulators, federal and state policymakers, industry representatives, consumer advocates, informed experts, and other engaged stakeholders in Orlando, Florida, November 11-14. Register here.

Attend the SEIA Women’s Empowerment Summit at Solar Power Midwest provides thought leadership on the value of a diverse, inclusive solar workforce – November 13 in Chicago – Register today.
The 6th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala is on November 14 in East Lansing hosted by the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) invite you to Solar Power Midwest in Chicago on November 14-15

Attend the Smart Cities International Symposium & Exhibition Jan. 22-24 in Chicago.

Announcements and Opportunities
The Michigan Energy Office (MEO) has announced a pilot program that will offer matching funds to eligible Michigan businesses to develop innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
USDA announced a set of loan guarantees and grants as a part of USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The deadlines to apply for grants are Oct. 31, 2018, and April 1, 2019. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round. Additional information about the program and how to apply for this funding is available on page 40216 of the Aug. 14, 2018, Federal Register. 

PlanetM Startup Grants. The grants provide access to $1.3 million in funding for global mobility startups to test, validate and prove out new technologies with the goal of making transportation easier, safer and more affordable for Michigan residents.
Diesel Emissions Reduction Act Clean Diesel Funding Opportunity. Deadline: Nov. 26, 2018. Awards: $425,000
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality seeks proposals for competitive grant funding for the 2019 Michigan Clean Diesel Program. This RFP targets projects involving the early replacement of old diesel equipment and vehicles with new diesel, alternative fuel, as well as electric and hybrid equipment vehicles.
Advanced Systems Integration for Solar Technologies (ASSIST). Deadline: Dec. 7, 2018. Awards: $46M.
The DOE seeks applications that will strengthen the integration of solar on the electricity grid, especially at critical infrastructure sites, improve the resilience of the nation’s electricity grid, and streamline technology transfer challenges.