Energy & Climate

Alternative Energy and Clean Technology, Climate Strategy and Carbon Policy are the two areas of focus amongst Energy and Climate research area.

Clean Technology (cleantech) products and services improve operational performance, productivity, and/or efficiency while reducing costs, inputs, energy consumption, waste, or pollution. Cleantech business models offer competitive returns for investors and customers while providing solutions to global challenges. The concept of cleantech embraces a diverse range of products, services, and processes across industry verticals that are inherently designed to,

  • Provide superior performance at lower costs
  • Reduce or eliminate negative ecological impact
  • Improve the productive and responsible use of natural resources

One of the most significant areas of cleantech products and investments involves alternative energy. Alternative energy is energy derived from sources that cause minimal harm to the environment, are carbon-neutral, and do not deplete the Earth’s natural resources. Examples of alternative energy sources include wind, solar thermal, photovoltaics, geothermal, and certain forms of hydro.

Climate change has become an increasingly visible business concern.  Supplier relationships, raw material procurement, shipping and transportation costs and the ultimate pricing of goods and services will all be affected.  Regulations are being developed that alter the price of carbon at all levels of the local and global economies, and more regulations are on the horizon.  New rules will affect energy pricing and availability, creating a ripple effect throughout  entire value chains.

The successful  business model will view climate change as a market transition, in the form of both systemic risksthat cut across the entire economy and regulatory, legal, physical, and reputational risks that hit at the sector, industry, and company-specific levels.

Ross MAP team with two Erb students featured in national Chile news for work on solar project

July 19, 2016

Ross-MAP-ChileA Michigan Ross MAP team was featured in EMOL Economy for their work on a solar research project with The Chilean Association of Solar Energy (Acesol) this spring. The Ross students on the team include Nick Barrett (Erb MBA/MS ’18), Andrew Dabrowski (MBA ’17), Siddhartha Deo (MBA ’17), Shoaib Rahman (Erb MBA/MS ’17), and Christopher Selle (MBA ’17).

Read more about their project in the below English translated article.

A University of Michigan study calls to assess the residential solar generation in Chile.
The Chilean Association of Solar Energy commissioned the research project, which conducted a market analysis of residential photovoltaic energy, and concluded it needs a greater economic incentive.

SANTIAGO. – The Chilean Association of Solar Energy (Acesol), through a study called Ross MAP conducted by graduate students at the University of Michigan, achieved the first step in its goal to assess the country’s solar photovoltaic distributed generation.

Through this project, the labor union promoting solar development is seeking all positive externalities, stemming from the use of this renewable energy, to be considered; as well as higher incentives through public policy aiming at fostering its widespread use.

So far, the net billing system has had little effect on increasing the number of installed residential photovoltaic systems.

According to data from the Ministry of Energy, there were 192 installed systems registered up to April, equivalent to 2.97 MW, which is still a low figure when considering the country’s solar energy potential.

Based on several international analysis and evaluations about photovoltaic distributed generation, the Ross MAP Study concluded that a detailed investigation is needed to determine the true value of the solar distributed generation in our country, which Acesol has formally requested to the Ministry of Energy authorities.

Ross MAP compares 16 international studies considering aspects such as power grid capacity, power matrix security, environmental and energy costs.

Thirteen of those studies indicate that the rate should cancel more than what the net billing currently does (it currently pays approximately 60% of the consumer’s energy usage), and in eight studies more than what the net metering currently does (it reimburses the consumer at a 1/1 ratio between energy generation and usage).

The study acknowledges that in the current conditions of the market, at an average payback time or return on investment of nine years, Chilean residential solar energy is not attractive enough to promote its widespread use. The study suggests an average payback time of five years.

Key factors to improve upon (problems to solve): Lack of financing, with existing rates of 20%, public policy favoring larger facilities, law of distributed generation that allows auto-consumption but that does not promote it, consumer perception misaligned with reality (due to misinformation) that makes the sale of the system more difficult for vendors, slow and cumbersome process of connection, and generalized reticence towards subsidies.

According to the study, two chief variables must be used in combination in order to develop the Chilean market: Firstly, changing the feed-in-tariffs, from net billing to net metering.

This wouldn’t be a subsidy for the solar industry, like some economic actors suggest. Rather, it is a call to assess and consider all positive externalities of solar energy. In addition to the already mentioned, the positive effects on the labor arena “should be assessed and quantified.”

Secondly, developing a specific financing system for the solar distributive generation industry. One option would be to include it in the mortgage payment. Another option would be to create financial instruments for the leasing of solar systems.

In terms of the process of connection, which was also covered in the study, the Ministry of Energy is currently modifying regulation pertaining to Law 20.571, which expedites and simplifies small-scale connections. According to Acesol, this is a step in the right direction.


This news article was originally written by EMOL Economy on June 28, 2016. The original story can be found in Spanish here (pdf). The below English translation has been approved to be republished by EMOL.

New podcast from Faculty Director, Joe Arvai on Michigan Radio

May 17, 2016

As a follow-up to Erb Faculty Director, Joe Arvai’s publication in Nature Climate Change, Michigan Radio talks with Joe about his recent research which attempts to understand exactly what it takes to get people to care about climate change. This study was co-authored with Jing Shi, Vivianne H.M. Visschers and Michael Siegrist and is published in Nature Climate Change (April 2016.)

What they found seems to refute the popular line of thinking that culture is the biggest factor in whether we care and are willing to do something about climate change.

Joe Arvai is the Max McGraw Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the School of Natural Resources and he directs the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise. Arvai tells us that while culture plays a role, it doesn’t appear to be the biggest factor.  Listen to the podcast .pdf link

Erb Faculty Director Interviewed by Bloomberg Radio

April 14, 2015

Erb Faculty Director, Andy Hoffman was interviewed by Kathleen Hays and Vonnie Quinn on Hays Advantage about “why people reject climate change” while speaking at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Conference on April 13, 2015. Listen to the interview on “Why People Reject Climate Change” (audio mp3)

Michigan Energy Futures II Conference Session Summary

January 14, 2015

9:15-9:30 a.m.: Welcome
• Andrew Hoffman, Director, Erb Institute, Ross School of Business/SNRE, University of Michigan

The conference opened with an introduction by Hoffman, Director of the Erb Institute and Holcim (U.S.) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise. He discussed the increasing salience of energy issues on campus, and the role that business schools can and should play in the analysis and discussion of the intersection between business models and broader societal objectives with respect to the electricity sector and its customers. Professor Hoffman asserted that by hosting gatherings like this (the third in a string of conferences focused on shifts in the energy markets) the Erb Institute was expanding the vision of the role of an institute at a university.

Session “Visioning the Future”
• Tom Catania, Erb Institute, Ross School of Business

Catania, former Vice President of Government Relations at Whirlpool Corporation and the Erb Institute’s first Executive-in-Residence, thought it appropriate to open our conversation in the university setting with some reflections from a famous philosopher, former New York Yankees catcher and manager Yogi Berra. The “Yogiism” deemed most appropriate for a discussion of Michigan’s energy future was “the future ain’t what it used to be.”

Catania observed that the challenges the power sector is currently facing, and the pace at which the future is mingling with the present and destroying the past, are absolutely amazing. Markets are moving much faster than the regulatory system is designed to accommodate, and many things that were on the near- to mid-term horizon last year are already upon us. When a utility was thinking about its future 30 to 40 years ago, it worried about demand trends and how to get assets in place to meet ever-rising demand. Future planning is now much more complicated; none of the usual political complexities associated with allocating costs among different parts of the rate base are any simpler, and the process is filled with new actors and the requirement to integrate new sources of energy into the grid in real time. The challenge is to ensure that the regulatory process keeps pace with the trifecta of accelerating changes in technology, changing societal expectations about energy generation and its impact, and rapidly evolving utility business models in response to both technology and regulation.

