Statewide Energy Assessment Recognizes Advanced Energy, 9th EV Convening 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:


Final Statewide Energy Assessment Recognizes Role of Distributed Energy

The Michigan Public Service Commission’s final Statewide Energy Assessment, released late last week, confirms the major role that advanced energy must play in ongoing efforts to increase grid reliability and resiliency.

Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman praised the initial SER when it was released in July. The final version of the report goes into much more detail about the importance of distributed energy resources for resiliency. The report included a detailed list of all the various value streams provided by distributed energy resources. One of the chief recommendations in the conclusion of the report is that utility integrated resource plans (IRPs) should have better modeling that takes into account forecasts of distributed energy growth.

The final SER also gives additional information about the advantages of non-wires alternatives. New technological solutions to relieve grid congestion hold great promise, as we discussed in a blog post about grid modernization. “Advanced controls, communication, and automation technologies on the distribution grid also pave the way for the full potential of DER and Non-Wires Alternatives (NWA) to be utilized,” the final SER said. Among the recommendations is the development of a framework to evaluate NWAs like targeted energy waste reductions and demand response in IRPs and distribution plans.

The report was requested by Governor Whitmer after a fire at Consumers Energy’s Ray Compressor Station disrupted the availability and deliverability of natural gas during the polar vortex last winter. 

Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on Nov 14 Will Recognize Advanced Energy Business Leaders

The 7th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on Thursday, Nov 14, at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing, featuring Governor Gretchen Whitmer as the keynote speaker, will celebrate individuals and businesses who have worked to grow Michigan’s advanced energy sector in 2019. That includes recognizing winners in the categories of:

Business of the Year

Last year’s winner was Michigan EIBC member Harvest Energy Solutions. Previous winners include Michigan EIBC members McNaughton-McKay Electric Co. and Ventower Industries.

Emerging Business of the Year

The 2018 winner was Michigan EIBC member POWERHOME Solar & Roofing.

Project of the Year

At the 2018 gala, the Project of the Year went to Michigan EIBC member Hemlock Semiconductor for its peak power load management program with Consumers Energy.

Public Official of the Year

Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers was Public Official of the Year at the 2018 gala.

Advanced energy business leaders, legislators, Michigan Public Service Commission staff, state government officials, and other key decision-makers will be in attendance, and 90 minutes has been set aside for networking before the program begins. RSVP early, as this event will sell out!

Sponsorship opportunities are available for the event and can be found on the Michigan EIBC website


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9th EV Convening Explores Ideas for Speeding Up Private Sector EV Deployment

Michigan EIBC’s 9th EV Convening on Sept. 17 in Lansing took on the challenges for the deployment of EVs across the private sector. Discussions focused on potential solutions to make the transition to electrification as smooth as possible.
Co-hosted by Clean Fuels Michigan and sponsored by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) – Office of Climate and Energy, the event, like past convenings, brought together an array of EV stakeholders from industry, government and the non-profit sector.

Michigan is in a good position to overcome hurdles facing EVs because of investments the private and public sectors have already made, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) Director of Strategy and Policy John Groen explained in his remarks. Those accomplishments include a strong presence in the lithium-ion battery supply chain with Ford and GM pursuing their battery development in Michigan and the establishment of major battery manufacturing facilities for companies like LG Chem, Brookfield Business Partners and Xalt. In addition, this year MEDC secured the largest private investment deal in its history with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles building new Jeep facilities in Detroit and Warren that will produce plug-in hybrid models, with the possibility of producing all-electric models in the future.

Getting the public to go from hybrids to full EVs will require more charging infrastructure, and Consumers Energy EV Grid Benefits Lead Bethany Tabor spoke at the convening about the status of Consumers Energy’s PowerMIDrive rebate program for charging locations. The utility is offering 24 rebates for site hosts for DC fast-charging stations and has about half of the candidates already. Finding site hosts in the northern part of the state is an ongoing priority, she said.

Other speakers included Kevin Miller, Director of Public Policy at Michigan EIBC member ChargePoint, EGLE Program Analyst Deb Swartz who discussed the recent rollout of electric buses, CALSTART Project Manager Erin Shew, GM Urban Mobility/Maven Smart Cities Chief Alex Keros and Plug In America Program Director Eric Cahill.  

DTE Energy To Issue RFP for New Wind and Solar Projects

DTE Energy has announced it will issue a request for proposals (RFP) for solar projects from 25 MW to 200 MW in size and wind projects from 100 MW to 200 MW.

The utility is asking for projects that can begin commercial operations between 2021 and 2023. The new resources will be part of 775 MW of renewable capacity that DTE has proposed and will help the utility comply with Michigan’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.

