American Solar Energy Society’s (ASES) National Solar Home Tour is the world’s largest grassroots solar event. GLREA, the Michigan state chapter of ASES, assists volunteer coordinators who organize community tours that you can attend. Now in its 22nd year, this event offers the opportunity to tour innovative green homes and buildings to see how you can use solar energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable technologies. Tours are being planned for Saturday, October 7 in 8 Michigan communities. Details will soon be posted at www.glrea.org. Save the date.
Voluntary Green Pricing Programs are required by Public Act 342. The MPSC has provided guidance to utilities (U-18349 et al) on voluntary green pricing and set an Oct. 18, 2017 deadline for utilities to submit their programs for review. MPSC will look at whether different customer preferences or objectives are met, how program costs are calculated, how much of fees go to marketing and administration and whether the program is based on cost-of-service principles.
Special Green Rate for Traverse City has been approved by the municipal utility. The city will buy the output of Heritage Sustainable Energy’s planned 1 MW solar array and pay an extra 0.2 cents per kWh (difference between solar cost and utility’s avoided cost) for all its municipal operations. Traverse City Light & Power will adjust the surcharge every year of the 20-year contract, and the surcharge could become a credit if power prices rise. The solar purchase by the city helps achieve the goal of powering all government operations with renewable energy by 2020 and will increase the city’s green energy use to 21 percent from the current 10 percent. More details.
Lansing Board of Water and Light will build the second largest solar project in the state in Delta Township. The 24 MW project will be the largest solar tracking project in Michigan. BWL will start receiving power from the panels by next summer.
Consumers Energy’s Voluntary Large Customer Renewable Energy Pilot Program (U-18393) has been conditionally approved by the MPSC. The program was initiated by a survey Consumers conducted of its large business customers, who said it was important to have access to new renewable energy and wanted a longer-term fixed price. Business customers who use at least 1 MW of power annually qualify and can designate how much of their energy use – from 20 to 100 percent – to match with energy produced from a Consumers-owned wind farm. Participating customers pay a fee of 4.5 cents per kWh above their regular rates and receive a market-based credit.
DTE Energy has asked state regulators for permission to build “a state of the art” natural gas power plant at a site in St. Clair County where the utility now operates two outmoded coal plants. The $1 billion, 1100 MW plant will be constructed in 2019 on 100 acres east of the Belle River Power Plant in East China Township. More details.
Veridian, a solar-powered, mixed-income, net-zero cottage community, has been chosen by Washtenaw County commissioners as the development they would like to see on a county-owned property at 2270 Platt Rd. in Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor resident Matt Grocoff, founder of THRIVE Collaborative, last year unveiled the vision for an environmentally sustainable community of 125 to 150 new housing units on 12.5 acres with various housing types at a variety of price points. Veridian would be entirely powered by renewable energy and would not have any gas service lines. More details.
Garfield Metro Building has become the first property in Macomb County to use PACE financing. The PACE-financed upgrades will include efficient LED lighting, high efficiency heating and cooling systems, and system controls. More details.
Five Floating Turbines for the Hywind offshore wind farm have been moved from Stord, Norway, to Buchan Deep, 25 km east of Peterhead in Scotland (see photo above). The 6-MW turbines, which are placed on top of ballasted steel cylinders, were assembled outside Stord this summer and have been individually towed to Scottish waters. More details.
$88 Billion in health and environmental benefits from 2007 to 2015 are due to wind and solar energy according to a new study by Lawrence Berkley National Lab. The benefits come from reductions in sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, fine particulate matter, and carbon dioxide. More details.
2016 Wind Technologies Market Report has been released by the U.S. Dept. of Energy. Increased blade lengths, in particular, have dramatically increased project capacity factors. The average capacity factor among projects built in 2014 and 2015 was 42.6%, compared to an average of 32.1% among projects built from 2004 to 2011 and 25.4% among projects built from 1998 to 2001. After topping out at nearly 7¢/kWh for power purchase agreements (PPAs) executed in 2009, the national average price of wind PPAs has dropped to around 2¢/kWh, though this nationwide average is dominated by projects that hail from Texas, Iowa, and Oklahoma. windreport.lbl.gov
Peña Station Next, located at the last stop of Denver’s newly completed rail line to its airport, will be a new city that relies on solar arrays and a 1 MW lithium-ion battery. Denver and Denver County will work with Xcel Energy, the local utility, and the battery will be connected to a building being completed by Panasonic. The project was inspired by a smaller-scale effort Panasonic initiated in Fujisawa, a suburb of Tokyo. That “sustainable smart town,” which cut its CO2 emissions by 70%, was inaugurated three years ago. More details.
Columbia Water & Light in Missouri has begun paying higher rebates for new west-facing solar arrays than it will for those facing south. The city-owned utility adjusted its rebates as of Aug. 1 in order to encourage more solar production in late afternoon, when electricity use tends to peak, especially during high-demand summer months.
Battery Storage may be able to reduce electric bills for more than a quarter of all U.S. commercial customers according to a National Renewable Energy Lab analysis. Along with California and New York, some of the largest potential markets for behind-the-meter storage were found in surprising states, including Georgia, Colorado, Michigan, and Texas. More details.
Buying an EV: Sharing Experiences will be hosted by GLREA and the Lansing Area Solar Users Network at Michigan Energy Options, 405 Grove St. in East Lansing on Thursday, Sept. 14, 5:30-6:30 pm. Are you thinking about buying an Electric Vehicle, but have lots of questions? A very knowledgeable panel of EV owners will share their experiences and answer your questions.
Electric Vehicle Experience Event will be held on September 15, 12:00- 4:00pm at Freudenberg-NOK, 47690 East Anchor Ct, Plymouth. Over 20 different vehicles to view and some will be available to ride. More details.
Online LEED Green Rater Training from Green Home Institute will be Sept 20 & 21. LEED® for Homes™ requires third-party on-site verification and performance testing. If you’re interested in this part of USGBC’s program, this training is for you! More details.
Powering Mobility: 4th Annual Michigan Energy Future Conference will be held on Sept. 25 at the College of Creative Studies in Detroit. The Conference will dive deep into the intersection of energy, telecommunications, and transportation. More details.
University of Michigan’s Energy Club at Ross presents the 2017 Michigan Energy Conference on Sept, 29, 8:30AM – 4:30PM at Ross Colloquium (6th Floor); 701 Tappan Street, Ann Arbor. The Conference brings leading experts together with UM students to address the biggest challenges facing the energy industry. This year’s conference will focus on state and municipal-level energy policy. More details.
Michigan Interfaith Power & Light 11th Annual Sustainability Conference will be held at University United Methodist Church in East Lansing on Oct. 6. The conference will feature congregations and individuals on the front lines of climate action sharing their stories about solar, energy efficiency, water protection and justice, ethical eating, and advocacy. More details.
ASES’s 46th annual conference, “SOLAR 2017: Building a 100% Renewable Energy Community,” will be held October 9-12 in Denver, between the weekends of public days at the U.S. DOE Solar Decathlon. Registration for SOLAR 2017 is now available online.
1st Annual Sustainable Detroit Forum: Showcasing our Healthy High-Performance City
will be held at McGregor Memorial Conference Center, Wayne State on Oct. 25th, 9:00 am – 3:30 pm. https://www.usgbc.org/sustainable-detroit-forum
SOURCE: Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association