- Newsletter (385)
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:
Power Lines And Distributed Energy: Complementary, Not Conflicting
Michigan EIBC members represent all the facets of the advanced energy industry: from installers of distributed generation on small homes and businesses to developers of wind and solar projects that can power thousands of homes to energy efficiency and to companies in software, energy efficiency, storage, biomass, mobility and more.
That is why for us it is confusing when different approaches to clean energy are pitted against each other as if only one can prevail. A widely-read New York Times article this week seemed to do just that as it built a false dichotomy between “on one side… thousands of miles of power lines to move electricity created by distant wind turbines and solar farms to cities and suburbs” and on the other, “greater investment in rooftop solar panels, batteries and local wind turbines,” as the article stated.
The article went on to say: “the divide between those who want more power lines and those calling for a more decentralized energy system has split the renewable energy industry and the environmental movement.”
That split would be news if it was happening, but we do not see it. We can have more transmission lines and more distributed energy at the same time. In fact, they work together and help each other.
Yes, building transmission infrastructure directly impacts utility-scale renewable projects by allowing them to connect to the grid and ultimately customers. But as the world has seen over the past decade or so, strong growth of renewable capacity, be it utility-scale or distributed, has driven down the costs of renewable energy technologies like solar panels through learning effects and economies of scale. So to the extent that, for example, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator could reform its transmission planning processes so more utility-scale wind and solar projects have a path forward, there will be downstream benefits for renewable energy as a whole. Those effects could include cheaper prices for storage as the new projects build demand for more batteries to store their power, to name one example.
Different types of advanced energy have common interests, and Michigan EIBC believes in working together to advance those interests.
Michigan EIBC Proposes Changes to Building Codes
Today Michigan EIBC proposed amendments to Michigan’s residential and commercial building energy conservation codes to ensure that new building stock will be open and accessible to solar, EV, storage and efficiency innovations for decades to come.
They were submitted to the Bureau of Construction Codes of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). The amendments are part of LARA’s effort to update Michigan’s building codes for the first time in six years.
Specifically, Michigan EIBC asks that LARA adopt several provisions around solar, EV and storage “readiness” for residential and commercial buildings, on top of expressing support for LARA starting the process with the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code. If codes do not require new buildings to be ready, then it can be a headache and expensive to go back and retrofit them later.
EV and storage retrofits pose the same problem. The proposed amendments include provisions that buildings offer EV-capable spaces with the right voltage for charging and dedicated spaces for future energy storage systems along with electric infrastructure.
The Need for More Rooftop Solar Is Not Going Away
We got a great response from members from President Laura Sherman’s op-ed last week in the Lansing State Journal about rooftop solar and how utilities cannot claim to be pro-renewable energy while also supporting the cap on distributed generation. Though the legislation to eliminate the cap has not yet been voted on, Michigan EIBC and its members are keeping the issue in the spotlight.
Other voices are also speaking out in favor of legislation to eliminate the cap. Also in the Lansing State Journal, Amy Bandyk, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board of Michigan, the state’s nonprofit ratepayer advocate and watchdog, wrote in an op-ed about the misconception that rooftop solar costs ratepayers.
Join Us In-Person for the 9th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on Sept. 14
We’re excited to network in-person and celebrate individuals and businesses who have worked to grow Michigan’s advanced energy sector in 2021. Advanced energy business leaders & experts, legislators, regulators, state government officials, and other key decision-makers will be in attendance. Join the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council as we celebrate on September 14th, 2021 at The Eastern, Detroit, Mich.
Tickets for Michigan EIBC members only are available here. Tickets for non-members will go on sale on Monday, July 19. Details about the keynote speaker and more to come in the following weeks.
We also invite you to become a sponsor of this premier annual event. Sponsors will benefit from networking with a broad range of industry leaders from renewable energy, energy efficiency, transportation, and the utility sector. Sponsorship opportunities and benefits can be found here.
Please contact Brianna Gerard, Director of Membership & Events, to reserve your sponsorship spot: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Watt Level
Since 2007, Foresight has existed to champion energy management, accelerate sustainability and increase profitability for our clients. We serve commercial, industrial and institutional organizations across North America and the globe. Our interdisciplinary team of energy engineers, sustainability experts, data analysts, software engineers, procurement professionals and project managers work together to provide holistic, proactive and strategic solutions for our growing client base. Service areas include but are not limited to; utility bill collection, reporting and optimization, energy procurement consulting, facility energy audits, renewable energy feasibility studies, carbon emission calculations and reporting, energy modeling, commissioning and retro-commissioning.
Michigan Energy News
- Michigan EIBC member SkySpecs is profiled by MiBiz about how its work has grown from designing drones for wind turbine inspection to providing complex renewable energy asset management through drones and rovers that collect numerous data points.
- Michigan EIBC member NOVI Energy joins with Osaka Gas USA Corp. to form Apricus Energy, a joint venture focused on solar and storage and developing 1 GW of renewable energy throughout the U.S.
- General Motors announces the Ultium Charge 360 fleet charging service, meant to be a “comprehensive solution” that “will help new and existing fleet customers identify providers, tools and solutions required to plan, finance, deploy and operate charging infrastructure in fleet yards and depots,” according to the company.
- GM also is doing testing to prepare for the launch of Factory Zero at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center.
- In another expansion of the EV supply chain in Michigan, a unit of South Korean silicon carbide wafer manufacturer SK Siltron will more than double its workforce in Michigan over the next three years and add a new site in Bay City.
- The city of Cadillac and Consumers Energy will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new solar gardens project at the site of a blighted property.
National Energy News
- Michigan EIBC member Apex Clean Energy strikes a 345-MW wind power purchase agreement with hydrogen producer Plug Power.
- Senate Democrats’ $3.5 trillion framework includes a clean energy standard, support for weatherization and electrification of buildings and EV tax incentives.
- U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) is proposing a Green New Deal for Public Schools which would include green retrofitting of schools around the country.
- The Senate is debating whether to give FERC expanded authority over transmission line siting.
- Rather than being the “Holy Grail” back-up source for wind and solar energy, energy storage is just one solution among many needed as the U.S. electricity sector decarbonizes, experts say.
- Electric heat pumps often contain chemical refrigerants that are potent greenhouse gases, but lower-emissions alternatives exist.
Michigan and National Energy Events
The 65th Annual Michigan Energy Providers Conference 2021 at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island from July 29-30 will provide a unique perspective of the future of energy and related policy needs in Michigan, and offer an opportunity to build relationships with others in the industry. CDC guidelines will be followed and all proper protocols will be taken to ensure a safe event. The conference is sold out but has a waiting list in case of cancellations.
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.
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.