This Week’s Advanced Energy News: Talking EVs, U of M Carbon Neutrality Plans

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:

Cory Connolly Talks EVs at Council of Future Mobility and Electrification Event

 The Michigan Council on Future Mobility and Electrification held its first livestream on LinkedIn and Facebook on March 18. The event featured Michigan EIBC VP of Policy Cory Connolly and Emily Frascaroli, managing counsel of the Product Litigation Group at Ford Motor Co., speaking with host Trevor Pawl, Michigan’s chief mobility officer in the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, about a range of mobility topics and taking questions from the livestream audience.

Cory talked about the coming “inflection point” as EVs become the most common vehicles on roads, and why Michigan’s workforce and policies need to change to prepare for that transition. “You have to be very intentional and get out ahead of change in the industry to make sure we capture the jobs and investment that will go into that space,” he said. For example, EVs overlap with energy storage in that EVs can be “mobile battery solutions,” as Cory put it. The “overlapping supply chains between energy storage and EVs” represent “a new segment that hopefully Michigan can position itself to take advantage of,” he said.

Frascaroli talked about the public-private partnerships that “are going to define Michigan’s role in the future,” such as the 40-plus mile autonomous vehicle corridor between Detroit and Ann Arbor that has been proposed.

View a recording of the livestream on Youtube, and find out about similar upcoming events at the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification.  

SourceCreative Commons License.

U of M Commission Unveils Carbon Neutrality Recommendations

The President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality has released its final report and recommendations on a goal, timeline and approaches for the University of Michigan to achieve carbon neutrality.

The recommendations include:

  • Commit to carbon neutrality (inclusive of offsets) for Scope 1 emissions across all three campuses (Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint) by 2025.
  • Prioritize direct emissions reductions for Scope 1 by setting a goal of eliminating them across all three campuses by 2040, and exceeding global science-based targets via direct emissions reductions (i.e., without offsets) along the way.
  • Convert the university’s heating and cooling infrastructure to be fossil fuel-free, beginning with electrified systems centered on geo-exchange with heat recovery chiller technology.
  • Issue an RFP to procure all electricity for the three campuses from renewable sources.
  • Establish a carbon pricing system where revenue flows to new revolving energy funds at each campus for new energy conservation measures.

As next steps, University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel and the Regents of the university will review the report and determine which recommendations should be implemented. 

The U.S. Energy Storage Association Annual Conference & Expo (#ESACon21) will convene stakeholders throughout the energy storage ecosystem for a two-part event in 2021. On April 21-22, attendees will learn from industry insights, opportunities, and successes at Virtual #ESACon21 – free for all attendees. #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 Virtual #ESACon21 is a must attend for anyone looking to expand their business, invest in, or develop partnerships in the energy storage industry. Register for free today!

Invenergy’s Erin Kricher Reappointed to Rural Development Fund Board

On March 25 Gov. Whitmer announced that she is reappointing Erin Kricher, director of renewable development at Michigan EIBC member Invenergy, to the Rural Development Fund Board.

Erin will serve a term beginning March 25 and expiring at the end of 2024. The board, housed within the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, oversees the Rural Development Fund and advises the department on how to distribute tax revenue collected from mines.

The appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the Michigan Senate.  

Less Than Two Weeks Away from the
9th Annual Energy Innovators Conference

 Michigan EIBC invites you to join us on Wednesday, April 7 from 9:10 am to 12:30 pm EST for the 9th Annual Energy Innovators Conference. This virtual conference will take place via Zoom.

The content of the half-day conference features prominent speakers and panelists listed below who will discuss the latest energy-related topics and innovations. There will also be a 45 minute mid-conference networking session with a variety of self-selected breakout rooms and the opportunity to speak with other participants of your choosing.

Building Electrification, Green Infrastructure Finance,
and Climate Justice:  

How to Make Buildings Greener, Healthier and Smarter While Increasing Wealth in Historically Disenfranchised Communities

Donnel Baird is the founder of BlocPower, a clean tech startup based in New York City. BlocPower develops portfolios of clean energy retrofit opportunities in underserved communities, and connects those opportunities to investors seeking social, environmental, and financial returns. BlocPower creates jobs for qualified local low- income workers, energy savings for community institutions, reduces carbon emissions, and provides returns to investors. BlocPower is backed by Kapor Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Eric and Wendy Schmidt, the American Family Institute for social and environmental impact, and Salesforce. Baird is a graduate of Duke University and Columbia Business School, where he was a recipient of the Board of Overseers Fellowship and a recipient of investment from the Lang Fund for Entrepreneurial Initiatives. He spent four years as a political and community organizer, and more than two years managing a national initiative to leverage American Reinvestment and Recovery Act energy efficiency investments in underserved communities. Baird lives in his native borough of Brooklyn with his wife and son.

The conference also features these speakers:
What Happened in the First 100 Days and What’s Next?Moderated by JR Tolbert

Fireside Chat with Michigan Public Service Chairman Dan Scripps
and FERC Commissioner Allison Clements

The keynote speaker for the conference is Pete Kadens, serial entrepreneur and dedicated philanthropist who currently serves as the chairman of The Kadens Family Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to closing the pervasive wealth and education gaps in the US.
 Keynote AddressInvesting in Our Communities: Dream Big, Act Small

RSVP today! Tickets start at $25.

