March 2017 Newsletter

2017 MEECA Annual Gala a Huge Hit!

On March 2nd, more than one hundred people gathered at MSU’s Kellogg Conference Center to enjoy MEECA’s 2017 Gala. It was a chance for members and supporters of MEECA to celebrate another year of hard work together, present awards for outstanding performance, hear from one of Michigan’s energy policy leaders, and socialize with old and new friends and colleagues from across the state.

 

The evening program featured keynote remarks by Commissioner Rachael Eubanks of the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC). Eubanks spoke about the importance of energy efficiency to Michigan’s economy, her role in financing $185 million for the Detroit LED streetlighting project, and other topics of interest to MEECA members. Also in attendance was Pat Poli, Manager of MPSC’s Energy Waste Reduction section.

 

Guests took advantage of prime networking time that began with hors d’oeuvres set to live piano music. During dinner and dessert (featuring flaming bananas foster by MSU chefs!), our generous sponsors were recognized for making the evening possible. Also, awards were presented in several categories for particularly impressive work during the previous year. Our awardees were 6 Insulation Services (Contractor of the Year), SEEL (Residential Program of the Year), Efficiency UNITED (Commercial/Industrial Program of the Year), DNV-GL (Implementation Contractor of the Year), and MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg (Public Servant of the Year). In addition, special appreciation awards were presented to MEECA board members Amanda Godward and Shelley Sullivan for their significant service.

 

Last but not least, this year’s Gala provided a great opportunity for President Roger Wiseley to formally introduce David Gard, MEECA’s new executive director.

 

The MEECA board wishes to thank all of those who attended and sponsored another successful Gala!

MEECA Welcomes New Executive Director

This month MEECA welcomes David Gard as its new Executive Director. President Roger Wiseley formally introduced David to the Association’s members, allies and supporters at the Annual Gala on March 2nd. Asked about attending the Gala on only his second day on the job, Gard said, “It was a terrific way for me to hit the ground at full speed.” He added, “I enjoyed getting to talk with so many of the people I’ll be working with and representing. It was impressive to see such a large turnout for the Gala this year.”

 

Gard brings significant experience working on state energy issues. As the director of the Michigan Environmental Council’s energy program for more than a decade, he advocated for legislation in 2008 that launched Michigan’s utility Energy Optimization (now Energy Waste Reduction) programs. An important part of his role at MEECA, in partnership with the board and membership, will be to make a strong case in Lansing for maintaining the best elements of these programs, and making them stronger where possible. He also engages in the statewide energy arena in a voluntary capacity as a board member of the non-profit (and MEECA member) Michigan Energy Options.

 

In addition to his policy-related experience, Gard’s professional background includes previous work as a design engineer in the logistics industry preceded by four years in the U.S. Navy. He holds Masters’ degrees in business and resource policy, and a B.S. in mechanical engineering.

 

The board of directors made the decision to hire Gard after conducting a careful search that lasted several months. Wiseley commented, “David makes an excellent addition to the MEECA team. He has over ten years of experience pushing for energy efficiency. The contacts he brings are invaluable and will help MEECA succeed in carrying our message to policy makers. This is especially important as the new EWR and IRP requirements are rolled out.”

 

Reflecting on his new role, Gard said, “I am absolutely convinced that efficiency should be the foundation of Michigan’s long-term energy strategy. MEECA is in a great position to speak with authority on these issues. I can’t wait to help educate decision-makers about the work that MEECA members do every day to help their customers save money, create good-paying jobs, and improve building spaces across Michigan where people live and work.”

 

David looks forward to engaging with MEECA members in the coming weeks and months. Going forward, he welcomes your emails and phone calls at david@meeca.info and 517-896-2960.

Summer Golf Outing in the Works

Following the success of the Annual Gala early this month, there have been calls for MEECA to host a summertime fundraising and networking event. In response, the Board of Directors embraced the idea of organizing a golf outing for either June or July.

