- Newsletter (386)
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:
Preview of The State Legislature This Activity: What’s on the Docket for Advanced Energy?
After a break for most of August, starting next week, both chambers of the Michigan legislature will be back in session for a busy fall. Several pieces of legislation that would make positive changes for the advanced energy industry will likely be up for consideration.
- HB 4715 and HB 4716 would remove barriers holding back community solar projects. Community solar has a great deal of potential to bring the benefits of solar power to new types of communities and customers, and these bills would unleash that potential.
- This summer, the Michigan House Energy Committee passed HB 5011 and HB 5012, legislation that would update the statute behind commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing, helping both a greater number and a greater diversity of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects move forward. We are hopeful the full House and Senate will vote on these bills this fall.
- Several different bills intended to incentivize more EV charging infrastructure have been introduced.
- HB 4236, the bill that would eliminate the arbitrary cap on distributed generation, has not yet received a committee vote. But throughout the spring and summer we have seen support growing among a diverse range of stakeholders who recognize that the cap is outdated. Michigan EIBC has kept the spotlight on the importance of eliminating the cap through communications efforts like an op-ed in the Lansing State Journal.
- While a specific bill has not been filed yet, we expect that legislation to deal with Michigan’s poor electric reliability, as exemplified by widespread power outages this summer, will be introduced soon.
Severe Weather, Power Outages Put Spotlight on Value of Distributed Energy
The hundreds of thousands of Michigan customers who lost power in August, one of the worst electric reliability interruptions in the state’s history, is a sign of how increasingly severe weather is changing how we look at utility services and the provision of energy more generally.
One group of people who are prepared for more frequent outages are those who have invested in home battery systems, including batteries that are combined with solar power. A recent mLive article profiled several people in the Ann Arbor area who were able to weather the storm with their power mostly unaffected thanks to their distributed energy systems.
The article quotes Eric Roberts, a master electrician with Michigan EIBC member The Green Panel. “A battery can be installed even without solar and it can be charged from the grid,” he said. “And it can be just sitting there as kind of a generator itself and it can sit and wait, and it can be programmed to do peak-shaving demand rates to be discharged in the house in the event that the utility rates are higher throughout the course of the day.”
One frustration that the article points out, however, is that Michigan law “doesn’t allow homeowners without a backup battery to just add a transfer switch to their solar systems so they can still operate as an island independent of the grid during outages.”
As severe weather becomes more common, the value of distributed energy and the need to change our old ways of regulating the grid are becoming increasingly important.
Cory Connolly Talks Clean Energy Jobs
Michigan EIBC VP Cory Connolly stopped by MITECHNEWS.com’s YouTube channel to talk about the 2021 Clean Jobs Midwest report from Clean Energy Trust and E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs). That report found that Michigan’s jobs in clean energy sectors like EVs, renewable energy and energy efficiency saw a strong rebound from the effects of the pandemic in the second half of 2020.
“The industry is rebounding fast. Just like any other part of the economy we saw it decline due to COVID and the related economic turmoil,” Connolly said. But now, “we see our companies hiring like mad and doing quite a bit of work in Michigan, we expect to see a return to growth rates pre-pandemic, and even faster than prior to the pandemic.”
He also talked about jobs in the advanced transportation sector, including EVs and plug-in hybrids, which the Clean Jobs report found actually grew by 1% in Michigan in 2020 as a whole. “A 1% increase in 2020 when the vast majority of the economy is taking a hit is quite a statement for the type of growth we are going to see in that sector,” Cory said.
RSVP for 9th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala in Detroit
We are so excited about the 9th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on September 14, 2021 at The Eastern, Detroit, MI, featuring keynote speaker Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II! There will be an outdoor area for the event, and attendees can choose to remain outdoors without missing any of the Gala.
Tickets are available here. RSVP soon as we expect this event to sell out.
During the gala, we celebrate the individuals and businesses who have worked to grow Michigan’s advanced energy sector in 2021. Advanced energy business leaders and experts, legislators, state and local government officials, and other key decision-makers will be in attendance, and attendees will get to enjoy amazing food from Detroit area food trucks, good company and networking at this premiere outdoor/indoor event!
Sponsorship Opportunities Update:
We invite you to become a sponsor of Michigan EIBC’s premier annual Gala event. We will be hosting a VIP Cocktail Reception with Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II and other VIPs, for those sponsors at the Gigawatt + Megawatt sponsor level. Please let us know if you are interested in this exclusive opportunity! Sponsors will benefit from networking with advanced energy industry leaders and experts. For information on sponsorship opportunities and benefits contact Brianna Gerard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated Event Timeline:
5:00p – 6:15p | Cocktail hour + Networking (open bar + food trucks serving)
6:20p – 7:30p | Keynote Speaker + Awards Program
7:30p – 8:00p | Continued Networking + Dessert & Coffee/Tea Bar
8:00p | Event Concludes
Please note that the health and safety of our staff and guests is of utmost importance to us. Attendees of Gala are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the start of the event. The CDC defines fully vaccinated as two weeks after receiving a second shot of a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Additionally, as recommended by CDC guidance, Michigan EIBC strongly encourages that all attendees wear masks while indoors.
LT. GOVERNOR GARLIN GILCHRIST II
Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II has dedicated his career to solving problems. An engineer by training, he uses thoughtful innovation, progressive reform, and efficient modernization of policies and programs to make the work better for hardworking families. From spearheading campaigns for equality and justice to harnessing technology to solve real problems, his focus has consistently remained on serving the public and getting things done.
