Michigan Energy Fair coming June 24 & 25.

Great Lakes Energy News

June 2016

Michigan Energy Fair is coming later this month to the Ingham County Fairgrounds in Mason. The Fair will be June 24 & 25 and will have a variety of workshops on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living.  There will be hands on activities for kids, electric vehicles, and over 100 exhibitors.  Dr. David DeYoe will be the keynote speaker on Friday at 11:00 am. Dr. DeYoe is president of Bio-Trend Systems, Inc., a firm that specializes in helping communities and companies develop and implement strategies to capture the benefits of a green economy through the innovative use of renewable resources.
GLREA has added to its “Michigan Women in Energy” series.  New narratives on Kris Hunter, Hunter Energy Resources, Mary Templeton, Michigan Saves, and Julie Lyons Bricker, Michigan Interfaith Power & Light can now be found at
Fair Sponsor Highlight
MIAT (Michigan Institute of Aviation Technology) was founded in 1969 to fill a growing need for qualified technicians.  Originally the school was located at Willow Run Airport, but due to dramatic growth and new technology in the aviation and energy industries, MIAT now has a state-of-the-art, 125,000-sq.ft. facility in Canton.  Energy Technology programs were created in 2007 to train technicians to work on steam and gas turbines, power plant operations, and wind turbines. The HVACR Technician program was created in 2012 to meet the needs of the heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration industries.
Michigan News
Senate Energy and Technology Committee passed SB 438 on a 7-3 vote along party lines.  The bill would hold a 10% renewable energy standard “floor” going forward and phase out the energy efficiency program by 2021. The bill establishes a 35% clean energy goal by 2025.  Proposed amendments backed by Democrats to increase the state’s RPS to 15% and 20% failed, as did a proposal to extend the efficiency standard to 2025.  The bill does not, as originally proposed, eliminate the net metering program in favor of a “buy-all, sell-all” model where generators would buy their electricity from a utility and get reimbursed at roughly wholesale rates.  The bill does include a new “grid usage charge” and less favorable pricing for net metering customers.  SB 437 would maintain the 10% cap on electric choice, but place greater restrictions on alternative energy suppliers and participating customers. SB 437 passed 6-1, with pro-deregulation Republican Sen. Mike Shirkey voting against it and the 3 Democrats abstaining.  A separate House energy policy package was voted out of committee last year, but has yet to see a full floor vote.  More details.
Lansing Board of Water and Light has unveiled a 20-year roadmap for its energy future that responds to the loss of roughly 80% of the utility’s current generation by 2030 due to planned coal plant closures.  Known as an Integrated Resource Plan, it has a 40% clean energy portfolio by 2030 made up of wind, solar and energy efficiency. The plan also calls for two new natural gas plants by 2030.  The advisory committee recommended a plan that builds an 85 MW wind project in 2018 and 140 MW of solar between 2020 and 2030. That will be combined with 1% of load reduction through energy efficiency a year, 250 MW of combustion-gas turbine between 2020 and 2030 and a 150 MW combined-cycle turbine in 2030.  More details.
Senior Caleb Brown admits his idea to install solar panels at Northport Public School is ambitious. Not all high school science projects come with a $25,000 price tag and required paperwork and permits are bewildering. Brown’s plan calls for a 7 kW dual-axis tracker array on the grounds near the school. It will provide about 3% of the district’s $40,000 annual electricity bill and will also serve as a learning tool.  His plan became reality this month when the Leelanau Township Community Foundation approved more than $12,000 for the project.  Northport Public Schools’ Board of Education had earlier approved $16,000 for the project.  More details.
PURPA Proceedings to establish updated avoided costs have been initiated by the Michigan Public Service Commission (Case No. U-18089 et al). PURPA is the federal law that allows certain small power producers to sell their electricity to utilities.  The current method used to determine a utility avoided cost rate under PURPA has been in place since the early 1980s.  Consumers Energy, DTE Electric, Alpena Power, Upper Peninsula Power and Thumb Electric Cooperative will file proposed avoided cost calculations and proposed standard rate tariffs by June 17. These utilities will provide avoided cost calculations using two specific methodologies and another method at the option of the utility. PURPA Technical Advisory Committee Report.
Decker Homes had the best Home Energy Rating System score (36) in 2015 of nearly 700 Energy Star homes participating in Consumer Energy’s New Construction program. The home at 9875 Jackman Rd. in Temperance has a high efficiency building envelope, appliances, and lighting and both PV and geothermal.
