News & Events


Energy in the News: Friday, December 7

Reminder: We’d love Energy Institute faculty affiliates to join our visitors from our Advisory Board for a reception on Thursday, December 13 from 3:30-5:00PM, one the first floor of the Institute at 2301 Bonisteel Blvd. (The sign out front reads: Michigan Memorial Phoenix Project.) There will be remarks at 4:00PM, and refreshments will be served.

The Energy Institute is co-sponsoring a Community Climate Conversation with the City of Ann Arbor, SEAS, and many other partners TODAY. Join us- or send your students!- for an interactive discussion about climate change: the latest science, current impacts, and how Ann Arbor can take action. It’ll be held from 6-8PM at the Ann Arbor Downtown Public Library.

A note from Tony Reames: Please consider helping University of Michigan students bring solar access to low-income, underserved communities through the GRID Alternatives Solar Spring Break program. This year, Michigan students are working hard to send two teams to California, and a third team to Nepal to be GRID Alternatives’ very first International Solar Spring Break group. Learn more and donate here.

A note from the Michigan Corporate Relations Network: Up to $40,000 in matching funds are available for approved collaborations between Michigan small businesses and the 15 public universities. The funding is provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and is allocated on a first come, first served basis so please contact Kristin Burgard,, 734-998-6626 ASAP if you are interested.  Projects funded in the past include product research, development, prototyping, testing, validation and more. Learn more here.

Some energy faculty affiliates received new and renewed named professorships during yesterday’s regents meeting- congrats to all! See more news from the meeting in the Record.
Michael M. Bernitsas, Mortimer E. Cooley Collegiate Professor of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, College of Engineering, effective Jan. 1, 2019 through Dec. 31, 2023.
Johannes W. Schwank, James and Judith Street Professor of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, effective Jan. 1, 2019 through Dec. 31, 2023.
Volker Sick, DTE Energy Professor of Advanced Energy Research, College of Engineering, effective Jan. 1, 2019 through Dec. 31, 2023.

Cap-and-Trade For Cars Considered in Seven Northeast States
Bloomberg Environment, featuring John DeCicco and the U-M Energy Survey
John M. DeCicco, a research professor at the University of Michigan Energy Institute and director of the university’s Energy Survey, said the impact on gasoline prices from a carbon tax on fuel or from a cap and-trade program would be less than the normal fluctuation in oil prices due to market volatility.
DeCicco estimated that a $10 per-ton tax on carbon would raise gas prices at the pump by 9 cents per gallon and a $40 per ton carbon tax would raise gas prices by 36 cents per gallon at the pump. He said it was “very economically manageable” to expand the RGGI model to the transportation sector.
The Energy Survey polled consumers in 2017 to measure their threshold for pain at the pump. It found that 90 percent of those surveyed would consider gas prices affordable, even with a 36-cent increase resulting from a carbon tax of $40 per ton.
Read more (this article is paywalled)
Click here to read the full article in pdf format.

Resources Radio: Wildfires, with RFF’s Matthew Wibbenmeyer
By Daniel Raimi
Host Daniel Raimi and RFF Fellow Matthew Wibbenmeyer discuss the recent fires in California, looking not only their causes but also how to mitigate their risk.

How the insurance industry could help change climate skeptics’ minds
Michigan Radio, featuring Andrew Hoffman
Andrew Hoffman is a the Holcim Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. He joined Stateside to talk about the risk climate change poses to the economy, and how that risk might help convince people skeptical about climate change to change their mind.
Hoffman says that the report helps erode the psychological distance people often place between themselves and climate change by making it clear that its effects will be widespread — and expensive.
“This costs money, and someone has to pay for it. And that will make people sit up and notice,” Hoffman said.
For example, the insurance industry has already started making major changes due to our warming climate, resulting in rising costs for people who live in areas likely to be hit by extreme weather.
Read more

