Presentations: Midwestern Briefing on America's Power Plan

America’s Power Plan is a policy roadmap for dealing with disruptive challenges in the power sector and achieving a high-renewables future. Curated by the Energy Foundation in partnership with Energy Innovation, it features a series of eight white papers. As part of the rollout for America’s Power Plan (APP), the Great Plains Institute hosted and facilitated a meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota on September 26, 2013 to brief stakeholders on the project and gather input on how components of APP could be most effectively applied to the Midwestern region. Meeting participants consisted of key decision makers, thought leaders, and subject matter experts in utility regulation and the electricity sector. A list of attendees is provided in Appendix A.[1] In addition, the briefing featured authors from three of the whitepapers:

  • New Regulatory and Utility Business ModelsRonald Lehrformer Public Utilities Commissioner of Colorado
  • Distributed Energy Resources—James Newcomb, Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Policy for Distributed Generation—Joseph Wiedman, Interstate Renewable Energy Council

APP was inspired in part from analysis done by the U.S. DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory entitled the Renewable Electricity Futures Study (RE Futures), which investigated the implications and technical challenges of meeting various high-renewable electricity scenarios. The study concluded that commercially available renewable energy technologies in combination with a more flexible electric system are more than adequate to supply 80% of total U.S. electricity generation by 2050. The purpose of America’s Power Plan is to identify policy and regulatory barriers and paths forward to meeting such a future.

Given recent policy developments, these topics are timely and relevant to the Midwestern region, particularly in Minnesota. The following report sets the discussion in the relevant regional context, highlights key points raised by stakeholders, and presents one utility’s experience integrating and managing variable wind in the region. It consists of a blend of presented material from APP along with stakeholder feedback and discussion. Meeting participants stressed the importance of having a clear policy direction while collectively building off of past experience and lessons learned.

Click here for the meeting summary.