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GLREA Annual Meeting this Sat.

Great Lakes Energy News

December 2019

GLREA News
 
GLREA Annual Meeting will be held at the Lansing Brewing Company on Saturday, Dec. 7, 9:30-4:00. We will have speakers and panel sessions to talk about the latest developments in renewable energy. GLREA members will have an opportunity to network and share their thoughts. Not a member yet?  Come learn about GLREA and renewable energy.
 
Tom Stanton, National Regulatory Research Institute, will talk about national developments and Julie Baldwin, MPSC, will discuss the new MI Power Grid initiative.  Sarah Mills, UM Ford School of Public Policy, will discuss doing energy projects in rural areas. A diverse panel will provide updates on solar energy in Michigan and a legislative panel will discuss the variety of renewable energy related bills that have been introduced.  The meeting will also include GLREA updates, awards, and board election. More details and registration

Michigan News
 
Solar Tax Legislation was signed by Gov. Whitmer on November 14.  House Bills 4465 (sponsored by Rep. Yousef Rabhi and now PA 118) and 4069 (sponsored by Rep. Bronna Kahle and now PA 117), along with Senate Bill 47 (sponsored by Sen. Tom Barrett and now PA 116), provide tax exemptions for solar projects up to 150 kW. The legislation clarifies that solar panels are not part of a property for the purposes of property tax assessment until the property is sold. Installing, repairing, or replacing alternative energy systems is considered normal maintenance. More details
 
Matt Grocoff, founder of THRIVE Collaborative, has submitted site plans to Ann Arbor planning staff for a mixed-income, solar-powered community.  The project on a 14-acre parcel at 2270 Platt Rd. is set to include 149 residential units - 99 mixed-income market-rate units to be developed by THRIVE and 50 affordable housing units to be built by Avalon Housing. The goal is to power the entire Veridian at County Farm neighborhood with solar energy. More details
 
Consumers Energy’s solar project in Cadillac is the first to use state grant funding to clean up contaminated industrial property. The 500 kW solar installation at the Mitchell-Bentley site triggered $1 million in state grants and loans through Michigan’s brownfield redevelopment program. The solar panels will be on the southern border of the property while city officials anticipate a new industrial tenant when the pollution is remediated. Cleanup started in mid-October and the panels will be installed next year. The city will be the largest off-taker of power, but any Consumers customers can buy output through its Solar Gardens program. More details
 
CEO Patti Poppe has announced that Consumers Energy will eliminate methane emissions from its natural gas delivery system. The company plans to achieve net-zero methane emissions from its gas transmission, distribution and storage operations by 2030. Consumers’ plan calls for an 80% reduction in methane leaks and the remaining 20% will be offset by purchasing renewable energy gas which is captured from farms, landfills and wastewater treatment facilities.  However, gas distribution and storage make up less than one-fifth of the supply chain’s methane emissions.  Most come from sources like well production sites. More details
 
East Lansing Community Solar Park won the Project of the Year award at the 7th annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on Nov. 14.  Other awards included Public Official of the Year: Liesl Eichler Clark, Energy Innovators Hall of Fame Inductee: Jim MacInnes, Emerging Business of the Year: PACENERGIES, and Business of the Year: Walker-Miller Energy Services.
 
Beyond Michigan
 
First Great Lakes Offshore Wind Farm needs a final approval from the Ohio Power Siting Board, which is among more than a dozen agencies that must sign off on the 20.7 MW Icebreaker project, a demonstration wind farm 8 miles from downtown Cleveland in Lake Erie.  Approval would represent a major milestone for Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo), a Cleveland-based public-private partnership that's developing the project with partner and investor Fred.Olsen Renewables of Norway.  More details
 
New Deloitte Study shows the lifetime cost of operating utility-scale solar facilities declined by 18% and on-shore wind dipped by 10% during the first half of the year.  The biggest decline in cost was for lithium-ion battery storage which fell 35% between January and June. More details
 
Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg has figured out how to harness solar energy and keep it in reserve so it can be released in the form of heat – even decades after it was captured. The innovation includes an energy-trapping molecule and an energy-storing laminate coating that can be applied to windows and textiles.  An entire building on campus is being coated to showcase the technology.  More details
 
Home Batteries proved their value during Vermont's Halloween blackout, a major storm that knocked out power to 115,000 customers. Among those affected, 1,100 homes managed to keep the lights on. The battery backup lasted 9 hours on average, but the longest instance stretched to 82 hours.  A couple of years ago, Green Mountain Power launched a pilot that allowed homeowners to pay a monthly fee to host a utility-owned and controlled Tesla Powerwall battery. The residents could use it for backup and the utility could dispatch the capacity to manage peak demand.  In 2018, GMP's network of batteries reduced consumption during the ISO New England peak hour, saving about $600,000 on capacity fees. This year, a larger number of batteries, totaling 10 MW of capacity, responded to a late July peak, saving nearly $900,000 from a single hour of operation.  More details
 
Heliogen has discovered a way to use artificial intelligence and a field of mirrors to reflect so much sunlight that it generates extreme heat above 1,000 degrees Celsius.  The breakthrough means that, for the first time, concentrated solar energy can be used to create the extreme heat required to make cement, steel, glass and other industrial processes. More details
 
Vermont Green will let homeowners sell renewable power directly to businesses served by Green Mountain Power. This is the first time a community scale local energy market has been developed, regulated and commercially operated. The transactions occur between businesses that want more renewable energy and homeowners with solar panels that are willing to sell their output.  The test program begins December 2 and will be open initially to 200 customers — 50 businesses and 150 households. The participants will trade a local renewable energy credit (REC) that the utility is calling Vermont Green Attributes.  More details
 
U.S. Wind Survey has been a 4-year project that surveyed residents living within 5 miles of 250 existing wind power projects. Attitudes of residents within 5 miles of wind turbines are 7 times more likely to be positive than negative (25% were very positive, 32% were positive, 34% were neutral, 4% were negative, and 4% were very negative). Those living within half a mile of a turbine are twice as likely to have positive attitudes. More details
 
Events
 
Financing Webinar, hosted by MEECA, will be held on Dec. 5, 2:00.  Bill Kumar, CEO of Lean & Green Michigan, the statewide Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program administrator, will introduce one of the capital providers that finance PACE projects, Inland Green Capital.  Anna Maria Kowalik will give an introduction on how PACE works.  Online event is free. RSVP to David Gard at david@meeca.info
 
GLREA Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7 at Lansing Brewing.  Register at www.glrea.org.

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