 

The Executive Director and Board are in the early stages of planning this event. So, it’s the perfect time for MEECA members to weigh in. If you have a favorite golf course to recommend, or want us to schedule around your family vacation, we want to hear from you! And, of course let us know if you’d be willing to help us organize or advertise the event. We welcome all creative suggestions for making the MEECA Summer Golf Outing a smashing success! Stay tuned for more details.

 

To get engaged, contact Executive Director David Gard at david@meeca.info or 517-896-2960.

Michigan Policy Update

Implementing the 2016 Energy Legislation

The Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE) and the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) recently launched a new web page with information on implementing Michigan’s new energy laws, Public Acts 341 and 342 of 2016. These laws will take effect on April 20 and stakeholder tables have been organized to address a number of provisions.

 

MEECA is already engaged in these discussions. One is focused on the integrated resource plans (IRP) that regulated utilities must file with MPSC for review and approval. Agency staff will be gathering input through June 2017 on proper IRP modeling parameters and assumptions. They will also seek input on an updated statewide Energy Waste Reduction (EWR) Potential Study. MEECA will comment on the proper design of this study.

 

MEECA will also remain involved in the ongoing EWR Collaborative (formerly EO Collaborative) that considers a variety of issues related to utility efficiency programs. On-bill financing is yet another issue of interest to MEECA members that we will be following in Lansing.

 

If you have specific suggestions about how the new legislative provisions should be implemented, or would like more information, please contact Executive Director David Gard at david@meeca.info or 517-896-2960.

 

Current Bills in the State Legislature

On March 15th, the Michigan House passed HB 4080 by a vote of 106-2. Introduced by Rep. Beth Griffin, it extends to local and intermediate school districts the option of using lease purchase agreements for energy efficiency projects. Currently only local units of government (counties, cities, villages, and townships) have this ability. MEECA is closely following the bill as it heads to the Senate Committee on Local Government. Click here for a detailed summary of HB 4080 (H-1).

 

MPSC Appointments

Gov. Snyder announced the appointments of new terms on the Michigan Public Service Commission. Chairman Talberg will serve a term expiring July 2, 2021 and Commissioner Saari will serve a term expiring July 2, 2019. The Governor also reappointed Rachael Eubanks who will serve a six-year term expiring July 2, 2023. Earlier this month, Commissioner Eubanks delivered the keynote address at the MEECA Annual Gala.

Upcoming Professional Events

The Michigan Commercial & Industrial Energy Conference, hosted by Efficiency UNITED, provides the opportunity for business customers, contractors and industry experts to network and learn from one another. The Conference will meet in two separate locations—Upper Peninsula, Island Resort & Casino on Wednesday, April 5, and Lower Peninsula, FireKeepers Casino Hotel on Wednesday, April 12.

 

The 2017 Energy Summit will be on Wednesday, April 19 at the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids. Its purpose is to celebrate the 2016 Michigan Battle of the Buildings biggest losers. The full day event welcomes leading building owners and operators from across the state of Michigan. Network with peers, visit with exhibitors and hear from panelists on their approach to energy efficiency.

 

The Michigan Geothermal Energy Association's Annual Conference on Wednesday and Thursday, April 26-27 at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mt. Pleasant. The annual meeting and dinner, featuring Trevor Lauer—President and Chief Operating Office of DTE Electric—will be Wednesday evening April 26th, and the Conference on Thursday Morning April 27th. To register, contact Larry Kaufman at energyczar@sbcglobal.net or 248-396-8231.

 

Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council’s 5th Annual Member Meeting in East Lansing on Wednesday, April 26. This full-day conference provides attendees an opportunity to network, learn about innovations in advanced energy, and get an overview of the latest policy developments. There will be several break-out panels throughout the day and a keynote speaker(s).

 

The 2017 Energy Efficiency Conference & Exhibition, hosted by DTE Energy and The Engineering Society of Detroit, will be held on Tuesday, May 9 at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. In its 20th year, this conference, the only one of its kind in Michigan, is designed to educate small-to-large commercial and industrial businesses on energy technology, products, and services that will assist them in successful energy management.

Other Announcements

Nominations for the 2017 Governor's Energy Excellence Awards will be open until March 31. These are limited to energy efficiency projects that were completed during the 2016 calendar year.