As part of the Whitmer Administration, Lt. Governor Gilchrist II has sought to address injustice and inequality across our state at every level, his approach to addressing disparities is deeply rooted in fact-based practices, science, and connecting with individuals across Michigan.
The Watt Level
Mid-market companies leverage our “strategy as a service” to build more robust, resilient and sustaining growth. Being strategic growth catalysts, we accelerate the success of companies growing in their current markets, introducing new products and services, and diversifying into new markets. We are based in Michigan and have worked with clean tech and clean energy companies and organizations for many years.
Michigan Energy News
- Gongwer reports on DTE fronting Michigan House Energy Committee Chairman Joe Bellino’s entrance fee for a charity golf event.
- About 96% of members of the state legislature have accepted a contribution from a PAC run by DTE or Consumers Energy, the Detroit News reports.
- DTE announces new spending on tree trimming in response to power outages.
- The University of Michigan and the University of Tokyo are collaborating on technology that could allow electronic devices to charge wirelessly.
- Rep. Yousef Rabhi is questioning DTE Gas’s plans to upgrade natural gas lines around Ann Arbor at a time the city is looking at going net-zero.
- Michigan Technological University researchers are continuing to study the potential of an abandoned mine as a site for hydroelectric pumped storage.
National Energy News
- Entergy will need to replace a transmission tower, a significant capital investment, in order to restore power in New Orleans.
- Outages following Hurricane Ida show why Entergy needs to allow more microgrids, Jeff St. John reports in Canary Media.
- The Los Angeles City Council votes to transition the city’s Department of Water and Power to 100% renewable energy by 2035.
- The cost of upgrading millions of solar panels to work with a fully electrified home is a barrier that must be overcome to achieve residential electrification, a new report finds.
- Possibly the first ever community solar opt-out program begins in New York state.
- California legislators are calling for $300 million to develop a hydrogen fueling network.
We are debuting a new section of the newsletter for Michigan EIBC members to post job openings in advanced energy fields. If you have a job announcement you would like in the newsletter, please send a paragraph describing the position and a link to apply to Matt Bandyk at email@example.com. Please include in the email a specific end date for the job posting.
Inovateus Solar is hiring for several positions in South Bend. Check out the company’s LinkedIn page for more information.
NOVI Energy is growing, and they need your help. This month, they announced a joint venture with Osaka Gas USA to develop over 1000 MW of solar power generation facilities, enough solar and storage to power more than 150,000 homes with clean, affordable energy while creating good-paying jobs. This is one of several exciting projects NOVI Energy is developing! Learn more about their company and available Project Engineer positions. See open positions here.
Michigan and National Energy Events
Michigan EIBC’s 9th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala will be held in Detroit on Sept. 14. Buy tickets here.
The PlugVolt Battery Seminar 2021 in Plymouth, Mich., will feature an entire day of in-depth technical tutorials presented by world renowned professors from Top 50 US universities on Day 1, followed by Days 2 and 3 with industry subject matter experts presenting on Automotive and Stationary Storage applications respectively. Attendees will also get an exclusive opportunity to tour INTERTEK Battery Testing Center of Excellence in Plymouth, MI (USA). The seminar is scheduled for Oct. 5-7, and registration is open here.
The U.S. Energy Storage Association Annual Conference & Expo (#ESACon21) will convene December 1-3 in Phoenix to bring together buyers, sellers, investors, and leaders in the energy storage industry for an event focused on driving deals and business in the energy storage industry. The #ESACon21 is a must attend for anyone looking to expand their business, invest in, or develop partnerships in the energy storage industry. Learn more here.
Gov. Whitmer created the Council on Climate Solutions as an advisory body to help formulate and implement the MI Healthy Climate Plan. The council is holding a series of meetings throughout the year on various topics related to cutting Michigan’s CO2 emissions and recommending solutions for communities disproportionately affected by climate change. Go to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy Office of Climate and Energy website to learn how to join these meetings.
State of Michigan DNR is going big in solar with projects in the ground, others in development and additional ones being planned. DNR has released a Request for Proposal for Prequalification Program for Renewable Energy PPAs: www.michigan.gov/sigmavss. Use “Guess Access” to get the RFP. A previous round of pre-qualifications netted solar companies that then were able to bid on a portfolio of DNR solar projects in Southwest Michigan. Another portfolio in the Northern Region is in the works for later this year. Only companies who pre-qualify can bid on future DNR solar projects. Please direct all correspondence to the Solicitation Manager, Laura Gyorkos at gyorkosL@michigan.gov
Consumers Energy Company is planning to seek competitive bids in response to a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) from participants in the MISO Energy Market in accordance with the Company’s Proposed Course of Action in its Integrated Resource Plan. Enel X North America, Inc. will administer the solicitation and anticipates formally releasing the upcoming RFP and associated documents late September 2021. Questions pertaining to this RFP or the proposal submittal process can be sent via email to Enel X by way of CECIA.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lansing Board of Water and Light will issue a Request for Information for electricity storage by the end of September. Vendors can register here.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s PlanetM Testing Grant gives mobility companies the opportunity to access testing facilities around the state, including Mcity at the University of Michigan. Apply here.
The Detroit 2030 District is a free program that challenges Detroit building owners and managers to reduce wasted energy. Those that achieve the greatest reductions from the prior-year baseline will be recognized at the first annual Detroit Energy Challenge Award Ceremony in 2021. Visit 2030districts.org/Detroit to find out more information including how a building can apply.