The 15th Michigan Renewable Energy Fair, held on June 26-27 at the Ingham County Fairgrounds, had 1,175 attendees, 72 exhibitors, and 30 workshops. Approximately 60 persons attended the kick-off meeting of the Michigan Solar Users Network and heard solar stories from Dave Strenski, Dave Friedrichs, and Dave Konkle. Fair highlights included an electric vehicle showcase and keynote speeches by Patrick King, VP Suniva, and Skip Pruss, former director of the Michigan energy department. The latest information on renewable energy and a good time were shared by all who attended.
American Solar Energy Society’s (ASES) National Solar Home Tour, the world’s largest grassroots solar event, will be Saturday, October 3. GLREA, the Michigan state chapter of ASES, assists volunteers who organize local tours. Now in its 20th year, this event offers an opportunity to tour innovative green homes and buildings to see how solar energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable technologies reduce monthly utility bills and help our environment. If you would like your home to be on a tour, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5 Lakes Energy is Michigan’s premiere clean energy and sustainability policy consulting firm, offering expert services and advocacy aimed at accelerating the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, and sustainable practices. Recent projects have included modeling and analytics to aid states in planning for compliance with the Clean Power Plan; outreach and stakeholder engagement to advance industrial energy efficiency; and facilitation of the groundbreaking Michigan Sustainable Wine Feasibility Study. To learn more about how your organization can benefit from the expert services offered by 5 Lakes Energy, please contact Liesl Eichler Clark at email@example.com. The photo above shows Liesl talking to Sen. Nofs, Chair of the Senate Energy Committee.
Sen. Mike Nofs, chairman of the Michigan Senate Energy and Technology Committee, has introduced his long-awaited energy package. Nofs’ Senate Bill 437 and the companion bill, SB 438, which is sponsored by Sen. John Proos, seek to roll back utility renewable energy and energy efficiency standards and replace those with an integrated resource planning process. Net Metering would be replaced by a Distributed Generation program that would really hurt the solar marketplace and homeowners interested in purchasing PV systems. More details.
Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed Norm Saari to the Michigan Public Service Commission to replace Greg White. Saari is Republican House Speaker Kevin Cotter’s chief of staff and will begin a six-year term on Aug. 2. He previously had other legislative jobs and worked at Consumers Energy for more than 30 years, including 20 leading the utility’s governmental affairs. More details.
Grand Valley State University and Consumers Energy will have a joint solar project on a 14-acre site in Georgetown Township. The proposed site is at the edge of the GVSU campus. This Solar Gardens project would produce about 3 MW of solar energy. GVSU has agreed to buy 500 kW of power from the solar field for 25 years, a $1.3 million commitment. Power generated by the solar field will be available to Consumers Energy customers who want to purchase it. The project is expected to be completed in 2016. www.ConsumersEnergy.com/solargardens
DTE Rate Case at the MPSC includes the rate DTE will charge municipalities to operate LED streetlights. The proposed increase for operating municipal LED streetlights, with a concurrent reduction in rates charged for less-efficient, high-pressure sodium fixtures is an issue for some municipalities. “Rates for the most commonly installed LED wattages served by overhead wires are proposed to rise between $18 and $23 annually,” says Rick Bunch, director of the Street Lighting Consortium for the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office. “Rates for equivalent high-pressure sodium fixtures, the most common incumbent technology, are proposed to drop between $12 and $33 annually.”
Two 100-Year-Old Houses in Ann Arbor will be deconstructed and provide materials for a new spa focused on sustainability. The team working on the new net zero energy building will include Polymath, A3C Collaborative, and Meadowlark Builders. The building will be certified to the Living Building Challenge standards, generate solar electricity, use rain for its water needs and be extremely energy efficient. More details.
Caro Chamber of Commerce is inviting the public to tour Consumers Energy’s new Cross Winds Energy Park in Tuscola County. Consisting of 62 wind turbines located in Akron and Columbia townships, the 111MW wind park was completed in December. About 150 people worked on the $255 million project. The Caro Chamber of Commerce is offering tours beginning Saturday, July 25. More details.
Coldwater City Council approved an agreement with the Marmon Group to lease the former Midwest Foundry site for one dollar and use it for a Coldwater Board of Public Utilities solar energy field project. Coldwater BPU Director Paul Beckhusen said the solar panels will produce one-and-a-half megawatts of energy, or roughly enough electricity for 100 homes in the city. Pending the signing of the final agreement by Marmon and several minor revisions, the solar panel construction will start a month from now and be finished at the end of January. More details.
Highland Cemetery and DTE are close to closing a deal to build an 800 kW solar array at the cemetery in Ypsilanti. Ypsilanti was recently recognized in a Michigan Clean Energy report as a leading community in using alternative energy, which is largely due to the efforts of the independent SolarYpsi organization. Ypsilanti has the most wind and solar net metering installations and capacity of any mid-sized Michigan city. If the 800 kW are added to the existing 144 kW already installed in Ypsilanti, there would be a total of 944 kW. That gives Ypsilanti 47.7 watts per capita and Ypsilanti would then rank ninth in the country on a watt per capita basis. More details.
Inovateus Solar has been awarded the installation of a 2.5 MW, ground-mounted solar array for Indiana Michigan Power (I&M). The future site of the new I&M solar array is in Marion, IN, and groundbreaking took place July 24. This solar project with Inovateus is the first for I&M. The system consists of 9,972, 310-watt solar panels and 11 Nextronex 250 inverters. More details.
Austin Energy, the city’s municipal utility, just released new data on developer bids for PV projects as part of a 600 MW procurement. The numbers show how far solar prices have come down over the last year. The utility received offers for 7,976 MW of projects after issuing a request for bids in April. Out of those bids, 1,295 MW of projects were priced below 4 cents/kWh. More details.
SolarCity has announced energy storage for new homes and a special low, fixed-rate solar power offering for California homebuilders and their buyers. The new energy storage service, in conjunction with solar power, includes the Tesla Powerwall battery pack, advanced hybrid inverter, and monitoring and control systems. While battery backup is the primary application, SolarCity’s management system may in the future enable the Powerwall to be configured for time-of-use shifting and grid response. More details.
Statoil, the Norwegian oil and gas giant, is considering whether to invest in a floating wind farm off the east coast of Scotland. Statoil has been operating a single floating turbine in the North Sea since 2009. The Scotland project could be five 6 MW turbines in water about 100 meters deep. France and Portugal are also considering similar projects. More details.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced support for 83 communities across the state to explore the development of microgrids integrating renewable generation and providing emergency power to critical facilities. The NY Prize awards, each approximately $100,000, will be used to assess the technical, operational, and financial feasibility of proposed community microgrid projects. More details.
Ann Arbor Advanced Energy Business Networking Meeting will be held at Sakti3,1490 Eisenhower Place, Building 4, Ann Arbor on August 7, 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM. Michigan EIBC will give an update on the current state and federal energy policy debate and Sakti3 President Dr. Ann Marie Sastry will talk about the company’s current work. Deadline to register is August 6 at 2:00 pm. More details.
Solar PV Entry Level Training will be held on August 24-28, 8 am – 5 pm at Northwestern Michigan College. This one week intensive course prepares attendees for the NABCEP exam. Cost is $599. For details, call 231-995-1701.
Michigan Interfaith Power & Light’s 10th Annual Sustainability Conference will be held on October 9 at Peoples Church in East Lansing. The conference will provide attendees with actionable information about sustainability, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. More details.
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