Over 130 persons attended the GLREA Annual Meeting on Dec. 8 in Ypsilanti. Dave Strenski started the day talking about his approach to educating people on solar in Ypsilanti (hear presentation & see slides at:https://youtu.be/dUybW_Xo8gU). Julie Baldwin, MPSC, discussed the distributed energy tariff that DTE has proposed. Ken Zebarah of Harvest Energy moderated the afternoon panel session of Charles Gould, Dave Shiflett, Teresa Hatcher and Jim Harrison, all experts in their field of energy. The meeting finished up with a presentation and discussion by Patti Poppe, CEO of Consumers Energy. She shared how she is transitioning Consumers from a traditional utility to one that embraces renewable energy.
Rep. Tom Barrett received a Leadership Award for sponsoring bills that exempted solar systems from increasing a homeowner’s property tax assessment. A Business Leadership Award recognized Patti Poppe’s efforts to transition Consumers Energy from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Mark Hagerty, Michigan Solar Solutions and Jeremy Zinn, Oak Electric received a Business Leadership Award for going the extra mile to make the Ann Arbor Solar Club project a success. Hastings Charter Township and Supervisor Jim Brown received an Exemplary Project Award for their solar-powered recycling project. Ecology Center and Mott Foundation received Exemplary Project Awards for the “My Solar School Contest”.
Photo awards were won by Donna & Lee Andre (Individual Winner), Tom DelGiorno (Individual Runner Up), CMS Enterprises (Business Winner), and Homeland Solar (Business Runner Up). Mark Clevey, Dennis Marvin, Kendal Kuneman, and Diane VanBuren were elected to three-year terms on the GLREA Board of Directors.
Michigan Senate approved HB 5143 and HB 5680 on votes of 38 to 0, but Gov. Snyder vetoed the bills. House Bill 5143 addresses commercial or industrial applications and the Governor had technical issues with the bill, e.g. the bill would have treated alternative energy property installed before the effective date of the bill differently from alternative energy property installed after the bill. HB 5680, which applies to residential applications, adds alternative energy systems to the list of repairs and household upgrades that are not considered when determining the true cash value of a property for assessment purposes. The Governor indicated that bill was acceptable. However, HB 5680 was tie-barred to HB 5143 and a veto of one bill means both are not approved.
Liesl Clark, President of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council and long-time champion of renewable energy, has been named by Gov. Witmer to head the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality.
Home Builder Bill Decker has been in business since 1981 and believes in net-zero energy homes. A recent report from the Rocky Mountain Institute shows net-zero energy houses can make financial sense in much of the Midwest. In Detroit, Net-Zero pays for itself in 9 years. Decker is starting to use air-source heat pumps because newer models work well in below-freezing temperatures. Advances in heat pumps and lower costs for rooftop solar are making net-zero energy homes affordable. More details.
Harvest Energy Solutions has become the first provider of solar energy to a utility in Lenawee County. Stateline Farms, Gerken Paving, and Harvest Solar Lenawee are 1 MW each and the power generated will be sold to Midwest Energy & Communications (MEC). Harvest partnered with MEC when Wolverine Power offered to purchase solar energy under a program through their member-owned cooperatives. More details.
Washtenaw County Environmental Council led by County Commissioner Michele Detrick will address environmental and energy issues from a regional perspective. In December, Mark Clevey, GLREA VP and Ann Arbor Energy Commission Vice Chairperson, was appointed to the new council. Mark’s goals will be to help local communities become solar development ready, leverage the buying power of consumers, and help communities install solar energy on buildings to improve their capabilities to address emergencies.
Maersk, the world’s biggest shipping company, wants to slash its carbon emissions to zero by 2050 by developing a new kind of container ship. The shipping industry burns huge quantities of heavy fuel oil and accounts for roughly 2% to 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Maersk has invested $1 billion over the past four years in energy efficient technology, but believes the next 5 to 10 years will be crucial to carrying out the research and development needed to get environmentally friendly container ships on the seas by 2030. More details.
NASA is investigating the integration of nanoelectrofuel (NEF) flow batteries with rim-driven electric motors to produce a safe, clean and quiet propulsion system for aircraft. NEF flow batteries may be able to achieve one-and-one-half times the energy density of lithium-ion batteries at one-half the cost. More details.
California Building Standards Commission has approved a new rule starting in 2020 that requires all new homes built in the state to include solar panels. As the first of its kind in the US, the new rule includes an incentive for homeowners to add a high-capacity battery. The California Energy Commission first endorsed the solar panel rule in May as part of California’s Green Building Standards Code. The Building Standards Commission has now added the requirement with a unanimous vote. Homeowners will have the option of buying the panels outright, leasing them or taking part in a power purchase agreement with the home builder. More details.
“Surviving a Catastrophic Power Outage”, a Homeland Security report, calls for creation of micro-grids as part of a larger strategy to deal with a catastrophic power failure. Issued by the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, the report looked at the nation’s readiness to withstand a massive power outage from a cyberattack or other disaster. More details.
Scottish Wind Power produced more than 100% of the National Grid electric requirement for 20 of 30 days in November. Powering 109% set a new record for wind generation in Scotland. More details.
A Taste of Parker Village will be held on Jan. 17th, 6-8 pm at Tech Town, 440 Burroughs St., Detroit. The event will reveal plans for the third solar installation, “A Solar Powered Cafe”, on the Parker Village campus. Some of the Café’s signature dishes will be served by Chef Shane. The Q&A and Tasting Session will include Parker Village CEO Juan Shannon, Rev. Joan Ross, North End Woodward Community Coalition, Jackson Koeppel of Soulardarity, Ali Dirul of Ryter, Cooperative Industries (RCI) and Architectural Renderings by Paul Bierman-Lytle of SEAS Corporation| AIA. Tickets are available through Eventbrite for $20 and include a buffet style meal. More details.
2019 Michigan Climate Action Summit will be held by the Michigan Climate Action Network at the Eberhard Center in Grand Rapids on Feb. 21, 9am-5pm. The Summit will bring together climate advocates, activists, and policymakers to set a bold new agenda for Michigan to move forward on climate. More details.
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