In order to bid, register company information on the PowerAdvocate website and enter Event #96722 to view the solar RFP and Event #96689 for the wind RFP.

New Member

Uplight is the leading provider of end-to-end customer-centric technology solutions dedicated solely to serving the energy ecosystem. More than 80 utilities around the globe use Uplight solutions to power their customer energy experience. Uplight was established in 2019 by combining the acquisitions of EEme, EnergySavvy, FirstFuel, and Ecotagious with Tendril’s data analytics platform and Simple Energy’s consumer engagement marketplace. Uplight creates a more sustainable future by empowering customers in a way that the sum is greater than the parts—bringing together all of the pieces of customer energy action management, residential and commercial.

Renewing Members

ecojiva, LLC
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.

Varnum LLP
Varnum’s long-standing energy practice encompasses significant experience in conventional, alternative and renewable energy sources. It has been involved in energy legal issues for more than 35 years. Varnum helped organize the Energy Michigan trade association and are a founding member of the Michigan Renewable Energy Consortium. Varnum’s energy clients include: – Municipally-owned electric utilities – Co-generators and independent power producers – Biomass facilities, including waste-to-energy and wood-fired plants – Alternative energy projects, including wind farms, biomass, waste-to-energy, landfill gas, hydroelectric, and biodigesters – Oil & gas producers and transporters – Nuclear power plants – Trade associations – Investors and lenders – Customers and end-users – Manufacturers of energy-producing parts and equipment Varnum’s project work includes utility scale cogeneration and exempt wholesale generators in excess of 1000 MW; alternative energy projects from 0.5 MW to 65 MW; and natural gas pipelines, production and utility scale storage facilities. Varnum has both the 40,000 foot perspective and the detailed knowledge of this highly-regulated industry to help you meet its clients energy goals in the new energy marketplace.  


Michigan Energy News

  • Amazon purchases 100,000 EV delivery vans from Plymouth, Mich.-based Rivian.
  • The recent settlement regarding Consumers Energy and PURPA projects could nearly quadruple solar capacity in Michigan.
  • Employment in energy efficiency industries in Michigan have hit a new high, and the state now ranks eighth-highest in the nation in energy efficiency jobs, according to a report from Environmental Entrepreneurs.
  • Michigan’s energy supply and delivery systems are adequate, but the recommendations from the final State Energy Assessment will improve resiliency and reliability, writes MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg.
  • GM plans to invest in an all-electric pickup truck and an advanced battery system as part of commitments coming out of negotiations with the United Auto Workers.
  • The Holland Board of Public Works’ on-bill financing program could be a model for the state.
  • The city of Grand Rapids is studying the potential for solar projects at several city-owned sites.
  • DTE has installed the first fast charging stations for EVs in Detroit.

National Energy News

  • There has been a recent trend of state regulators rejecting utility integrated resource plans.
  • Some politicians in Washington DC are calling for a federal tax or fee on electric vehicles.
  • Some U.S. senators are warning that the U.S. is falling behind on production of minerals used for lithium-ion batteries.
  • report from Navigant Research says that changing rate structures, EV charging integration, solar PV integration, resiliency/backup power and business model innovation are the main drivers of growth in energy storage.
  • The California Public Utilities Commission plans to procure 2,500 MW of “all-source” resources between 2021 and 2023, with renewable energy and battery storage expected to play a big role.
  • Duke Energy announces a plan to hit net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
  • San Jose, Calif., becomes the largest city yet to ban natural gas in new residential buildings.
  • New Jersey regulators sign off on a plan to interconnect the state’s first offshore wind farm at transmission infrastructure that formerly served the now-closed Oyster Creek nuclear plant.

Michigan Energy Events

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.

Michigan EIBC invites you to our Properly Valuing Solar Through Rate Design networking meeting in Ann Arbor on Oct. 7, featuring Tom Stanton, Principal Researcher, Energy and Environment, at the National Regulatory Research Institute. Tickets available here.

Michigan EIBC member Lean & Green Michigan is holding the first West Michigan PACE Summit in Grand Rapids on Oct. 10. Learn more here.

Learn more about carbon capture technology from University of Michigan Global CO2 Initiative Director Volker Sick in an event in Grand Rapids on Oct. 17Register here.

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.

Infocast’s Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit is in San Diego from Feb. 4 to Feb. 6, 2020.    

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 Nov. 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 United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service is seeking applications for its Rural Energy for America Program, which makes loan guarantees and grants available for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency, energy audits and more. The deadlines to apply for renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grants are Oct. 31, 2019, and March 31, 2020, while applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round. Find out more here.

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.