In the end, Catania invited the audience to share expectations for the event. In response, videographer Peter Sinclair noted that energy technology is changing in a way similar to the advent of the Internet or cellphone technology. He asserted that our current energy infrastructure will be eaten up by new technologies (including solar photovoltaics and other forms of renewable energy and energy efficiency) and called conference participants to action, asking “What is the plan?” According to Sinclair, such technology is coming whether we are ready or not, so we have to choose between riding the wave and benefiting from it, or finding ourselves in deep trouble related to infrastructure in five to 10 years.

9:45-10 a.m.: Introduction of Janet McCabe
• Dennis Dobbs, Vice President of Generation Engineering and Services, Consumers Energy

Dobbs introduced McCabe, who gave the keynote speech at the Michigan Energy Futures Conference. He asked the audience if they remembered where they were on Monday, June 2, 2014, the day that the EPA issued the proposed rule to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants — the Clean Power Plan. For Dobbs, like many in the energy industry, this day was a monumental event, comparable to the day that JFK was assassinated or the birth of a child.

Businesses, utilities and government bodies are still working to decipher and predict the implications of the Clean Power Plan for themselves, their customers, the state of Michigan and the nation. Dobbs thanked the University of Michigan for hosting this important dialogue, which will directly impact the state’s energy industry as it continues to advance and create 21st-century energy infrastructure.

Dobbs urged McCabe to share her perspective on the Clean Power Plan and its intended implications, both local and national. He praised the EPA for doing a good job of reaching out to stakeholders, both before and after releasing the rule, and thanked them for the flexibility they granted the states in building out a plan that works best for utilities and states. “An unprecedented rule like this requires unprecedented action,” stated Dobbs, who went on to explain the ways in which Michigan stakeholders have already started to collaborate to understand how the rule will affect reliability, affordability and the environment in Michigan.

He urged regulators to work with utilities to create plans and policies that withstand legal challenges and provide the certainty needed for utilities to operate and profit, explained the efforts that Consumers Energy has already taken to reduce emissions 35 percent in the next few years and highlighted the negative effects that further acceleration could have on business. Dobbs acknowledged that Consumers might not agree with every aspect of the Clean Power Plan, but thanked the EPA for putting forth a proposed rule and proactively seeking feedback from stakeholders. He was encouraged by the commitment to working together to find a path forward for Michigan and the nation’s health, prosperity and safety.

10-10:45 a.m.: Opening Keynote and Dialogue
• Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator, Office for Air and Radiation, EPA

As Acting Assistant Administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, McCabe is responsible for leading the agency’s implementation of the Clean Power Plan. The draft rule was released on June 2, 2014, under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act; the comment period was extended until Dec. 1, 2014.

During the Michigan Energy Futures keynote, McCabe emphasized the agency’s desire for as much specificity as possible in submitted comments. “The more information we get,” she stated, “the more we can figure out if and what we need to adjust.” She acknowledged that the goals, as currently set out, are going to be a challenge for certain stakeholders, but made clear the EPA’s dedication to working with stakeholders to design a rule that does not have unintended consequences for utilities, consumers or the grid.

The proposed rule draws on actions that are already being taken. It is an unusual rule, in part because of the fact that President Obama instructed the EPA to go out and talk to people before writing the rule, rather than writing in isolation and seeking feedback afterwards. Dobbs’ comments indicate that this approach has been favorably received by the energy industry.

McCabe remarked on some of the more common questions and feedback the EPA has received during the public comment period, including regarding the 2012 rule start date, ability to count pre-2012 reduction activities, biomass, renewable energy standards, how states will write and enforce plans, and the effect of the plan on energy prices and jobs. These are all elements that the EPA is committed to working through. The EPA, which already has received 700,000 comments, is expecting at least a million, in addition to thousands of pages of technical and legal arguments. Despite these challenges, the EPA is focused on getting the final rule out by June 2015: “The threat of climate change compels us to move quickly,” asserted McCabe.

She expressed confidence that state air-quality directors and commissioners will be able to develop effective plans, though she noted that it would involve a significant effort to bring together the various stakeholders.

11 a.m.-12:15 p.m., Panel I: Energy Supplies in Transition
• Mark Barteau, U-M Energy Institute Director
• John DiDonato , Vice President of Development, NextEra Energy Resources
• Robin Newmark, Associate Lab Director, Energy Analysis and Decision Support, National Renewable Energy Lab
• Gregory Ioanidis, President, ITC Michigan
• Dennis Dobbs, Vice President of Generation Engineering and Services, Consumers Energy

This panel explored which energy resources will be integral to meeting the demand of future generations and the expectations of customers, business, industry and investors. How will future federal regulatory action and carbon concerns influence the energy mix and deployment of energy resources? How big of a challenge will it be to integrate variable energy resources? What energy resources will power Michigan in 2025?

Barteau kicked off the panel by discussing the aspects of energy that resonated most with the consumer as reflected in the Energy Institute’s newly minted Energy Survey. They included environmental friendliness, affordability, and reliability.

Dobbs began his section by asking the audience to reflect on three hypothetical scenarios that could potentially occur in the near-to-medium term. The first was a heat-wave scenario where consumers faced unreliable electricity; the second was a scenario of increasing electricity prices where families might have to choose between paying their energy bills and other necessities; the third was a scenario where there is stable, low-cost electricity but a degrading environment and unpredictable weather. Dobbs claimed that any of these scenarios could be imminent, and argued that our greatest challenge is not to promote one scenario but rather to manage for all three by maintaining a balance between energy that is affordable, reliable, and clean.

He closed by requesting that the audience learn, get involved and come together to help build a comprehensive energy program for Michigan that “prioritizes sustainable energy and maintains balance.”

Next, the audience was asked the following question: “Which source of electricity has the lowest price for new generation in the U.S.: coal, geothermal, wind or solar?” The answer was wind.

This segued nicely into Newmark’s presentation. Using detailed technical slides, she clearly showed how the cost for wind and solar are reaching grid parity, while deployment has skyrocketed and coal reliance has dropped by 10 percent over the past few years. She cautioned, however, that in order to change the system, we need to understand it in totality.

Newmark stated that the current transformation is causing stress on the system — both business- and policy-wise. She argued that innovations like a “smart water” U.S. electric system would make a tremendous impact on resource use and could be very effective, claiming that Michigan is already drawing more water from the ground than falls each year in rain, and that outlier extreme-weather events are becoming more common.

She argued for disaster recovery plans that combine renewables and energy efficiency, describing a future where renewables are combined with microgrids that isolate themselves when the grid goes down; a future where the country is operating at 80 percent renewables by 2050. Newmark warned that this type of future comes with cost and integration challenges, and noted that the optimal portfolio for any given state will look different. Michigan, for example, should move towards a combination of wind, natural gas and biofuel.

DiDonato spoke next, beginning by asking the audience the following question: “A year contains 8,760 hours. Given average wind speeds, during what percentage of hours will a wind farm in Michigan deliver some energy to the grid?” He asserted that wind delivers energy to the grid 85 percent of the time; however, wind does not operate 40 percent of the time. He explained the importance of these statistics for a company like NextEra, which has the largest portfolio of wind in the U.S. (about 10,000 megawatts), with $500 million of it from Michigan.

