Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan has reached an agreement with DTE and Consumers Energy to end a ballot initiative to require the companies to get 30% of their energy from renewable sources by 2030. The deal commits the companies to a 50% clean energy standard by 2030. The agreement specifically calls for the utilities to get 25% of their energy from renewables by 2030 and another 25 percent from reductions in energy use. John Freeman, campaign manager for Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan and GLREA Executive Director, said the agreement builds on a 35% clean energy goal that was part of energy reforms signed by Gov. Snyder in late 2016. “We think this is a much firmer commitment,” Freeman said. “The thing that makes this deal strong is that the utilities have committed to integrate these goals in their IRP plans.” Next month Consumers Energy files its integrated resource plan with the PSC. DTE will file its plan with the MPSC early next year. More details.
Michigan House Committee on Tax Policy has voted out House Bill 5680 which would add alternative energy systems including solar systems to “normal repairs, replacement, and maintenance, until the property is sold.” The bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Tom Barrett (R- Charlotte) would amend the General Property Tax Act so that solar energy systems are not considered in determining the true cash value of residential property for assessment purposes. The bill would add to the list of normal maintenance activities installation of an alternative energy system with a generating capacity of not more than 150 kW and annual energy output could not exceed annual energy consumption.
Bipartisan “Energy Freedom” package (HB 5861-5) has been introduced in the Michigan House. The bills would allow the formation of community renewable energy gardens, increase the number of customers who can net meter, allow the creation of microgrids, and create a “fair value pricing” framework to compensate renewable energy generators. More details.
University of Michigan is developing a new method of producing thin, carbon-based photovoltaics. Lead researcher Paul G. Goebel said that the “organic” solar panels could lead to a “truly ubiquitous clean energy source.” Testing has shown that the solar panels operate at 15% efficiency matching commercially available PV. More details.
Cherryland Electric Cooperative has met its renewable energy goal, increasing its solar by 700% to almost 2.8 MW in 18 months. In November 2016, Cherryland partnered with its power supplier, Wolverine Power Coop, to develop a mix of solar programs. The programs included community solar, net metering, and buy-all sell-all (BASA). Since 2016, Cherryland members have contracted for 2.3 MW of BASA solar, with projects ranging from 7.7 kW to 1 MW. Cherryland currently receives nearly 20% percent of its power from renewable sources. More details.
Solar Energy will illuminate a mural on the exterior walls of Lansing’s new Central Substation. The mural’s color scheme will incorporate a color-block design in bright alternating shades. The solar system on the building’s roof will power LED lights to illuminate the mural creating a diffuse glowing effect. More details.
MPSC has lowered standby rates for co-generation plants and lifted standby rates for solar. Standby rates are backup fees that utilities charge for the times a company’s own source of power is not available. More details.
Minneapolis City Council has unanimously approved the city’s transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030. Minneapolis is the largest city in the Midwest and the 65th city in the country to establish a goal of moving entirely to clean energy. Municipal facilities and operations will be at 100% renewable energy by 2022, and the entire city will transition by 2030. More details.
Hornsdale Power Reserve, Tesla big battery installed in South Australia at the end of 2017, has reduced the price of expensive power outages by 90%. When there is a fault or maintenance is required in the power grid, the energy market operator must call for frequency control and ancillary services (FCAS). These services have been costly, fossil fuel backup systems, while the Tesla project is an enormous lithium ion battery. The Tesla battery has now taken over 55% of FCAS in the region. More details.
Walt Disney World will soon have a 50 MW PV facility with 500,000 solar panels. The new facility will break ground in the next few months and should be completed by the end of the year. The solar facility will span over 270 acres and generate enough energy to power two of Disney’s theme parks in Central Florida. This new solar facility will be designed as pollinator friendly with wildflowers and vegetation creating habitat for butterflies and bees. More details.
American University (AU) has become the first carbon-neutral university in the U.S. One of the university’s first efforts was its Green Building Policy and pledge that all new buildings would be LEED Gold. The campus boasts six LEED-certified buildings, with four more on track to meet those standards. The new home of the university’s School of International Service, completed in 2010, is one of the LEED Gold-certified buildings. More details.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has opened a review into the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act and may consider how it affects renewable energy and its purchase contracts. “Today’s energy landscape is profoundly different from late ’70s, and because of this, many have rightly voiced a desire for a fresh look at the existing policy to better align PURPA with the needs we have today,” said Commissioner Neil Chatterjee.
Three Northeastern States have signed up for a cumulative 1,200 MW of offshore wind power. On May 23, Massachusetts awarded its first offshore wind contract to Vineyard Wind for 800 MW, 100-turbine farm. It will fulfill the first half of a legal commitment, made in a 2016 energy law, to purchase 1600 MW of offshore wind. Rhode Island has contracted for 400 MW, 50-turbine project with Deepwater Wind. Both wind farms will be built in the Wind Energy Area,164,750 acres of federal waters between Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard designated for wind development. New Jersey has passed a new law that set a 3,500 MW offshore wind goal for the state. More details.
Advanced Energy Networking Reception will be held at CLEAResult offices in downtown Detroit on Monday, June 11 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. This free event is hosted by Advancing Women in Energy (AWE) and the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC). There will be plenty of time for networking and a brief program. Cocktails and light appetizers will be served. RSVP Here
“Minimize Financial Risks and Maximize Clean Energy Benefits for Public Sector Institutions,” a free webinar, will be hosted by Michigan Energy Options on June 15 at 10:00 am. The hour-long presentation will cover two innovative solutions in practice in other states: “Public Purpose Energy Services Company” model and “community-based solar”. Register at: http://michiganenergyoptions.org/webinar/
Electric Vehicle Ride and Drive will be held on June 20, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm at Michigan Agency for Energy, 109 W. Saginaw Hwy., Lansing. Hosted by Midwest Evolve and Greater Lansing Area Clean Cities. Come test drive an EV and hear from Michigan Electric Auto Assoc. members about their experiences.
Michigan Clean Energy Conference & Expo will be held by the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities in Traverse City on June 21-23. From a Thursday night kick-off solstice party, to Friday’s Clean Energy Conference, to Saturday’s Energy Expo at NMC, there will be something for everyone. More details
Electric Vehicle Ride & Drive will be held on June 23, 12-5 pm at Northwestern Michigan College’s AeroPark Campus, 2600 AeroPark Dr, Traverse City. Stop by during the Michigan Clean Energy Expo and take a ride in some hybrid and electric vehicles. Visit www.michigancleancities.org/events for details.
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