Three new members joined the GLREA Board of Directors in January: John Freeman, Homeland Solar, Ric Evans, Paradigm Energy Services, and George Stojic, Lansing Board of Water & Light. Officers elected for 2015: President John Sarver, Vice-President Allan O’Shea, Treasurer Mary McGraw, and Secretary Sarah Mullkoff. Board meetings in 2015 will be held the second Wednesday of the month from 4:00-6:00 pm at Michigan Environmental Council, 602 W. Ionia, Lansing. All members are welcome and there is a member comment period at the end of each meeting.
TRC is a national engineering services, consulting and construction management firm that provides integrated services to the energy, environmental and infrastructure markets. TRC has worked with developers, utilities, and government agencies to provide efficient, cost-effective support on both large and small utility and distributed generation-scale solar and wind projects. TRC’s solar and wind expertise includes permitting support, site selection, impact assessment, engineering, design and handling interconnection issues. TRC recently completed permitting work on a Superfund project in New Bedford, MA. and is now spearheading the environmental permitting work for the Fresh Kills solar power project in NY. With offices in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin, TRC has been involved in the initial siting, due diligence, construction, start-up and operational activities of more than 1,000 MW in the Midwest. TRC has been involved with permitting of winds farms in Huron and Sanilac counties and is now working on developing Brightfields in Detroit. www.trcsolutions.com/
State of the State by Governor Snyder did not include much about state energy policy, but a special address on energy is planned for March. The Governor mentioned the need to reduce energy waste and use less coal and more natural gas and renewable energy. He also indicated his plan to merge the MPSC with the state energy office. More details.
Institute for Energy Innovation has released a new report, Barriers to Advanced Energy in Michigan. The report identifies a series of barriers to renewable development, including the absence of state policy drivers. The report notes that the public and large businesses are demanding more renewables in their energy supply. In 2014, 12 Fortune 500 companies signed on to the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles: Increasing Access to Renewable Energy. Signers include GM, Bloomberg, Facebook, Mars and Walmart. The cost of renewables in the state has dropped steeply, and is competitive with the cost of traditional fuels. A new coal plant’s projected cost of electricity is $133/MWH, according to data from the MPSC, and a natural gas plant is estimated to cost $66/MWH. Recent contracts for wind energy in the state have hovered around $50/MWH. More details.
Consumers Energy is accepting applications for residential solar capacity in Phase 28 of the Experimental Advanced Renewable Program (EARP). This program allows electric customers to sell the output of customer-owned solar systems to Consumers Energy for a fixed price over the contract term. Applications for Phase 28 must be submitted by February 28. Consumers will be using an online application system called PowerClerk which will streamline the application process and enable customers to see the status of their projects during application, interconnection, and construction. To submit an application, please visit www.consumersenergy.com/EARP.
HB 5397 provides new financial tools for municipal electric utilities to assist their customers in installing energy efficiency, distributed generation, and electric vehicle charging. The new law was signed by Governor Snyder on December 27. By allowing customers to borrow money for energy improvements from their local municipal utility and repay those loans as part of their electric bill, the legislation offers another tool to finance energy projects.
UM Energy Institute Report indicates that Michigan could expand its renewable energy portfolio standard to 25% over the next 10 years at a cost of $2.60 a month for the average household. That price tag could be cut in half if key federal tax credits are extended. The UM report projects costs under three different scenarios compared to a business as usual model: 20% by 2030, 25% by 2025 and 40% by 2035. The 2030 goal would cost the average household $1.70 a month and the most ambitious 2035 goal would cost the average household $6.70 a month. More details.
UM Solar Car Team won its first international competition ever at the three-day Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge. It started in the capital of the United Arab Emirates and wound through city streets and desert landscapes. The U-M Solar Car Team has won five straight national championships and regularly competes in global races. The crown prince of Abu Dhabi presented the trophy to the victors at the opening ceremonies of the 2015 World Future Energy Summit. More details.
Governor Jerry Brown used his inaugural address to list three energy goals to be accomplished in California within the next 15 years: (1) increase the amount of electricity the state derives from renewable sources from one-third to 50%, (2) reduce petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50%, and (3) double the efficiency of existing buildings and make heating fuels cleaner. More details.
Twenty-Five Sports Venues, stadiums, arenas, and raceways, in 12 states have either a PV or solar hot water system. The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks have stadiums which rank fifth and sixth in installed solar capacity. In 2004, total PV capacity in professional sports facilities soared to 21.7 MW. More details.
New LBNL Report quantifies the sales premiums for homes equipped with host-owned PV systems. It enhances the PV-home-valuation literature (including previous LBNL analyses) by more than doubling the number of PV home sales analyzed (22,822 homes in total, 3,951 of which have PV) and examining transactions in eight states, including California, New York, and Florida, and across the years 2002-2013. The study finds that home buyers consistently have been willing to pay PV home premiums across various states, housing and PV markets, and home types. The average premium across the full sample equates to approximately $4/watt. More details.
IRS has released Notice 2015-4 which specifies the performance and quality standards that small wind turbines must meet in order to qualify for the 30% investment tax credit. To qualify as a small wind turbine, the turbine must be 100 kW or less and meet the AWEA Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard 9.1-2009 or the International Electrotechnical Commission 61400-1, 61400-2, and 61400-11. A small wind turbine model must be certified by an accredited third party. More details.
Michigan Energy Forum on Shale Gas Issues and Opportunities will be held on Feb. 5th at 5:00-7:00 pm at Spark Central, 330 East Liberty in Ann Arbor. Register here.
West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will present a luncheon program on the Governor’s Recycling Initiative on Mon, Feb. 9 from 12 to 2 p.m.at Grand Rapids Brewing Company. Greener Grads and New Soil will be presenting their work in this area. RSVP here.
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