He believes that NextEra is very well positioned for the future of energy supplies, claiming that the energy resources which will be required to satisfy investors and customers and meet future demand will look a lot like the company’s current portfolio. DiDonato listed other important factors in determining the future of U.S. power supplies: water, air-cooling demands, and necessity of low-carbon strategies. He spoke to customer and investor demand for clean tech and advancements in low tech, which are allowing windmills to hit their peak more easily, and . argued that regulations and economics are tailwinds, pushing such developments along. The retirement of low-cost and zero-emission nuclear, on the other hand, is a significant headwind making it harder to attain carbon reductions, a point addressed in greater specificity during the luncheon keynote by former Indiana Senator Evan Bayh. Contrary to popular opinion, DiDonato argued that integration is not a very large challenge for renewables — especially in regions that are large and balanced.

DiDonato closed by predicting that Michigan will switch from coal to natural gas and may have cleaner coal and new nuclear permits. In order to comply with the EPA’s Regulation 111(d), however, he argued that Michigan needs nuclear.

The final speaker was Ioanidis, who began by giving an overview of ITC Michigan, an independent transmission company operating in the wholesale marketplace. According to Ioanidis, ITC is inherently in the business of planning for the needs of the grid. As such, it needs to have a comprehensive understanding of how all factors impact energy consumption and generation.

The power of a network, he argued, is that there are multiple paths to a source in sync, and while transmission only makes up about 10 percent of the national electricity bill, it’s a much larger part of the country’s overall energy infrastructure. As such, reliability is a huge issue for electricity transmission. As a state “that builds stuff,” Ioanidis stated that Michigan cannot tolerate outages.

Ioanidis spoke to the importance of security, highlighting grid redundancy and reliability as the best guarantees of energy security. Reliable transmission is essential for successful Renewable Portfolio Standard implementation, mandatory for microgrids, and enhances the competitiveness of wholesale markets. No matter what shape the future of energy takes, transmission is central to the discussion.

12:30-1:45 p.m.: Lunch and Keynote

• Ross Dean Alison Davis-Blake
• Former Indiana Senator Evan Bayh

Davis-Blake welcomed the conference attendees to Ross, whose mission is to develop leaders who make a positive difference in the world. She defined that positive difference in three ways:
1. Making an economic profit.
2. Creating great places to work.
3. Creating businesses that are great neighbors.

She noted that no problem is purely technical, but also political and managerial. With that, she welcomed Bayh.

The Democrat and former Indiana governor is the co-chair, with former Republican Senator Judd Gregg, of Nuclear Matters. He discussed the benefits of nuclear energy as a reliable, carbon-free energy source, particularly in light of the new challenges that the energy sector faces in cutting carbon emissions. Michigan relies on nuclear for 30 percent of its power. Of non-carbon sources, it comprises 94 percent of electricity generation.

The U.S. relies on nuclear for 20 percent of its power. Bayh praised the diverse portfolio of American energy sources, noting that “diversity is a good thing” because it breeds reliability. He also spoke of the reliability of nuclear power specifically, as well as its contribution to carbon-free energy sources in the U.S., contributing 63 percent of the nation’s carbon-free energy.

The EPA is striving to bring emissions down to levels seen 10 years ago within the next five to 10 years. Because nuclear contributes greatly to carbon-free energy, if it was cut from the energy portfolio, it would be exceedingly difficult for the U.S. to meet EPA admissions objectives, as well as economically disruptive. Germany is mothballing its nuclear plants, leading the country to be dependent on Russia for much of its energy. That also had the effect of driving up the residential price of energy and carbon emissions in the short-to-medium term. If we were to do the same here, it would have a significant impact on the economy, environment and energy affordability.

Bayh addressed the impacts that anemic economic growth have had on the energy industry. First, slow growth has led to less energy use. Second, natural gas has enjoyed a major revival, providing energy at a lower cost with relatively lower carbon emissions (though larger than nuclear). However, this carries the risk of creating an overreliance on natural gas as an energy source.

Finally, Bayh noted that in the spot market pricing system, the value of reliability and low carbon emissions are not considered. He also questioned whether federal tax credits for renewable energy like wind and solar are unnecessarily favoring one form of zero-emission energy at the expense of another in nuclear. Bayh believes that we have to revisit the rules to assure they are equal for all forms of carbon-free generation.

He concluded, “There is no way we will accomplish our climate change goals if we abruptly take a significant portion of carbon-free energy out of the market.” Put simply, if the U.S. wants carbon-free sources, we must be agnostic about the source of that energy.

1:45-3 p.m., Panel II: Changing Utility: Business Model

Moderator: Liesl Eichler Clark from 5 Lakes Energy
• John Caldwell, Director of Economics at Edison Electric Institute
• Lisa Frantzis, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development at Advanced Energy Economy
• Ron Binz, principal at Public Policy Consulting

Caldwell opened the discussion by stating that in his opinion there will be several business models, based on a variety of key drivers. The first driver is reliability: America has crumbling infrastructure, there have been historically significant storms recently and reliability in our digitized age is much more important to customers than ever. The second driver, our wish to have cleaner energy, is seen on both legislative and regulatory levels.
Caldwell does not consider price to be a driver because, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis consumer expenditures survey, average households’ nominal spending on electricity hasn’t increased since 1959. Nor does he believe that customers’ desire to have more control over their bills via mobile applications is a driver. Caldwell believes that “one of the values of electricity, one piece of the brand of electricity, is that customers don’t have to think too much about it,” and that this is how it should remain in the future. Caldwell also does not consider the slow growth of electricity sales to be a driver.

In the future, Caldwell sees a variety of alternative business models:
1. A natural gas-inspired model, which he called the “business-as-usual model.” Other ancillary services, such as power storage and competitive non-utility generation sources, will be layered on top.
2. A market-based model: Caldwell expressed doubts that providing subsidies, such as net metering or feed-in tariffs, provides a viable longer-term model. As an example, he cited Germany’s feed-in tariffs, which at the end of the day have resulted in a misallocation of resources.
3. A network utilities model, which he considers to have several different roles. One is as a market enabler, allowing for two-way power flows. Another is transaction broker, similar to a network market. Two other roles that utilities could consider are working on the other side of the meter with distributed generation providers, financing and consulting, or working on customers’ premises as a solution integrator.

