- Newsletter (345)
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:
Michigan House Energy Committee Probes Outages at Hearing
Performance-based regulation and greater use of distributed energy and energy storage are some of the most important measures Michigan needs to pursue to improve electric reliability, Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) Chairman Daniel Scripps said at an Oct. 13 House Energy Committee hearing that investigated the power outages that plagued Michigan consumers this summer.
Through the MI Power Grid initiative, “we are looking at making sure we are future-proofing the grid,” Scripps said, through greater use of distributed energy. As examples, he pointed to cogeneration facilities used for resiliency for buildings in New York City and how some electric Ford F-150 owners have used their vehicles’ batteries to keep their lights on.
Both Scripps and several members of the committee discussed the goal of “future-proofing” the grid as inseparable from the need to change the utility business model. Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham) asked about how a “performance-based approach” could motivate utilities to look at reliability holistically, and pursue both traditional grid maintenance like tree-trimming and newer measures like helping customers save energy through technologies like smart thermostats.
“All of these things are intertwined together,” Manoogian said.
Rep. John Reilly (R-Oakland Township) asked about what the MPSC can do to push utilities to improve performance. Right now, “the incentive to bring excellence is not there” for utilities, he said. Scripps said that the MPSC is looking at ways to tie the utility’s business model to outcomes on metrics like reliability.
In comments recently submitted to the MPSC, Michigan EIBC and Advanced Energy Economy supported financial incentives and penalties for utilities based on performance and called for approaches like energy efficiency and distributed energy resources to be emphasized in utility distribution plans.
The House committee’s investigation into reliability will continue with a hearing featuring representatives of Michigan’s utilities next week.
Council on Future Mobility and Electrification Releases Report on Michigan’s Position as an EV Leader
This week Governor Whitmer’s Council on Future Mobility and Electrification, on which EIBC VP Cory Connolly serves, released its 2021 report recommending the steps Michigan should take to maintain the state’s leadership in mobility as vehicle electrification becomes the standard.
Michigan needs a “comprehensive and cohesive” strategy for mobility and electrification, according to the report. The strategy proposed by the Council includes an array of policies that bring together five areas: automated and smart vehicle technology, economic development, talent and workforce development, the deployment of charging infrastructure and regulations, including cybersecurity and public safety regulations
-permit operations of personal delivery devices (or automated delivery devices), and extend the permissible vehicle type for on-demand automated vehicle fleets to include
-establish and capitalize a startup resiliency fund
-expand qualifying items for R&D tax credits and include specific targets for talent and electrification
-develop a state-wide rebate program for EV charging equipment
-expand the eligible uses of school district sinking funds to include electric buses
The Council was formed by Gov. Whitmer Michigan in 2020 to advise the then-newly-created Office of Future Mobility and Education. EIBC VP Cory Connolly was appointed by Governor Whitmer to serve on the Council.
“This comprehensive report outlines investments and programs necessary to advance
Michigan’s transition to electric vehicles and bring more well-paying jobs to our state’s
advanced energy sector,” Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman said in a statement in reaction to the report. “Michigan’s auto industry can continue to build upon its successful legacy through critical investments in electric vehicles and the infrastructure necessary to support them. Michigan EIBC members including automakers, charging providers, and more are driving this transition, and it is crucial we see the same level of commitment from our state’s policymakers. We want to thank the Council for its diligent work on this report, and we urge Michigan’s policymakers to take action now based on these recommendations.”
MPSC Issues MI Power Grid Update
The MPSC has released its second status update on the progress of the MI Power Grid initiative, the now two-year-old process “designed to help maximize the benefits to Michiganders as electricity providers transition away from large, centrally located power plants to smaller clean, distributed energy resources including solar, battery storage and energy efficiency,” according to an MPSC statement.
Michigan EIBC has been engaged with the MI Power Grid initiative since the beginning, and continues to provide input to make sure distributed energy, non-wires alternatives, energy storage and other advanced energy tools are fully integrated.
