Great Lakes Energy News

January 2020


At the GLREA annual meeting on Dec. 7, 149 persons learned about the new MI Power Grid initiative, solar developments in Michigan, and state legislation. Exemplary Project Awards were given to the Appropriate Technology Collaborative and John Barrie for Tiritibol Solar Powered Computer Lab, Dave Konkle  for Value of Solar & Energy Efficient Homes Seminar, and  Cass Community Social Services for Tiny Homes Detroit Solar Project.  Leadership awards were given to Wayne Appleyard for Leadership on Ann Arbor Energy Commission, Victor Sinadinoski for Solar Policies for Harbor Springs, Sen. Tom Barrett, Rep. Bronna Kahle, and Rep. Yousef Rabhi (see photo above) for Solar Policy Legislation, and Mark Clevey for Solar Policy Advocacy. 
Dave Konkle announced the photo contest winners - Business Category: 1st Place was Harvest Solar and Runner-Up was Strawberry Solar.  Individual Category: 1st Place was Lee Andre and Runner-Up was Julie Roth.  Melanie McCoy, Cary Church, John Sarver, and Dave Konkle were re-elected to the Board of Directors.  Allan Waller, Water Furnace International, will be new to the Board.
Michigan News
MPSC Distributed Generation and Legacy Net Metering Programs Report found that the number of projects grew to 5,379 in 2018 from 3,427 in 2017, a 57% increase.  By the end of 2018, the total capacity of the installations was 43,481 kW, an increase of 13,910 kW. While that’s a 47% increase year over year, legacy net metering projects remain a small portion of Michigan’s total retail electricity sales, at .0048%.  Solar power remains the largest category, 94% with wind turbines a distant second.
MPSC accepted parts of Upper Peninsula Power Co.’s (UPPCo) integrated resource plan while also recommending changes to the plan.  The order (Case No. U-20350) includes a 125 MW solar power contract and an increase in energy waste reduction goals to 1.65% of total electricity sales in 2020 and 1.75% in 2021, up from the 1.5% percent proposed by UPPCo.   The Commission found support lacking for a 20 MW natural gas power plant UPPCo had proposed to build.
MPSC gave the green light to 22 power purchase agreements between Consumers Energy and qualified facilities under PURPA (Case No. U-20604).  The 22 power purchase agreements, each of which spans 20 years, represent 95 MW of the 170 MW of full avoided cost PPAs identified in Case No. U-20615.
Beyond Michigan

Floating Wind Turbines off Maine's coast could be operational by 2022.  The two offshore wind turbines would become the first floating offshore wind farm in the nation.  State utility regulators have approved a contract under which the utility Avangrid will buy the power generated by Aqua Ventus.  The vote followed legislation Gov. Mills signed this summer requiring the public utilities commission to approve the pilot project.  Conventional offshore wind farms require foundations to be built in water no deeper than 196 feet.  Floating platforms would open us site development in deeper waters and farther from shore. More details

Blacks in Green has spent 12 years promoting energy efficiency, green jobs, and sustainability in Chicago’s African American communities, a mission that has recently expanded with a partnership with utility ComEd.  The Green Living Room in the West Woodlawn neighborhood is the group’s first fully public community gathering space and champions one of the key ideas in the 8 Principles of Green-Village-Building. The principles guide the creation of a “sustainable square mile” where residents can walk to where they work, learn, shop and play.  More details
Minnesota recently became the first state in the nation to adopt a new national interconnection standard that could spur more clean energy projects. Minnesota chose to incorporate IEEE 1547-2018, an emerging national standard designed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.  Many states have begun updating interconnection standards, among them Michigan, Iowa, Illinois and Maryland. The new interconnection standards include rules on smart inverters that allow the grid to absorb more distributed generation.  More details 

Denmark is planning to invest $45 billion to build an artificial island tying in power from offshore wind farms of up to 10 GW.  Denmark will also research how the energy coming into the hub can be stored or converted into hydrogen.  More details
Port of Los Angeles is the busiest port in the U.S., processing around 20% of imports. In September 2018 the Port announced that it was set to receive $41 million from the California Air Resources Board to launch a pilot project involving ten trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells and two refueling stations, as well as associated cargo handling equipment.  More details
Hyperloop System linking Pittsburgh to Cleveland and Chicago has had a feasibility study that shows it is physically and financially possible to build the $40 billion system. It promises to move passengers and freight at upwards of 500 mph, going from Pittsburgh to Cleveland in about 18 minutes and Pittsburgh to Chicago in just under an hour. The cost to use the system is estimated at about two-thirds the cost of air travel.  More details
Detroit Solar Feasibility Study webinar, hosted by Michigan Energy Options, will be held on Jan. 31, 10:00-10:45.   Nishaat Y. Killeen, Project Manager in the Office of Sustainability for the City of Detroit and one of a team of city staff and consultants who conducted the solar feasibility study, will talk about the study.
Climate Leadership Conference will be held on March 4-6 in Detroit.  The annual conference is North America’s premier event dedicated to addressing the climate crisis through policy, innovation, and business solutions.
Michigan Climate Action Summit will be held in Ann Arbor on March 12. The 2020 Summit will focus on how Michigan can make the most just and rapid transition to renewable energy.
ASES SOLAR 20/20 registration is open. June 23-26 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C..  Register at
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