Frantzis started her talk by noting that core grid attributes that utilities used to provide (universal access, safety, reliability and affordability) are changing. Instead, new desired attributes have emerged — environmental sustainability, resilience, adaptability/flexibility, greater customer control and more service options. There are additional pressures on utilities: a need to replace or renew aging infrastructure (rising costs), minimal to declining load growth (falling revenues), variable renewable energy integration (wholesale and retail), cyber and data security, as well as regulatory changes. These transformations are inevitable.
She noted that three states — Massachusetts, Hawaii, and New York — are on the forefront of exploring new business models. Massachusetts came up with “grid modernization,” which includes three major elements: grid modernization, time-of-use rates, and incorporation of electric vehicles. Hawaii has a lot of distributed generation, especially with solar coming on the grid. Changes are occurring to align Hawaiian Electric Company’s business model with customers’ expectations and state policy. New York presents the most comprehensive plan on the future model for the electricity sector, emphasizing distributed energy resources (DER). According to the research conducted on New York (report available on the Advanced Energy Economy website,, there are three pillars of future industry: customer products and services, the network infrastructure and operational model, and the regulatory framework. The New York vision is that utilities no longer provide basic services but rather value-added services. And in New York, utilities see performance-oriented regulatory framework as an opportunity to make money. Currently, utilities are measured and rewarded on the ability to maintain reliability, safety and adequate service. In the future, utilities should be measured by outcomes that go beyond these metrics.
Still, six key questions should be addressed: When should advanced metering functionality be part of basic service and when should it be a value-added service? When should data access be free and when should there be a charge, and to whom? Who should be allowed to own DER and under what circumstances? What should performance metrics look like? Should incentives be symmetrical? How do we transition to outcomes-based ratemaking regulation?
In addressing the question of new business models, Ron Binz, principal at Public Policy Consulting and former Chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, mentioned a book by Peter Fox-Penner called Smart Power, in which he predicted several directions in which utilities can evolve. One is called a “smart integrator,” the other is “energy services utility.” Binz calculates that these changes were not evident a year ago. Some people have called the smart grid the Energy Internet — an application of IT technologies to the grid. Binz likened the grid to an organism, with the ability to evolve in a different way than we expect. To optimize the grid, one must be just as interested in the operation of every freezer as with bigger facilities.
So what happens to the utility in this scenario? It obviously has to be that smart integrator, whose software can manage both individual refrigerators and steel plants at the same time. Every device in the grid will know what every other device is doing. The first role of this new entity is the distribution system operator, which will be able to offer services over the grid. There will be a number of brokers, who own assets, and who bundle services that come from different sources and present these bundles to customers. This is what is happening in Texas right now.
One of the issues is reconciling the differing roles of integrated utilities versus today’s disaggregated utilities, where generation is separated from other functions. Some utilities may want to get out of generation: where will that generation go, and how will it be provided? The West may establish an ISO in the next 10 years. So the prediction of Fox-Penner about two different pathways would, rather, be something in between, a hybrid of smart grid and DSO.

3-4:10 p.m., Panel III: Evolving Regulatory Frameworks

• Greg White, Michigan Public Service Commissioner
• Ron Binz, Public Policy Consultant
• Sonia Aggarwal, Director of Strategy, America’s Power Plan
• John Proos, State Senator from Michigan’s 21st District
• John Quackenbush, Chairman, Michigan Public Service Commission

The panel focused on how to keep Michigan’s energy affordable, reliable and flexible while protecting the environment. Is there a need to broadly decouple utility rate-based compensation from the traditional measure of number of electrons produced and sold? What is the future of traditional rate-of-return, cost-of-service ratemaking? What is the appropriate model to value utility performance?

Binz, former Chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, started the Utilities 2020 project to “investigate what new regulatory models would be needed to allow utilities to evolve to new business models.” He claims that “We shouldn’t be so arrogant to say we know what the model is going to become.” In Utilities 2020, all regulations should be incentive-based, driven by the belief that we need to reward the behavior we want utilities to engage in.

As an example, Hawaii is proposing rate-based rate-of-return regulation, where revenue and sales are decoupled. But the public utilities commission is complaining that nothing motivates the utility to become more efficient. They want a regulatory gauntlet of rules that the utility must follow.

Within the Utilities 2020 project, Binz had interactions with leading commissioners and utilities CEOs and found the following points in regards to the status quo:
• Not motivated to be particularly efficient as companies;
• Not happy with the confusion about climate;
• Complained that regulators did not always understand their business;
• Welcome notion of new regulatory bargain.

Aggarwal is a part of Energy Innovation, based in San Francisco and working in the U.S., China and Europe. It focuses on changing utility business models and energy markets. She also runs America’s Power Plan, a project that brings together experts in the field, focuses on the challenges and changes that are hitting the sector and makes recommendations to decision makers.

Key areas in today’s power scenario noted by Aggarwal:
• Pricing has been significantly cut to renewable sources such as solar;
• 100 million thermal batteries deployed across country;
• New competition hitting industry (retail and wholesale);
• Extreme weather events cause issues on the grid, which bring reliability and resilience into question;
• Infrastructure issues (a D+ rating);
• 111(d) and the huge environmental regulatory changes coming from D.C.;
• All happening as demand remains flat.

With these considerations, she questions if cost-of-service regulation is necessary. Furthermore, what would happen if compensation was based on performance rather than rate of capital deployment? The benefits “could be large enough from these new efficiencies, based on rewarding performance, that we could start conversations about how to share the value fairly, rather than the cost.”

Quackenbush, Chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission, said that due to 2008 legislation in Michigan, the state has been preparing for several years for goals set by the EPA, and that Michigan must look beyond 2015 and into that 10-year window extending to 2025. He notes that there is more room for renewables and that coal plant retirements are on the horizon, with replacements coming from with onshore wind or natural gas. Looking forward, there will be a large focus on energy efficiency, as it has the potential for low cost and big savings. The governor sees energy efficiency as a great resource.

He suggests rewarding performance (performance-based model) and sharing proceeds from energy. This system could be incentive-based rather than mandatory. Areas to incentivize include energy efficiency, reliability, safety and customer satisfaction.

Proos explained that the overarching issue for Michigan is certainty, and the challenge is to effectively communicate about the complex energy industry to his constituents. He explained further: “We have large goals and objectives, but the reality is that you have to do so in reasonable ways, that can be explained to the people that stand to benefit from those large goals and objectives.”

Proos stressed that Michigan, as an agricultural and manufacturing state, requires a significant, strong, reliable and affordable power source.

4:20-5:30 p.m., Panel IV: Integrating and Moving Forward

• Moderator: Tom Catania, Executive-in-Residence, Erb Institute
• Panelists: all conference speakers

The conference’s concluding session convened all conference speakers to discuss common themes from the day with an eye toward charting a path forward. Conference participants were invited to join the discussion and ask questions.

The first question, asked by Catania, centered around whether utilities are investing their money in the political arena, trying to fight the Clean Power Plan, instead of preparing themselves for a market-oriented future. Commissioner White responded, saying he believes the utilities are engaging with regulators and eager to move forward with improvements. He noted all sorts of communication that can and does occur.

Senator Proos observed, however, that in recent meetings, the only three people representing consumers were legislators. The day’s sessions marked progress in his mind, because a utility representative mentioned consumers and how they fit into the equation. Proos believes that if utilities can get the world handed to them through legislative avenues, they will fight for that. He stated that consumers want transparency, and believes that while intentions on both sides of the conversation are good, everyone wants to influence the debate in his or her best interest. This is where he believes legislators come in: “If you can’t come up with the answers in this room right now, then it is up to legislators to come up with the answers in the bill that sunsets in 2015.”

The conversation then turned to interstate collaboration and the various models that states can adopt to achieve the requirements set out in the Clean Power Act. An audience participant noted that signs point to regional collaboration being an effective and likely model, and wanted to hear more on that from the panel. The responses echoed Janet McCabe’s earlier statement about the EPA encouraging such regional collaboration to happen. Chairman Quackenbush stated that the Michigan Public Service Commission is starting to engage with other states along these lines to explore whether states could offset one another’s reductions. Sonia Aggarwal referenced FERC Order 1000, which examines the efficiencies that could come out of regional alignments.

When asked about incentive-based regulation, Ron Binz spoke to the need for transparency in the regulatory process. “Wall Street needs to understand what states are doing,” he said, “so investors understand what is at stake.” He is in favor of a system where utilities can improve their earnings by more efficient performance.

The panel was asked for its thoughts on ways to speed up the transition to renewables and increased energy efficiency. Specifically, Chairman Quackenbush was asked whether the MPSC would work on incentives to decrease infrastructure costs associated with renewables. The chairman responded, saying that he had recently visited Sandia National Laboratory and was encouraged by the research on energy storage. He is hopeful that storage costs can be brought down over time, but indicated that he did not see that being immediately possible.

