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Energy Gala Lights Up

Monday night the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council had its first annual "Made in Michigan" Gala in East Lansing. It was very well attended by industry and governmental officials. It was a rare sight to see all three Michigan Public Service Commissioners, Sally Talberg, Greg White, and John Quackenbush, sitting at one table, together with Dan Wyant of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Steve Bakkal from the MEDC Energy Office at one table.

The speaker for evening was Sun Edison founder, Jigar Shah, who gave a fascinating talk on energy innovation opportunities. He had some remarkable statistics on solar energy, including the fact that twenty-five percent of all energy installations last year worldwide were solar. This was an approximate $100 Billion in investment. The average size of the solar installations was 35 kW. If each project was this size (which they were not), at $100,000 per 35 kW size project that would be the equivalent of one million installations.

The highlight of the evening's program (besides the excellent carrot cake) was the naming of various awards. All were well deserved. The Michigan Business of the Year award went to VenTower. The Emerging Business of the Year was GreenLancer, which was also recognized for its success at the recent SPI meeting in Chicago. The Employer of the Year was Patriot Solar Group. And the Policymakers of the Year were Commissioner John Quackenbush and Steve Bakkal.  The Michigan Energy Innovator Hall of Fame received two new inductees:  Stanford Ovshinsky and Rich VanderVeen.

The networking opportunities were great and the conversations at dinner were even better.  The Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council looks like it is on the right track to be the principal advocacy group for Michigan's energy industry.

© 2020 Varnum LLP


About this Author

Bruce Goodman, Environmental lawyer, Varnum

Bruce practices energy law, environmental law, and construction law. His energy background includes negotiating electric power sales agreements (both for wholesale sellers of energy and for retail consumers of energy) state electric rate cases, developing municipal energy tariffs, and energy project structuring and permitting. For years, he published a blog focused on alternative energy developments in Michigan. Most recently he has been involved in various alternative energy projects, including wind energy, biofuels and solar projects.

His environmental experience includes air...