In the new update, the MPSC details progress in the recommendations and pilot programs the Commission is developing with stakeholders in workgroups dedicated to customer engagement, integrating emerging technologies, and optimizing the performance of the state’s power grid.
“MI Power Grid’s remaining focus areas will include financial incentives and disincentives for utility performance, distribution system data access, updating the Michigan Integrated Resource Planning Parameters and IRP filing requirements, time-based pricing, and voluntary green pricing,” the MPSC said.
Michigan Energy News
- The city of Ann Arbor’s feasibility study concludes that the city could create a public energy utility that would supplement electricity from DTE with electricity sourced from renewable sources.
- A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists and Soulardarity examines how community solar and energy efficiency can provide 100% clean energy to Highland Park, a low-income and marginalized city within the city of Detroit.
- Enrollees in a Consumers Energy program for affordable rates report “drastic” increases in their bills.
- A new grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) will allow Michigan EIBC member the Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University to build a map of the renewable energy industry in Michigan, a project in which Michigan EIBC, member 5 Lakes Energy, state partner organization the Michigan Geothermal Energy Association are partners.
- DTE says it will retire the Belle River coal-fired power plant in 2028, two years ahead of schedule.
- “The mobility industry is constantly evolving, and Michigan fully intends to evolve with it to retain its position as a leader in the field,” Michigan Chief Mobility Officer Trevor Pawl said in response to the release of the Council on Future Mobility and Electrification report.
National Energy News
- Commitments by countries to reduce carbon emissions fall 60% short of the goal of net zero emissions by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency.
- Startups are attracting capital to use geothermal energy near the Salton Sea in southern California to extract lithium for use in batteries.
- A rule proposed before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could require transmission grid planners to account for the future growth of renewable energy.
- The U.S. Department of the Interior says it will auction off seven new offshore wind leases by 2025.
- The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy reports that Texas could avoid $8 billion in new natural gas-fired generation by aggressively deploying demand response and energy efficiency.
- Energy storage capacity will triple in size globally in 2021, according to Wood Mackenzie.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include in the email a specific end date for the job posting.
“As a senior retro-commissioning engineer with Energy Sciences, you will join our team of degreed and licensed engineers, scientists, and energy efficiency professionals to meet the energy use challenges of commercial and industrial facilities. We’re looking for experienced and talented technical team members to assist our clients, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, in making their building systems work, identifying energy-savings opportunities, reducing waste, and saving operating cost. You will play a key role in a growing company that is dedicated to driving our vision of a sustainable and socially responsible energy future, working in an exciting, collaborative environment.”
Inovateus Solar is hiring for several positions in South Bend. Check out the company’s LinkedIn page for more information.
The director of clean energy financing will support the Michigan Saves program, a clean energy financing nonprofit staffed by Public Sector Consultants. Michigan Saves addresses financing gaps to ensure that everyone — no exceptions — has access to the benefits of clean energy. Applications are due Oct. 17.
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
The Distributed Wind Energy Association’s DIstributed Wind 2021 Conference and Lobby Day in Arlington, Va., has been postponed to Nov. 15-18. Tickets can be purchased for in-person attendance or virtual attendance.
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. Register using this link and use code “MIEIBC2021” for a 5% discount on nonmember passes.
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.
The Lansing Board of Water and Light has put out a Request for Information for Energy Storage. Responses are due Nov. 30. More information here.
Michigan EIBC member Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University is now accepting applications for its C3 Accelerator. Apply here by Jan. 10, 2022. C3 is a growth stage Accelerator with up to $1.6M in funding in the form of grants, investments, and services to support the product development and scaling of Cleantech, Climatech, and Circular Economy technologies.
The Community Collaboration on Climate Change (C4) is seeking a full-time contract position to provide coordination of C4 leadership, organizational representatives, Grand Rapids residents, and the program deliverables.
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
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.