About Us

Our Mission

The mission of the Great Plains Institute is to transform the way we produce, distribute, and consume energy to be both environmentally and economically sustainable.

Through research and analysis, consensus policy development, technology acceleration, and local action, we are leading the transition to clean, efficient, and secure energy.

Learn more about our approach and impact in this short video below:


The GPI Story

The Great Plains Institute was started by a small group of people who asked, "What if there was a place where people with different opinions about how to provide clean, secure energy for generations could come together and create common solutions?" Since then, GPI has grown from a small group of individuals to a team of experts working with our expanding local, national, and international network. Learn more about our history here.


Frequently Asked Questions about the Great Plains Institute

Why do you focus on energy?

We work on energy because we believe access to affordable, reliable, and increasingly clean energy is a pre-requisite for a high quality of life. 

Is GPI an advocacy group? 

Not exactly. We don't have members, and we don't knock on doors. We bring together very disparate interests and broker consensus among interests to create solutions that no one interest would have come to on their own.

So you're a think tank?

Yes, but more than that. We also put that thinking into action.

Once we achieve consensus on needed energy policy and regulatory reforms, we work with the right interests to see those ideas implemented.

Beyond policy, GPI also identifies and catalyzes the adoption of next generation energy technologies and practices among cities, states and businesses, from deep energy efficiency upgrades to new biorefineries that can make fuels and chemicals from biomass.

How are you funded?

As a non-profit, we rely on the financial support of the community to advance our mission.

The majority of our funding comes from charitable foundations, with the remainder coming from corporations and individuals. To learn more, please review one of our recent annual reports here.

If you are not currently a supporter, please consider making an donation to GPI and support our work to achieve a better energy future.

What is GPI's Theory of Change?

  • Adversarial advocacy by itself won’t foster the change we need.  It is necessary but insufficient given the massive forces of inertia and self-interest in place.
  • Consensus-based solutions developed with affected interests can be higher impact and more durable - though consensus is not appropriate for every problem.
  • Working behind the scenes with key interests can sometimes make more progress, faster, especially when paired with more conventional advocacy.
  • Working on multiple aspects of the energy system simultaneously—a portfolio approach—is essential to identifying and capturing synergies across the system: electricity, transportation, heating and industrial.
  • Policy change, technology deployment, and implementation of best practices are each essential to achieving our mission.
  • Working at the international-to-local scale can accelerate progress in ways that working at only one scale cannot.
  • Harnessing market forces in service of an energy transition is essential in order to get the speed and scale necessary in a meaningful timeframe—that is, we must make it profitable to pursue GPI’s mission.

How can I help?

  • If you are familiar with our work, send us a brief testimonial about the impact we are making.
  • Resident of Minnesota?  Urge your city to become a GreenStep City if it isn’t already!