The Making Michigan a Clean Energy Winner: Policy Opportunities for Businesses forum was held on April 26, 2010, at the NextEnergy building in Detroit.
The forum was targeted at clean energy entrepreneurs who are interested in learning more about clean energy policy, both national and statewide. The event, which was coordinated by Apollo Alliance as well as by NextEnergy, attracted about 120 clean energy leaders, including GreeningDetroit.com.
A majority of the conference was organized into several panels, which encouraged discussions centered on the topics of clean energy policies. The main goal of the event, according to Michigan Apollo Alliance Coordinator Dana Sevakis, was to talk about clean energy policy on a statewide level, which she said is very important in addition to the national level. “We’re helping convene gatherings like this where we’re talking about statewide policy,” she said of Apollo Alliance, which is a national coalition of labor, business, community and environmental leaders. “It’s not only national; we need our states behind what we’re doing and policies to help build industries, help create jobs, things like that. That’s why we wanted to bring folks here to talk about things like the feed-In tariff and energy efficiency standard and carbon renewal standard.”
Keith Cooley, the president and CEO of NextEnergy, a research catalyst and business accelerator for advanced energy in Michigan, facilitated the first of five panels. The panel was titled “Clean Energy Competitiveness and the Price of Doing Nothing,” and involved discussions between Dowding Industries and Astraeus Wind President Jeff Metts, National Apollo Alliance Field Director Ron Ruggiero and MSU Land Policy Institute Director Soji Adelaja.
Following shortly after, Loch McCabe, the president of Shepherd Advisors, facilitated a discussion about “Where Are We At and What Else Needs to be Done?” The panelists were Liesl Clark, deputy director of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth; Paul Brown, the manager of Capital Markets Development at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation; Jeff Bocan, the managing director at Beringea; and Kevin Kolevar, the director of Public Policy and Issues Management at the Dow Chemical Company.
Third in line for discussion were state policies involving low carbon fuel standard, which aim to reduce carbon intensity in transportation fuels. Brad Markell, the international representative for United Auto Workers, facilitated the presentations made by Mike Shriberg, the policy director of The Ecology Center; Oliver Baer, the president and CEO of Clean Emission Fluids; and State Representative Lee Gonzales of the 49th District.
The next state policy discussed was feed-in tariffs. A feed-in tariff is a policy made to encourage renewable energy sources. Tremaine Phillips, the energy program associate for the Michigan Environmental Council, led the discussion among Tom Stanton, the manager of the Renewable Energy Section of the Michigan Public Service Commission; Martha Duggan, the vice president of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Energy Conversion Devices, Inc./United Solar Ovonic, LLC; and State Representative Mike Huckleberry of the 70th District.
The last state policy discussed was energy efficiency. Anne McKibbin led panel composed of Marty Kushler, the director of the Utilities Program for the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, and Paul Savage, the president and CEO of Nextek Power Systems.
After the event, Sevakis told GreeningDetroit.com that the idea of the event was to “connect policy makers, the folks in government who are working on alternative energy policy, with the business community.”
Author: Jennifer Griffin, Contributing Writer and Public Relations, GreeningDetroit.com