- Newsletter (385)
Utilities are Choosing Solar as Cheapest Option, Study Finds
Utility-scale solar is becoming a favorite of utility companies all over the country regardless of state policy incentives. The Utility Solar Market Snapshot from the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) indicates that utilities are taking notice of record-low prices for solar, while Bloomberg New Energy Finance is predicting a transformation of the utility industry over the coming decades as solar and wind become the dominant forms of power generation.
While solar has not historically been utilized as a large-scale generation source by investor-owned utilities (IOUs), the declining price of solar has flipped this paradigm. In many cases, IOUs are now the driving force for new solar installations.
Moreover, according to the latest Short Term Energy Outlook released by the Energy Information Administration last week, solar is now growing faster than wind and is the second largest source of new power generation, according to the Energy Information Administration, coming in second to wind.
In Michigan, Consumers Energy and DTE Energy are also taking notice of the dropping prices of solar and, in turn, are incorporating solar prominently into the companies’ future generation portfolios. Consumers Energy included plans for 6GW of solar in its recently released Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). To help put that in perspective, 42 GW of utility-scale solar has been deployed nationwide since 2007.
Local Governance Has Implications for Renewables Industry
Specifically, in Isabella County, local voters in five townships rejected the proposed creation of new township-level zoning and planning processes. The proposals, which were advocated for on behalf of anti-wind organizations, would have required townships to establish and pay for their own township boards and planning commissions as well as develop new township ordinances governing zoning in the township. The defeat of the costly proposals means that the townships will retain County-level zoning.
Register for Michigan Energy Innovators Gala
The Gala, which will recognize individuals and businesses who have worked to build Michigan’s advanced energy sector, will be held at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing, Michigan.
Michigan EIBC members and gala sponsors are invited to nominate. Nominations will be accepted until 5:00 pm on Friday, August 31, 2018 and should be emailed to email@example.com. Nominations are now open for the following awards: Business of the Year, Emerging Business of the Year, Employer of the Year, and Public Official of the Year.
Sponsorship opportunities are available and interested sponsors should contact Nicole Forward at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the Gala, please check out the website.
Michigan Energy Stories
- Utilities across the Midwest, including in Michigan, are turning away from coal as a generation source according to Greentech Media.
- The Detroit Lions’ new solar project is helping make the National Football League a leader among sports leagues using solar energy.
- A proposed solar project in Mendon Township in southwestern Michigan would “promote conservation, preserve farmland and provide significant revenue to the local community,” the town’s former mayor says.
- Voters decided on ballot proposals in Isabella County on Tuesday regarding planning commissions and the outcomes have implications for wind and solar development in the region.
- Due to its relatively large coal portfolio, DTE Energy may have a more difficult timeretiring all of its coal generation by 2040 than its Michigan counterpart Consumers Energy.
- Next week, DTE Energy plans to break ground on a $1 billion, 1,150 MW natural gas plant in eastern Michigan.
- Utility Dive provided a breakdown of the combined $20.5 million proposed investment in electric vehicles from Consumers Energy and DTE Energy.
- On August 14, Traverse City Light & Power’s board voted to become the first utility in the state to set a 100 percent renewable energy goal.
- The Northwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees Building and Site Committee voted unanimously to install a geothermal system on campus.
National Energy Stories
- Construction is complete at an IKEA store that has Wisconsin’s largest rooftop solar array.
- Community banks and credit unions are starting to play a more important role in financing solar projects.
- Apple plans to build a 290 MW solar farm in Fredericksburg, Virginia to power operations of several tech companies.
- The mayor of an Illinois town long associated with coal mining hopes solar can help the community deal with high energy costs.
- Solar continues to grow faster than wind power, but the U.S. Energy Information Administration trimmed a short-term forecast.
- Large companies continue to push forward with purchasing solar.
- A 110 MW solar project is planned on Oglala Lakota Nation land in South Dakota.
- The Wisconsin Public Service Commission released updates to its recent strategic energy assessment. The updates included more specific data and transparency for energy price projections, which should strengthen the case for renewable generation.
- Samsung is slated to invest $20 billion in a variety of emerging industries relating to the advanced mobility industry such as AI, 5G, and auto components.
- According to Scientific American, an offshore wind project in Lake Erie could be an important test for whether wind turbines can withstand ice buildup.
