- 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:
Storage Roadmap Gets Preview at Hearing and Will Be Revealed at Convening in March
The Institute for Energy Innovation, Michigan EIBC member 5 Lakes Energy and Michigan State University are nearing completion of the Energy Storage Roadmap for the state of Michigan. The roadmap will be presented at a virtual public energy storage convening on March 14, for which registration recently opened.
The Michigan House Energy Committee received a preview of some initial conclusions of the roadmap when representatives of Michigan EIBC member companies Invenergy, Key Capture Energy and Form Energy and Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman testified at a hearing on Feb. 16. As Dr. Sherman testified, the roadmap team developed a model that found that Michigan needs 2,500 additional MW of storage by 2030 to optimally operate the grid, and 4,000 MW by 2040. “Michigan needs to plan ahead now to ensure we have enough storage on the grid when we really need it in 10 to 15 years,” Sherman said at the hearing.
She was joined by Mike Alpogianis, manager of the storage engineering team at Invenergy, Julian Boggs, manager of policy and regulatory affairs at Key Capture Energy, and Nina Peluso, policy advisor at Form Energy. They talked about how the unique properties of storage can be perfect for Michigan’s energy needs, provided the right policies are in place.
“Batteries instantaneously absorb and inject energy generated by wind and solar to deflect large peaks and drops in production within a fraction of the ramp-up time that can be seen in more traditional power sources,” Alpogianis said. “The widespread and ongoing retirements of fossil fuel-burning power plants means Michigan needs storage,” Boggs said, and Key Capture Energy has several battery storage projects in Michigan in the planning phase for the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). But the regulatory playing field must be even for storage to grow in MISO and Michigan. “The capacity we offer, if it is the same service, should get the same payment,” Boggs added.
In addition to the conventional lithium-ion battery projects, other types of energy storage are in the works, such as Form Energy’s iron-air battery that, Peluso said, will be able to continuously discharge electricity for 100 hours at costs competitive with fossil fuel plants.
“Think of a football field filled with batteries that is capable of filling the role of a coal or gas plant as they currently operate,” Peluso said in her testimony. Form Energy plans to have over 100 megawatt-scale projects operational by 2026. “We believe that our battery can be a tremendous tool for Michigan. We encourage the committee and the legislature broadly to incorporate energy storage and new long-duration energy storage technologies into their thinking,” Peluso said.
DTE and Consumers Energy to Procure Large Amounts of Renewables: How We Got Here
If you have checked the Opportunities section of this newsletter, you may have noticed two requests for proposals (RFPs) for renewable energy projects are currently pending. DTE and Consumers Energy have both announced RFPs that would greatly expand the amount of renewable power capacity in their portfolios and generate electricity to be used by customers in the utilities’ growing voluntary green purchasing programs.
It is important to put these announcements in the context of how we got here. These RFPs are not just utility initiatives but are also the product of years of stakeholder input, including Michigan EIBC’s advocacy for voluntary green purchasing programs that offer better pricing and a wider selection of projects as a result of a more open and competitive framework for developers to bid into these RFPs.
Consumers Energy’s initial offerings for customers to buy renewable energy “had limited, static options that did not accommodate individual customer needs,” as Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman wrote in a piece for Energy News Network in 2020. DTE’s initial programs had similar problems. Michigan EIBC filed testimony about these issues to convince the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to require changes, resulting in decisions that put in place new requirements for competitive bidding and other changes. For example, a settlement last year between DTE and Michigan EIBC, Advanced Energy Economy and other groups expanded DTE’s MIGreenPower program to include projects like Michigan EIBC member Ranger Power’s White Tail Solar project in Washtenaw County and Michigan EIBC member Invenergy’s Calhoun County Solar project and a more fair and transparent competitive procurement process.
DTE’s new RFP is for 500 MW from wind and solar projects, with and without energy storage, to be commercially operational by 2023. Bids are due April 29. Consumers Energy, meanwhile plans to add 1,000 MW over the next three years, and its RFP for the first 250-MW tranche has a deadline for final proposals of May 31.
Legislators Introduce Third C-PACE Bill, Completing Package
A third bill aimed at expanding the role of Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing (C-PACE) was introduced to the Michigan House this Wednesday by a bipartisan group of lawmakers.
HB 5761, sponsored by Reps. Mark Tisdel (R-Rochester Hills), Gregory Markkanen (R-Hancock), Joe Bellino (R-Monroe), David Martin (R-Davison), John Roth (R-Traverse City), Pat Outman (R-Six Lakes), Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield) and Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor), has been referred to the House Energy Committee. The bill would modify how local governments can issue bonds to finance C-PACE projects and is tied to the passage of two other C-PACE bills, HB 5011 and HB 5012, which were passed by the committee last year.
These bills would expand the types of projects that can use C-PACE financing so a wider variety of developments can receive efficiency upgrades.
Michigan Energy News
- Gov. Whitmer tours the facilities of Michigan EIBC member Hemlock Semiconductor and praises the company for underscoring “our global manufacturing and automotive R&D leadership in helping to address the universal industry demand for semiconductors while creating good jobs for Michigan workers.”
- The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announces it will be able to offer more free home weatherization that can reduce a household’s energy costs by an average of $283 a year.
- A report from the MPSC lays out the challenges for developing microgrid projects in Michigan.