Binz added that Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act will increase energy efficiency considerably because energy efficiency is a carbon reduction tool. He anticipates seeing companies that have not looked into carbon reduction using efficiency as way to deal with 111(d).

Catania brought the conference to a close by asking if the current political and regulatory systems are capable of dealing with the pace of change facing utilities as a result of rapidly changing market forces. Chairman Quackenbush answered with an emphatic “yes,” that he believes the 2015 Clean Power Act legislation will set regulatory bodies at a good pace to deal with these changes.

Binz had a slightly different message, saying that while the current system could likely get us where we need to be, it’s probably not the most economically viable way of doing it. He is in favor of enabling regulatory bodies to incentivize utilities to make the required changes.

Quackenbush responded, saying that he did not see the current regulatory system as broken, as can be illustrated by the healthy returns that utilities still enjoy. He agrees that the industry is moving in a new direction, and believes it makes a lot of sense to reevaluate where we are, where we are going and how to reshape the regulatory model to support that in a positive way.

The theme of customer transparency surfaced again, with Quackenbush reemphasizing the importance of people understanding what they are paying for. If all customers see is costs going up and they do not see value added, they will not be happy. On the other hand, if they can see why they are paying more — getting more value — they will be more accepting. A self-identified skeptic, Quackenbush wants to see the energy community asking the right questions and getting the right answers. He believes Michigan has fallen behind due to its lack of an integrated resource planning process, which he believes is integral to transparency in the regulatory process. Overall, he believes the key to success is a flexible and adaptable plan, over which the MPSC can call the shots.

Aggarwal closed the conference on a positive note, with another emphatic “yes” regarding the ability of Michigan’s regulatory structure to keep up with changing energy-market demands: If willing to work hard, today’s participants and the larger Michigan energy community “can change the tire while the car is moving.”

The conversation fostered by the second Michigan Energy Futures Conference is only the beginning. All the participants agreed that they looked forward to future conversations on the topic.

Sept 9 – Michigan Energy Futures Conference II

August 11, 2014

Transitioning to Market Models and Implementation Challenges,
Changing Regulatory Framework to Support the Utility of the Future

Bringing together national, cross-sectorial experts on the changing energy landscape, this conference explored strategies for meeting the challenges facing energy producers and regulators in providing reliable, affordable and sustainable energy supplies and services during a period of unprecedented industry transformation.

Time: 8:30am-6:30pm
Location: Ross School of Business

View the conference photos | Read summaries for each conference session

Click on individual conference video segments below:

Opening Keynote: Janet McCabe,  EPA, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation

Panel I:  Energy Supplies in Transition  with  Moderator Mark Barteau, U-M Energy Institute Director and:
  • John DiDonato , Vice President of Development, NextEra Energy Resources
  • Robin Newmark, Associate Lab Director, Energy Analysis and Decision Support, NREL
  • Gregory Ioanidis, President, ITC Michigan
  • Dennis Dobbs, Vice President of Generation Engineering and Services, Consumers Energy
  • John Caldwell, Director of Economics, Edison Electric Institute
  • Lisa Frantzis, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development, Advanced Energy Economy
  • Ron Binz, Principal, Public Policy Consulting

Panel III: Evolving Regulatory Frameworks with Moderator, Greg White, Michigan Public Service Commissioner

  • Ron Binz, (redux) former Chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission
  • Sonia Aggarwal, Director of Strategy, Energy Innovation
  • State Senator John Proos, Representing Michigan’s 21st  District
  • John Quackenbush, Chairman, Michigan Public Service Commission

Agenda | Hosts and sponsors | Speakers


Hoffman paper wins Organization and Environment best paper award

August 8, 2014

The Erb Faculty Director, Andrew Hoffman, received the Organization and Environment best paper award at the 2014 Academy of Management Conference.

“Talking past each other? Cultural framing of skeptical and convinced logics in the climate change debate.” The paper, which first appeared in Organization and Environment in March 2011, looks at the logic and arguments of the two main groups in the climate change debate and analyzes why the groups have been unable to meet eye to eye.
Read More. 

Energy 2030 Conference Speaker Profiles

March 27, 2014

Mark Barteau
Director of the University of Michigan Energy Institute and the Inaugural DTE Energy Professor of Advanced Energy Research

As director of the Energy Institute, Mark Barteau is committed to advancing the Institute’s mission to develop and integrate science, technology and policy solutions to pressing energy challenges. He previously served as the Senior Vice Provost for Research and Strategic Initiatives at the University of Delaware, where he held appointments as the Robert L. Pigford Endowed Chair of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2006. He received his BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, and his MS and PhD from Stanford. He was an NSF Post-doctoral Fellow at the Technische Universität München, before joining the University of Delaware faculty in 1982.

Dr. Barteau brings extensive experience as a researcher, inventor, academic leader, and consultant for both US and international organizations. His research focuses on chemical reactions at solid surfaces, and their applications in heterogeneous catalysis and energy processes. He currently serves on the Board on Chemical Science and Technology and previously served as the co-chair of the Chemical Sciences Roundtable of the NRC.  He serves on science advisory boards for the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at Pacific Northwest National Lab and for the National Institute of Clean and Low-Carbon Energy (NICE) China.

Dr. Barteau was named in 2008 as one of the “100 Engineers of the Modern Era” by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He is the recipient of numerous awards from AIChE, ACS, and national and international catalysis societies.

David Bell
Director of Building Science, Masco Contractor Services

As Director of Building Science for Masco Home Services, David Bell is charged with the ongoing sales management of the Environments For Living® program, a leading home building certification program for homebuilders interested in constructing comfortable, energy efficient homes. Bell’s responsibilities include management of the financial performance and strategic marketing plan, increasing awareness of, and participation in, the Environments For Living program.

Bell has more than three decades of history in the energy and construction industries. His extensive background prior to joining Masco Home Services includes experience in a variety of roles for Masco Contractor Services and the Environments For Living program, most recently as the national sales manager with oversight responsibilities for the sales of the program. Bell helped grow the Environments For Living program to include more than 130,000 homes, involving seven of the top 10 national builders. The program is recognized nationally as one of the leading building performance programs in the country.

Before joining Masco Contractor Services, Bell spent more than 20 years with Pennsylvania Power & Light with responsibilities ranging from product development and marketing to key account management. During the course of his career he developed and implemented a variety of residential marketing programs for the new construction market and helped introduce a variety of new services and products for the company.

Bell is a graduate of Kings College where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing.

Valerie Brader
Deputy Legal Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor, Executive Office of Governor Rick Snyder

Valerie Brader is Deputy Legal Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor to Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Michigan).  Her service with the administration began in September 2012, as the Chief Energy Policy Officer at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).  Previously, she was a member (partner) at Bodman PLC, practicing primarily environmental and corporate law (with a specialization in assisting new or expanding businesses, from incorporation to securing permits and tax credits).  A Rhodes Scholar and published author in both the legal and scientific presses, Brader previously worked as the career law clerk for the Hon. John Feikens of the Eastern District of Michigan, as an environmental consultant to the EPA and Department of Defense, and for Gov. Phil Batt (R-Idaho) on environmental and natural resource issues. Brader, who was the youngest person in the country to be selected to assist a federal court under the “Special Master” rule, was selected by Crain’s Detroit Business as one of the “40 under 40” in Metro Detroit and by Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly as a “rising star.”