Michigan Agency for Energy’s 2016 summer energy appraisal shows that Michigan continues to benefit from an abundant supply of natural gas, crude oil, and petroleum products, resulting in decreased prices.  This summer, residents should enjoy lower prices at the pump – right now, gasoline prices are approximately 13% lower than last year -- as well as lower natural gas prices.  Successful energy waste reduction efforts are noticeable in electricity demand, where the baseline usage is expected to decrease by 0.9% despite a rise in economic activity and slightly increased usage by the industrial sector.  
DTE Energy has opened the Huron Renewable Energy Center in Bad Axe, bringing 25 operations and maintenance jobs to Huron County.  DTE has renovated the building into a renewable energy operations headquarters including offices, garage facilities, warehousing and maintenance shop area. The facility also has an unfinished 3,000-sq.ft. area that DTE plans to develop into a community space for renewable energy education and hosting wind park tours, meetings and other community activities. Plans are expected to be finalized this year, with completion of the space in 2017.  DTE currently owns and operates four wind parks and three solar arrays in Huron County.  More details.
Beyond Michigan
Solar Progress Partnership, a compromise on net metering between solar installers and utilities in New York, was an important step toward rate reform. A recent paper from Energy and Environment Economics lays out a “full value tariff” designed to carry New York toward the market-based mechanisms envisioned by the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV). The first component is a flat-rate customer charge that covers embedded costs, such as meters and billing. The second charge is a network subscription. In the paper, E3 suggested it be based on the usage in the highest month.  People can lower their utility bills by focusing on peak days that drive up the cost all year long. The third piece is a dynamic price based on an assigned “distribution value” by the utility. In areas with constraints, that value may be higher at peak times than in areas that have no issues.  More details.
King County Superior Court Judge Hollis Hill has ordered the Washington State Department of Ecology to create rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2016.  The judge’s ruling was on a lawsuit filed by eight kids on behalf of current and future generations.  Current state targets, set in 2008, call for a reduction in emissions of 50% below 1990 levels by 2050.  The kids argued that current science makes clear that the cuts should be at least 80%.  More details.
Whirlpool has announced a $13.5 million investment to build wind turbines at its Marion and Ottawa manufacturing plants in Ohio.  The 3 Marion turbines, which are scheduled for completion in early 2017, are expected to offset the plant’s electric consumption by 19%. Ottawa’s turbine, once completed at the end of this year, is expected to offset the plant’s electrical consumption by 34%.  All turbines will be built and financed by One Energy as part of its “Wind for Industry” project. The turbines will be the same Goldwind 1.5 MW turbines used for Whirlpool’s 3 MW project in Findlay, Ohio, which has been in operations since January.  More details.
Midwest Aging Coal Plants are being shut down, squeezed by cheap shale gas and stricter environmental regulations.  Coal power plants aren't the only thing that disappeared from the Midwest power grid over the last year. According to a Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) analysis, total capacity across its 15-state footprint shrank by 1500 MW from 2015 -- not surprising given coal retirements. But the decline was matched by a 1400 MW drop in demand.  Forecasts indicate flat demand in the near term and demand growth of about 0.7% per year over the longer term.  More details.
Super-Thin Graphene and solar panels when combined can produce solar energy when it rains. Ocean University of China researchers have proved the concept that one can extract energy when it’s raining via a chemical reaction that happens when water drops are introduced to graphene.  More details.
Alatus LLC will oversee the creation of Rice Creek Commons into a solar-powered eco village that they hope becomes a national model for suburban development.  The site is a 427-acre area that is the long-vacated Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant.  More details.
Michigan Renewable Energy Fair will be June 24 & 25 at the Ingham County Fairgrounds.  The Fair includes renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainability and environmentally minded companies and groups.
ASES Solar 2016 will be held in conjunction with Intersolar North America on July 11-13 in San Francisco.   Early bird pricing ends June 3.  Register here.
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