- The MPSC extends its Energy Affordability and Accessibility Collaborative by two years to give it more time to develop recommendations for energy assistance.
- A report from a Canadian environmental group finds that Line 5 can be shut down without leading to painful spikes in energy prices if modest steps are taken to improve fuel transport capacity elsewhere.
- DTE says that there is enough support from government and nonprofit programs to ensure that no Michigan resident loses access to electricity or gas this winter.
National Energy News
- A Wall Street Journal investigation finds that large, sustained power outages have been on the rise in the U.S. over the last two decades.
- Lessons learned from the Texas electricity crisis last year place the spotlight on the benefits of solar plus storage.
- The U.S. Department of Energy is working to quantify the amount of lithium resources in California’s Salton Sea.
- Canary Media talks to American contractors and other experts to determine the biggest barriers to home electrification today.
- The Biden administration releases a beta version of the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool that identifies “communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.”
- DeLorean is resurrecting itself as an EV brand.
Attention Michigan EIBC members: 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.
“We are looking for an experienced and talented Outreach Professional to lead the technical sales outreach effort to promote and increase participation in our energy efficiency utilities programs midstream (instant discount) and downstream residential and commercial. As an outreach professional for energy efficiency programs with Energy Sciences, you will join our team of degreed energy efficiency professionals helping utility customers take advantage of incentives to reduce energy use in residential and commercial buildings and industrial processes and plants.”
Lean & Green Michigan
Lean & Green Michigan is seeking a motivated and self-directed individual to join the team, communicating through a variety of media about all aspects of the Lean & Green Michigan PACE program. The successful candidate should have excellent writing and communication skills, experience with social media, enthusiasm for working in the business community, environmental policy, renewable energy and energy efficiency, attention to detail, and strong desire to deploy energy and water efficiency and renewable energy in Michigan.
Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association
The Membership Director will strengthen MEECA’s capacity by supporting the organization’s membership base. The Membership Director will develop and manage a program to regularly engage with member companies to serve their needs. This person will also streamline the annual renewal process, contribute to MEECA’s website and social media presence, and perform other duties assigned by the Executive Director. This is a part-time, remote position for a Michigan resident.
“Support NextEnergy’s Mobility practice through the execution of programs designed to accelerate smart, clean, accessible solutions for communities and cities under the leadership of the Director, Technology Development. You’ll work with technology companies, business stakeholders, public agencies, and NextEnergy partners to launch and manage demonstrations of technologies that help demonstrate and commercialize next-generation mobility technologies and business models.”
Ranger Power is seeking an Assistant Development Manager to join its development team in its Chicago office. As part of a small and dynamic development team, assistant development managers are expected to manage varying responsibilities as projects progress through the development process. As a developer at Ranger Power, you will drive all aspects of project development and strategy, including site prospecting and land acquisition, site analysis, landowner relations, permitting, interconnection, business development, and community engagement and outreach.
SunPower is seeking a Senior Associate, Market Development and Policy, to advocate on SunPower’s behalf on state policy with various public service commissions, state legislatures, and state agencies to drive residential, commercial and community solar and energy storage adoption in the Midwest U.S., particularly in Illinois and Michigan. The successful candidate must be a self-starter, comfortable working remotely, and have experience navigating various regulatory dockets, reviewing public comments, and summarizing state legislation. Frequent travel within the Midwest region may be required at times. Location is flexible, although presence in Illinois is preferred.
Michigan and National Energy Events
Join us on March 14 for a virtual public energy storage convening. The team from the Institute for Energy Innovation, 5 Lakes Energy, and Michigan State University will present an Energy Storage Roadmap for Michigan and an industry panel will discuss next steps to support energy storage deployment in Michigan. Register here.
The 10th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators will be held April 26 at the Kellogg Conference Center at MSU in East Lansing. Information on speakers and registration will be announced soon.
To meet customer demand for the voluntary green pricing program (MIGreenPower), DTE is issuing an RFP for new wind and solar projects, both with and without energy storage. The projects must be ready to achieve commercial operation in 2023, be located in Michigan, and be interconnected to MISO or distribution level transmission. Anyone who is interested should register their company information on the Power Advocate website at this link for solar projects and/or this link for wind projects.EGLE Energy Services is offering $250,000 in grants to small manufacturers in Michigan to implement energy efficiency activities that can be completed by Aug. 31, 2022, with a maximum grant for $25,000 per manufacturer. Application deadline is April 30.
American Electric Power (AEP) is issuing an RFP that “seeks up to 800 MW of Wind resources, 500 MW of Solar resources, and other qualified capacity resources from thermal, standalone storage, emerging technologies, and other capacity resources.” AEP subsidiary Indiana Michigan Power identified the need for supply-side generation in its RFP.
Consumers Energy has released draft materials for its RFP to be issued in February that will solicit solar and wind generation projects in accordance with the company’s expansion of its Voluntary Green Pricing Program. This RFP will be administered by Enel X, affiliated with Michigan EIBC member Enel Green Power. According to the RFP administrator, “questions pertaining to this RFP or the proposal submittal process can be sent via email to Enel X by way of VGPRFP@enel.com. In the event others within your organization did not receive this notice and are interested in being added to the RFP listserv, please send a request via email to VGPRFP@enel.com with contact details for those to be added.” 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.