Brader received her AB magna cum laude in government from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, has two masters degrees from the University of Oxford (an MSc in Environmental Change and Management and an MSt in Historical Studies), and a J.D. magna cum laude from Georgetown Law Center.  Brader was the first-ever recipient of the Harvard College Women’s Leadership Award and was first-runner up in the Pacific Legal Foundation’s national writing competition.  Brader currently serves as the secretary of the Women’s Caring Program, a charity dedicated to expanding early childhood education for working families, and recently completed terms as the president of the Harvard Club of Eastern Michigan and vice president of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Kateri Callahan
President, Alliance to Save Energy

Kateri Callahan brings more than 25 years of experience in policy advocacy, fundraising, coalition building, and organizational management to her position as the president of the Alliance to Save Energy, a non-government organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.  The Alliance has worked for more than thirty-five years to advance energy efficiency worldwide to achieve a healthier economy, a cleaner environment, and greater energy security.  Serving as president of the Alliance since January 2004, Callahan leads a staff of 40+; oversees a budget of approximately $8 million annually; and works with the Alliance Board of Directors, which includes Members of Congress, state and local officials and top corporate and NGO executives, to establish and oversee the core objectives and strategic plans for the organization.

Thomas F. Catania, Jr.
Executive-in-Residence, The Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise

Thomas F. Catania, Jr., Executive in Residence at the Erb Institute is the retired Vice President of Government Relations at Whirlpool Corporation, and he works to enhance the Institute’s visibility in the business community and among policymakers through written communications and by organizing meetings for executives on corporate strategies on energy and environmental issues. He also works with Erb Institute directors and faculty to create and strengthen the Institute’s ties with corporate executives, donors and industry organizations. He currently serves on the Analysis Technical Review Panel for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and is a Member of the External Advisory Board of a Wayne State University project on Real-Time Energy Impact Monitors for Residential, Industrial and Policy Use at Wayne State University.    Tom, a leader in identifying and implementing solutions to public policy problems, has spent his career operating in the complex intersection of business, government, nongovernmental organizations and public policy.  Before joining Whirlpool, Tom was Special Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust and Consumer Protection Divisions of the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.

Alison Davis-Blake
Edward J. Frey Dean and Stephen M. Ross Professor of Business, University of Michigan

Alison Davis-Blake joined the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan July 1, 2011. She is the Edward J. Frey Dean and Stephen M. Ross Professor of Business.  Alison is an expert on outsourcing; the use of temporary and contract workers, and the effective management of organizational hiring, salary, and promotion systems. She earned her PhD in organizational behavior from Stanford University, and has held editorial positions with the Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Review, and Journal of Management. Alison has taught courses in organizational behavior, fundamentals of management, strategic human resource management, and managing human capital. She also recently completed a three-year term as a board member of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the premiere accrediting body for business schools worldwide.

Anna Garcia
Program Director, Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs, U.S. Department of Energy

Anna Garcia is the Director of the Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office in the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. In this role she provides leadership to maximize the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy through deployment of resources and technical assistance via national partnership networks and communications and outreach activities.

Previously Ms. Garcia served as Executive Director of the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC), the organization of 12 states and the District of Columbia created by Congress in 1990 to assess and coordinate the development of policies to reduce regional ground-level ozone or “smog” in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.  Prior to OTC she was Director of Operations and State Programs for the non-profit Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, a division of the Global Environment and Technology Foundation.  She provides unique environmental and energy expertise in creating partnerships with and among state agencies to design multi-pollutant strategies that have both environmental and economic benefits.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Princeton University and an Executive Masters of Business Administration from George Washington University.

Peter Gudritz
Northeast Government Affairs & Community Engagement Leader, The Dow Chemical Company

Peter serves as the Northeast Government Affairs & Community Engagement Leader for Dow Chemical Company. In this role, he leads the development and execution of regional strategies that support corporate priorities through collaboration, community outreach, and building stakeholder relationships throughout the Northeastern U.S., including the greater Philadelphia community.

Prior to his current role, Peter was located at Dow’s global headquarters in Midland, MI as Lead Public Policy Manager, where he led the developing of policy strategies focusing on energy and environmental policy. He also had responsibility for developing Dow’s global Advanced Manufacturing Policy platform.

Before Dow, he was a Policy Analyst with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Washington, DC. There he focused on U.S. energy and climate policy and developed advocacy campaigns, including coordinating and managing coalitions of businesses and NGOs to develop unified messages on priority issue areas. Before WCS, Peter was a Conservation Fellow with American Rivers working mostly on public lands and water policy.

Peter earned his Master’s in Public Policy with a focus on Energy Policy from the George Washington University in D.C. as well as a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan. He currently serves on the Board of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, the Corporate Advisory Council of Campus Philly, and is Chair of the Public Policy Committee of the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council.

Chuck Hadden
President and CEO, Michigan Manufacturer’s Association

Charles “Chuck” Hadden was named president and chief executive officer of MMA on September 15, 2008. He brings to the job over 15 years of experience with the nearly 3,000 member association, having previously served as the public policy officer and lead lobbyist representing manufacturers before the legislature and state agencies on a broad range of issues, including taxation, product liability, employment and insurance. During his tenure, Chuck was instrumental in obtaining passage of significant legislation that will benefit the manufacturing sector for years to come, including restructuring of Michigan’s tax and energy policies.

Hadden joined MMA in 1993 as director of environmental affairs. Previously, he served as account supervisor for Publicom Association Management Services where he served, simultaneously, as executive director of one national, and three state associations.

Hadden is a graduate of Alma College and completed course work in Administrative and Organizational Behavior with Central Michigan University’s Master of Arts Program. He also earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation awarded by the American Society of Association Executives in 2004 and completed the Finance for Executives Program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 2009.

George Heartwell
Mayor, City of Grand Rapids

Now serving his third term, Mayor George Heartwell took office on January 1, 2004.  During his tenure, City government has implemented a variety of environmental measures, including purchase of renewable resource energy, use of alternative fuels in city vehicles, continued attention to water quality in the Grand River, and widespread implementation of energy conservation measures.  In January 2007 the United Nations recognized Grand Rapids as a “Regional Center of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development.”

Grand Rapids is widely recognized as one of the most sustainable cities in America.  In 2010 the US Chamber of Commerce gave Grand Rapids the “Nation’s Most Sustainable City” award, and in 2012 Mayor Heartwell was given the first place Climate Protection Award by the US Conference of Mayors.

With twenty-two colleges or universities in the metropolitan area, Grand Rapids is known as a knowledge center.  Human medicine, medical education, and health research is the most rapidly growing economic cluster.  Even during times of severe economic downturn, Grand Rapids has shown remarkable economic resiliency.

George Heartwell is married to Susan who directs the Student Advancement Foundation.  George and Susan are proud parents of three adult children and six extraordinary grandchildren.

John Hieftje
Mayor, City of Ann Arbor

John Hieftje is the Mayor of Ann Arbor, and has served on the DDA Board for four years. He has been a very active community leader, serving on the boards of numerous area organizations, including the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, Michigan Theater, Huron River Watershed Council, and Lake Superior Conservancy and Watershed Council. He is the Co-Chair of the Washtenaw Metro Alliance, and has served as Chair of Recycle Ann Arbor and of Urban Core Mayors of Michigan. In addition, he is a member of the Sierra Club, the Ecology Center Center of Ann Arbor, and the National Wildlife Federation (Great Lakes Office). Through these activities, he has demonstrated a strong commitment to improving the local environment, and has won several awards, including Local Elected Official of the Year Award from the Michigan Recreation and Parks Association; the Conservation Leadership Award from the Greater Detroit Audubon Society; the Conservation Award from the Huron Valley Group of Sierra Club; and the Preservationist of the Year Award from Washtenaw Land Trust.