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

Event Sponsors

Terawatt Level

Gigawatt Level

Megawatt Level

Kilowatt Level

Renewing Members 

Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. Advanced energy encompasses a broad range of products and services that constitute the best available technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow. These include energy efficiency, demand response, energy storage, solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, electric vehicles, biofuels and smart grid. AEE represents more than 100 companies in the $238 billion U.S. advanced energy industry, which employs 3.6 million U.S. workers.

Plug Smart
Plug Smart’s skilled team of engineers, project managers and field technicians are able to deliver true full-service energy projects like no one else. Starting with the industry’s most comprehensive energy and equipment audit, Plug Smart will bring unprecedented visibility into your facilities’ energy consumption that will lead to a number of unique savings opportunities. Our financial analysis will help you determine the right funding strategy to minimize capital outlay and ensure that budget constraints are maintained. Most often, we can design a program that eliminates any initial investment, with payments that are met exclusively through project savings. Plug Smart’s customer-focused approach is also vendor-neutral, allowing you to select trusted contractors to work on the project. Our pricing method builds trust by offering complete transparency before, during and after the project. Additionally, Plug Smart boasts an impeccable record of on-time, on-budget performance, having never defaulted on a savings guarantee.

Michigan Energy News

  • The cap on distributed generation is “an economic embargo to small-scale solar businesses and to Michiganders who want clean and reliable solar energy,” writes Sunrise Movement co-founder Michael Dorsey in a call to lift the cap.
  • Residential electric bills during the pandemic have spurred discussion of the equity of utility electric rates among customer classes.
  • General Motors is upping its lobbying presence in Washington in anticipation of major legislation related to EVs.
  • Jim MacInnes, CEO of Crystal Mountain Resort says that Michigan needs a major build-out of EV charging infrastructure.
  • With the May deadline for the shutdown of the Line 5 pipeline looming, state lawmakers are debating the effect on the propane heating market.
  • Hemlock Semiconductor’s work represents Michigan’s “little own Silicon Valley,” as a new profile of the Michigan EIBC member by mLive puts it.

National Energy News

  • Reforming wholesale electricity markets and planning can allow 90% of the U.S. power system to be decarbonized using today’s technologies, according to a new report from the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance Institute and Grid Strategies that sets out a road map for a 21st century electricity system.
  • NextEra Energy announces plans for a $700 million, 690-MW solar energy project at the site of the decommissioned Duane Arnold nuclear plant in Iowa.
  • FERC Commissioner Allison Clements (who is speaking at the 9th Annual Energy Innovators Conference on April 7) talks transmission reform, the Texas situation and more in an interview.
  • Greentech Media bids farewell after a 14-year run covering energy news.
  • Congress is investigating if a federal government-subsidized clean coal program actually led to more pollution.
  • The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) issues its road map for a better transmission system.

Michigan and National Energy Events

The 9th Annual Energy Innovators Conference will take place virtually on April 7RSVP here.
 The U.S. Energy Storage Association Annual Conference & Expo (#ESACon21) will convene December 1-3, in Phoenix. Register for free today!

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.

Michigan State University’s Institute of Public Utilities’ Power Grid School is in session. Its second course, from April 6-8, is on Integrated Planning, Energy Transformation and Climate Action. Learn more about the program and sign up. Michigan EIBC members receive a 5% discount—contact us to find out more!

The Upper Peninsula Clean Energy Virtual Conference Series continues with “Task Force Report & Legislative Policy Update” on April 16.

The National Regulatory Research Institute has a three-part webinar series on “The Impact of COVID-19 on Utility Rate Making.”

Due to COVID-19, PlugVolt is offering complimentary access to a webinar series that provides a guide to how to select primary and secondary cells for battery products.

Norton Rose Fulbright regularly organizes webinars featuring experts and executives of major companies, such as this one on the challenges that COVID-19 and low commodity prices pose to the energy industry.

The Clean Energy Group has a huge archive of webinars and presentations related to net metering, energy efficiency, EVs, energy storage and much more.

The Energy Storage Association has a number of upcoming and recorded webinars covering many different facets of energy storage.     


Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) is seeking applicants for the 1 Hotels Fellowship, due by May 15. E2 says: “the 1 Hotels Fellowship at E2 is designed to support early to mid-career businesspeople who seek to tackle pressing environmental issues through projects that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Six selected fellows will receive $20,000 each and work with E2 staff to implement their projects for the 2021-2022 program cycle.” Learn more here.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for the 9th Annual Energy Innovators Conference on April 7.
 Centrepolis is launching its new C3 Accelerator, funded in part by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, New Economy Initiative and the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator.  The accelerator will offer a total pool of $275,000 in funding including grants, equity-free interest-free investments, and services to support product development and scaling of cleantech, climatech, and circular economy technologies. A portion of these investments will be dedicated to support ventures led by women, people of color, veterans and other underrepresented entrepreneurs. Applications are due May 31, and can be submitted through this link.  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 to find out more information including how a building can apply.