Small crustacean could help researchers turn wood into biofuel
UPI, featuring John DeCicco
Even efficient biofuel production still results in carbon emissions. Many climate scientists argue policy makers need to prioritize the preservation of carbon-storing materials, not encourage their conversion into fuels.
“Current policies advancing bioenergy contribute to the pressure to convert natural land into harvested forest or cropland,” John M. DeCicco, a research professor at the University of Michigan Energy Institute, said earlier this year. “But high quality land is a limited resource. For reducing atmospheric CO2, the most efficient use of ecologically productive land is to leave it alone, or reforest it. Let it act as a natural, long-term carbon sink.”
Read more

US storage market to reach 3.9 GW, $4.5B by 2023: Wood Mackenzie
-U.S. energy storage is poised for rapid growth and will be a $4.5 billion market in 2023, according to a new analysis from Wood Mackenzie. The firm says the value of the storage market will double from 2018 to 2019, and then again into 2020.
-Energy storage deployments are expected to “accelerate dramatically” in the United States, growing from 338 MW in 2018 to 659 MW in 2019. By 2020, WoodMac projects more than 1.7 GW will be deployed.
-There were 61.3 MW / 136.3 MWh of energy storage deployed in the third quarter in the United States, according to the analysis, dominated by behind-the-meter (BTM) installations. Typically paired with a residential solar system, these batteries accounted for 60% of total MWh deployed in Q3, and 57% of the capacity.
Read more

Four key takeaways from a Michigan utility’s clean energy transition
Midwest Energy News
In a speech this week to a large, business-friendly crowd in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe presented an economic case for solar power, electric vehicles and moving past coal.
The company closed seven Michigan coal plants in 2016, cutting carbon emissions 25 percent without hurting its workforce. As the company focuses on solar in the coming years, Poppe said electric vehicles will play a growing role in the company’s “triple bottom line” principle of serving people, the planet and prosperity.
It’s a big departure for a CEO who not too long ago had an “I love coal” bumper sticker on her car. Here are four themes of Poppe’s Dec. 3 speech to the Economic Club of Grand Rapids.
Read more

Maersk pledges to cut carbon emissions to zero by 2050
Financial Times
The world’s largest container shipping company has pledged to cut net carbon emissions to zero by 2050, challenging an industry that is both one of the main transporters of global trade and one of the biggest polluters to come up with radical solutions in the next decade.
AP Moller Maersk, the Danish group that transports nearly one in five seaborne containers, said it needed its entire supply chain from engine makers and shipbuilders to new technology providers to come up with carbon-free ships by 2030 to meet the goal.
“We will have to abandon fossil fuels. We will have to find a different type of fuel or a different way to power our assets. This is not just another cost-cutting exercise. It’s far from that. It’s an existential exercise, where we as a company need to set ourselves apart,” Soren Toft, Maersk’s chief operating officer, told the Financial Times.
Read more

James Jackson to receive 2019 APA Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Psychology
Institute for Social Research
Dr. James Jackson has been selected to receive the 2019 American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Psychology. This award “honors psychologists who have made distinguished theoretical or empirical advances in psychology leading to the understanding or amelioration of important practical problems”. The award will be presented at the APA Convention in Chicago in August of 2019. Dr. Jackson served as the Director of the Research Center for Group Dynamics (1995-2005) and Director of the Institute for Social Research (2005-2015), and was appointed by President Obama in 2014 as a member of the National Science Foundation’s National Science Board.
Read more

Climate change will be costly, especially for at-risk communities
Michigan Radio
On Black Friday, the federal government released its National Climate Assessment.
Compiled by 13 federal agencies, the landmark report spells out the consequences we’re already seeing — and that we’ll continue to see worsen over time — as a result of climate change.
Maria Carmen Lemos is one of the authors of the Midwest chapter of this assessment. She’s also the associate dean of the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability and co-directs the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center.
Read more

White House seeks to end subsidies for electric cars, renewables
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Monday the Trump administration wants to end subsidies for electric cars and other items, including renewable energy sources.Asked about plans after General Motors Co (GM.N) announced U.S. plant closings and layoffs last week, Kudlow pointed to the $2,500-to-$7,500 tax credit for consumers who buy plug-in electric vehicles, including those made by GM, under federal law.
“As a matter of our policy, we want to end all of those subsidies,” Kudlow said. “And by the way, other subsidies that were imposed during the Obama administration, we are ending, whether it’s for renewables and so forth.”
Read more