Andrew Hoffman
Holcim Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, Faculty Director of the Erb Insitute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, University of Michigan

Andy Hoffman is the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan; a position that holds joint appointments at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the School of Natural Resources & Environment. Within this role, Andy also serves as Director of the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise. Professor Hoffman’s research uses a sociological perspective to understand the cultural and institutional aspects of environmental issues for organizations. In particular, he focuses on the processes by which environmental issues both emerge and evolve as social, political and managerial issues. He has written extensively about: the evolving nature of field level pressures related to environmental issues; the corporate responses that have emerged as a result of those pressures, particularly around the issue of climate change; the interconnected networks among non-governmental organizations and corporations and how those networks influence change processes within cultural and institutional systems; the social and psychological barriers to these change processes; and the underlying cultural values that are engaged when these barriers are overcome. He has published over a dozen books, which have been translated into five languages. Among his list of honors, he has been awarded the Maggie Award (2013), JMI Breaking the Frame Award (2012), Connecticut Book Award (2011), the Aldo Leopold Fellowship (2011), the Aspen Environmental Fellowship (2011 and 2009), the Manos Page Prize (2009), the Faculty Pioneer Award (2003), the Rachel Carson Book Prize (2001) and the Klegerman Award (1995). His work has been covered in numerous media outlets, including the New York Times, Scientific American, Time, the Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio.

Kevin Messner
President, PoliticaLogic, representing the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM)

Kevin Messner founded PoliticaLogic after a diverse background in the private and public sectors.  Prior to PolicaLogic, Kevin served as the Vice President for Policy & Government Relations and Vice President of State Government Affairs for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), where he was responsible for implementing AHAM’s federal, state and international legislative, regulatory, political and grassroots programs.  He also served in a presidential appointment position at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), he spent 10 years on Capitol Hill as a chief of staff for two Congressmen, and he worked as an engineer for Delco Products and Delco Chassis, which were part of the General Motors Corporation.

Kevin has received the Michael C. Thompson Public Policy Award for extraordinary effort and accomplishment in the area of public policy for the home appliance industry. He was also named “One of the Seven People to Watch in 2007” by Government Computer News.

He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and an MBA, with distinction, in International Finance from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Marie Lynn Miranda
Professor and Dean, School of Natural Resources and Environment

Marie Lynn Miranda, Ph.D., is Professor and Dean in the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) and Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan.  SNRE’s overarching objective is to contribute to the protection of the Earth’s resources and the achievement of a sustainable society. Through research, teaching and outreach, faculty, staff and students are devoted to generating knowledge and developing policies, techniques and skills to help practitioners manage and conserve natural and environmental resources to meet the full range of human needs on a sustainable basis.

In addition to her administrative leadership responsibilities, Dr. Miranda directs the Children’s Environmental Health Initiative (CEHI), which is a research, education, and outreach program committed to fostering environments where all people can prosper.  CEHI emphasizes the environmental health sciences and social justice components of risks borne by children in the United States and internationally. CEHI runs geospatial training programs both at the University of Michigan and nationally.  CEHI is also leading a significant effort in developing geospatial informatics to support health care delivery and improvements in population health.  Dr. Miranda maintains a deep and abiding personal and professional interest in social and environmental justice.

Patricia K. Poppe
Vice President of Customer Experience, Rates, and Regulation, CMS Energy

Patricia K. Poppe is vice president of customer experience,rates and regulation for Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy. She was elected to this position in November 2013.

Poppe is responsible for overall customer experience and satisfaction. She also is responsible for budget planning, rates, regulation and the company’s relationship with the Michigan Public Service Commission.  Prior to her current role, Poppe served as Consumers Energy’s vice president of customer experience and operations since 2011.

Before joining Consumers Energy in January 2011, Poppe served as director of regulated marketing for energy optimization at DTE Energy. She also worked as director of DTE Energy’s North Region Power Plants, overseeing five generating facilities.

Prior to working for DTE Energy, Poppe held a variety of plant management positions during her 15-year career at General Motors Co.

Poppe earned a master’s degree in management from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and received a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in industrial engineering from Purdue University.

John D. Quakenbush
Chairman, Michigan Public Service Commission

John D. Quackenbush was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to serve as Chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission on Sept. 15, 2011. His term ends July 2, 2017. Prior to his appointment, Chairman Quackenbush worked for UBS Global Asset Management for 10 years, most recently as managing director and senior investment analyst responsible for equity research for the transportation, utilities and coal industries in the U.S. and Canada. He previously worked as manager of the Sprint Corporation Treasury department and Sprint Corporation Local Telecom Division. Before that, he served in several senior financial analyst roles with the Illinois Commerce Commission. Chairman Quackenbush was named a Top Gun U.S. Industrials Investment Mind in 2011 by Brendan Wood International. He earned certification as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) in 1993 and is a member of the CFA Institute and CFA Society of Chicago. He previously served as a board member of the Society of Utility and Regulatory Financial Analysts. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business economics from Calvin College and a master of business administration degree with a concentration in finance from Michigan State University. Chairman Quackenbush is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and serves on several committees including the Committee on Gas, the Committee on Consumer Affairs, and the Subcommittee on Pipeline Safety. Chairman Quackenbush is also a member of the Advisory Council for the Gas Technology Institute.

Barry Rabe
J. Ira and Nicki Harris Chair of Public Policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

Barry Rabe is the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Chair of Public Policy and the Director of the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, where he co-directs the National Surveys on Energy and the Environment.  Rabe is also a non-resident Senior Fellow in the Governance Studies Program at the Brookings Institution and a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.

His research and teaching examine the politics of environmental protection, with emphasis on the role of sub-federal governments in the United States and Canada.  He has authored four books and nearly 100 peer-reviewed publications.  Rabe is also actively engaged in public service. He has testified frequently before Congress, executive agencies, and state legislatures.  He was also a founding editor of the American Governance and Public Policy book series of Georgetown University Press. He is regularly featured in national and international media, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, and various programs on National Public Radio.

He has received three major teaching awards and holds an Arthur F. Thurnau Professorship, the highest honor that the University of Michigan conveys in recognition of excellence and innovation in undergraduate education.  Rabe has received three research awards from the American Political Science Association, including the 2007 Daniel Elazar Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Federalism; in 2006 he became the first social scientist to win a Climate Protection Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Rabe completed his PhD in Political Science at the University of Chicago.

Kevin B. Self
Vice President, Strategy & Corporate Development, Johnson Controls

Kevin is Vice President, Strategy & Corporate Development at Johnson Controls’ $14.6B Building Efficiency business. As a member of the senior leadership team, his responsibilities include leading global development and creating action plans to drive growth and margin expansion, managing the investment portfolio, and driving inorganic growth.  He is also responsible for developing and leading partnerships with Fortune 500 companies, start-up companies, universities, and other groups.

Prior to joining Johnson Controls, Kevin led the integration of MillerCoors (the US entity created by SABMiller and Molson Coors) from 2008 to 2010 and from 2007 to 2008 he led corporate strategy for Miller Brewing Company. Kevin was Director of Business Development from 2001to 2007 at GE Healthcare, leading various acquisitions, divestitures and strategy development. He also worked at McKinsey & Co. from 1993 to 1997 and was a Senior Design Engineer at Baxter Healthcare Corporation from 1987 to 1992.