- Wind now makes up one-third of Westar Energy’s generation portfolio. Westar Energy is the largest electric utility in Kansas.
- A new study predicts that electric vehicles will account for 20% of global mileage share by 2030, indicating a significant acceleration in EV adoption in the next several years.
- A dramatic drop in solar panel costs has turned solar into a relative bargain for developers.
- Sources say assembly-line problems and other difficulties have delayed production of solar roof tiles at Tesla’s factory in Buffalo, New York.
- MISO offers more details on how energy storage resources may be made available on the wholesale market.
- Electric customers in Appalachia are facing face higher rates as Ohio utility AEP subsidiaries continue to rely on coal.
- Ford CEO Jim Hackett was announced as the keynote speaker for the Midwestern Governors Association summit in September.
Michigan Energy Events
Hosted in Novi, AV18 or AV Autonomous Vehicles Detroit will bring together the leading engineers, innovators, and executives driving the future of autonomy August 20-22.
Hosted in Novi, Michigan September 11-13, The Battery Show North America will bring together more than 8,000 engineers and executives and more than 600 leading suppliers across the advanced battery supply chain. The conference will cover advanced battery technologies, electric and hybrid vehicle technology, and critical power technologies. Learn more and register here.
Ceres is hosting a public forum on electric vehicles in Michigan on September 21 from 9am-11:30am at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.
The Annual Meeting for the National Association of State Energy Offices (NASEO) will be hosted in Detroit September 23-26. The event will focus on integrating electric vehicles, buildings, and the grid for greater efficiency, intelligence, resiliency, and mobility. Learn more and register here.
MSU IPU invites you to the 60th Annual Regulatory Studies Program’s 13th Advanced Regulatory Studies Program: Ratemaking, Accounting, Finance, and Evaluation. The event will provide intensive, interactive, and technical workshops for experienced professionals in the regulatory policy community. It will take place October 1-5 in East Lansing.
Michigan EIBC will host a members-only election recap on Friday, November 9. Watch your inboxes for registration details.
Michigan EIBC’s Annual Energy Innovator’s Gala is scheduled for Wednesday, November 14, in Lansing. Nominations will be accepted until 5:00 pm on Friday, August 31, 2018 and should be emailed to email@example.com. Sponsors
IEI will host a Corporate Purchasers Lunch & Learn at the House Office Building in Lansing on December 5. This event will be open to legislators and legislative staff, as well as Michigan EIBC members. Watch your inboxes for registration details.
National Energy Events
The 2018 Veteran’s Energy Seminar Series is scheduled for San Diego (8/18), Chicago (8/30), and Boston (9/27). If you are interested in speaking or sponsoring an event, please visit www.vetsenergyseminar.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) invite you to Solar Power International, September 24-27, in Anaheim, California. Registration opens in spring of 2018 here.
Join 500+ attendees October 18-19 in Vermont for REVitalize: Transforming Energy Further, Fast, Together with keynote speakers Katherine Hamilton, chair of 38 North Solutions, and Gordan Van Welie, president and CEO of ISO New England.
Attend the 2018 ACEEE Rural Energy Conference on October 22 in Atlanta, Georgia. Register here.
MSU IPU invites you to the 60th Annual Regulatory Studies Program’s 46th Eastern NARUC Utility Rate School. The event provides comprehensive hands-on training on the basics of the public utility ratemaking process and is sponsored by the NARUC Committee on Water and featuring group work on a mock water utility rate case. It will take place October 22-26 in Clearwater Beach, Florida.
Join 20,000 energy professionals at the Energy Storage North America Solar+Storage Summit November 6-8 in Pasadena, California. Register here.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) invite you to Solar Power Midwest in Chicago on November 14-15.
You’re invited to Facing Race, a conference taking place in Detroit November 8-10. The conference will include several components related to energy democracy, helping cities and states to implement their new energy programs in a way that is racially equitable. For more information, please click here.
Announcements and Opportunities
The Michigan Energy Office (MEO) has announced a pilot program that will offer matching funds to eligible Michigan businesses to develop innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
ARPA-E Announces Funding Opportunity to Support Upcoming Grid Optimization (GO) Competition. Full applications due Sept. 7 ow.ly/QtJ030l6W2T