Kevin holds an M.B.A. from Northwestern University, a Masters Degree in Bioengineering from The University of Michigan and a Bachelors degree in Engineering Science from The University of Michigan.

Maureen Sertich
North American Sustainability Lead, Whirlpool

Maureen Sertich is the North American Sustainability Lead for Whirlpool Corporation. In her role at Whirlpool, she manages the sustainability initiatives for products under the Amana, Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, and Jenn-Aire Brands. Previously, she developed sustainability standards for products in the building industry, managed a university’s sustainability program, provided sustainability and risk assessment services for large industrial and commercial clients, and managed hazardous waste remediation projects.

Maureen has held several voluntary and appointed positions including serving as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals in Ann Arbor, MI, board member for the Southeast Michigan Sustainable Business Forum, serving as a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)’s Emerging Professionals National Committee, and providing Pro Bono consulting services through Net Impact Chicago Chapter. Maureen holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Saint Mary’s College of California and went on to earn a M.S. in Corporate Environmental Management and Sustainability and an M.B.A. in Entrepreneurship from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

Wade Smith
Executive Director, Air Movement and Control Association

Wade Smith is AMCA’s coach, helping members to define regional strategies that exploit what AMCA does, to grow markets, boost member earnings and level the playing field with ratings integrity and ethical behavior.   Wade leads AMCA staff to better serve member needs and control expenses.

Gale Tedhams
Director, Products and Supply Chain Sustainability, Owens Corning

Gale Tedhams is the Director of Sustainability, Product and Supply Chain for Owens Corning. She is responsible for leading the company’s global sustainability strategy with a focus on product and supply chain sustainability and on Owens Corning’s goal to being a net positive company, while managing communications on sustainability strategy integration and product marketing with internal and external stakeholders. Building science and accelerating energy efficiency in the built environment are core elements of Owens Corning’s commitment to sustainability.

Gale joined Owens Corning as an environmental engineer with a civil engineering degree from Michigan State University. She has held numerous leadership roles across several businesses and functional areas, including manufacturing leadership in both the United States and Europe and global diversity leadership. Before joining the sustainability organization she was product and program manager in the Insulating Systems business for Owen Corning, where she was responsible for product quality, new development and application.

Mary Templeton
Executive Director, Michigan Saves

Mary Templeton is a senior consultant with Public Sector Consultants and the executive director of Michigan Saves, a multimillion-dollar nonprofit organization managed by PSC that provides financing solutions for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements. In this capacity, she designs financing programs; oversees organizational governance issues, operations, fundraising, marketing, human resource, technology, and programmatic strategies; and is responsible for the fiscal management of the organization.

In her previous role, she served as the program manager for BetterBuildings for Michigan, a statewide multimillion-dollar grant program managed by Michigan Saves. She was responsible for working with stakeholders from public, private, and nonprofit organizations to develop and deploy effective residential and commercial energy efficiency strategies. Her work included leading and aligning diverse teams to work collaboratively in delivering program goals, evaluating program effectiveness, identifying and implementing best practices, and ensuring that all program parameters were delivered in accordance with grant terms and conditions, including financial review of all program expenditures.

Prior to joining PSC in 2010, Ms. Templeton’s career spanned more than 20 years in several industries and included roles such as executive vice president of sales and marketing with Wind Energy Consulting and Contracting, senior vice president of OEM Sales for R.L. Polk, and several leadership roles with SAS Institute Inc. In 2008–2009, she served as the vice chair for the Wind Energy Resource Zoning Board, representing the public at large, assisting in the identification of the best locations for wind energy development in Michigan.

Ms. Templeton holds a BS in Business from Wayne State University and an MBA from Eastern Michigan University.

Kim Wolske
Research Management Fellow, Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, University of Michigan

Kim Wolske is the Research Management Fellow at the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise. She holds a Ph.D. in environmental psychology and a masters in environmental education from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. Kim’s research uses psychological insights to improve the design and implementation of programs aimed at promoting energy conservation and efficiency. She is currently working on a DOE-funded project with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to increase diffusion of solar panels in the residential market. Prior to joining the Erb Institute, Kim served as a consultant to Opower, a firm that uses behavioral science to help utility customers reduce energy use.

Energy 2030, Ann Arbor – Live-stream

March 19, 2014

March 31, 2014

Energy 2030 on the Road: Ann Arbor, Michigan

8:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan


8:00 AM   Registration and Continental Breakfast  – Blau Auditorium

8:30 AM   Welcome Remarks

–          Andrew Hoffman, Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise
–          Alison Davis-Blake, Ross School of Business
–          Marie Lynn Miranda, School of Natural Resources and Environment

8:50 AM   Featured Videos

–          Remarks from Governor Rick Snyder
–          Detroit Public Television Presentation

9:05 AM   Energy 2030: A Clarion Call to Double U.S. Energy Productivity

–          Kateri Callahan, Alliance to Save Energy

9:15 AM   Keynote Remarks

–          Mayor George Heartwell, City of Grand Rapids
–          Mark Barteau, Energy Institute

10:00 AM  Break

10:15 AM  Energy 2030 Symposium Introduction

10:20 AM  Investing in Energy Productivity

Moderator:  Chairman John Quackenbush, Michigan Public Service Commission


–          Patricia Poppe, CMS Energy
–          Valerie Brader, Executive Office of Governor Rick Snyder
–          Chuck Hadden, Michigan Manufacturer’s Association
–          Peter Gudritz, Dow Chemical Company

11:20 AM  Break

11:30 AM  Modernize through Energy Efficiency

Moderator:  Barry Rabe, Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan


–          Kevin Self, Johnson Controls
–          Wade Smith, Air Movement and Control Association
–          Kevin Messner, PoliticaLogic, on behalf of Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
–          Anna Garcia, Department of Energy

12:30 PM  Networking Lunch and Student Project Showcase – Colloquium, Sixth floor

1:30 PM    Educating and Engaging People on Energy Productivity Gains – Blau Auditorium      

Moderator:  Tom Catania, Erb Institue for Global Sustainable Enterprise


–          David Bell, Masco Contractor Services
–          Maureen Sertich, Whirlpool
–          Gale Tedhams, Owens Corning
–          Kim Wolske, Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise
–          Mary Templeton, Michigan Saves

2:30 PM   Closing Remarks

–          Kateri Callahan, Alliance to Save Energy
–          Mayor John Hieftje, City of Ann Arbor

U-M report on public perceptions of fracking in Michigan

October 15, 2013

Hydraulic Fracturing in the state of Michigan: Public perceptions technical report

pdf-buttonPublic Perceptions Technical Report
is one of seven U-M Integrated Assessment reports on Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan
Download as a PDF

Kim Wolske, Research Management Fellow, Erb Institute and
Andrew Hoffman, Director, Erb Institute
Lukas Strickland, Research Assistant, School of Natural Resources & Environment

One of seven technical reports completed for the Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan Integrated Assessment, conducted by the University of  Michigan, this report reviews the current state of knowledge on public perceptions of high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF).  The objective is to highlight issues that may be relevant to HVHF-related policy in Michigan.

New research contributes to major U-M technical reports on “fracking”

September 5, 2013

Erb Research Management Fellow, Kim Wolske, and Director Andy Hoffman contribute to newly released U-M study on hydraulic fracturing in Michigan. Wolske and Hoffman’s “Public Perceptions Report” is one of 7 technical reports to be used in guiding  future decision making on the issue of “fracking”.

Read the report:  Public Perceptions Technical Report (pdf).
Go here to:  download all  7 reports.
Read the press release (html)