Analysis: Rooftop Solar Can Provide Year-Round Electricity—Even in the Bold North

December 19, 2019 in Electricity, Transportation & Fuels Authors: Dane McFarlane, Elizabeth Abramson

Solar panels on the roof of a Minneapolis building in winter

When it comes to solar energy, a common question is how electricity generation will be affected by seasonal shifts or daily changes in the weather. These variations become especially important when households and businesses consider using rooftop solar panels to serve their electricity needs, such as for charging electric vehicles (EVs). By analyzing a full year of data collected from the solar array on the Great Plains Institute’s own rooftop, paired with the electric vehicle chargers at our building, we have gathered insights to answer to this question.  
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Carbon Capture 101

December 17, 2019 in Carbon Management Authors: Dane McFarlane, Elizabeth Abramson, Jennifer Christensen

An upward view of an industrial facility

Carbon capture is an essential part of GPI’s work to achieve a zero-carbon energy system by midcentury. GPI engages a broad set of interests at the state and federal levels to increase the deployment of carbon capture projects and infrastructure. We developed a carbon capture 101 fact sheet (PDF and text below) as a starting point for learning about what carbon capture is and why it’s an important economic and environmental strategy.
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Electric Vehicle Charging Station Economics: GPI’s DC Fast Charging Calculator

August 15, 2019 in Electricity, Transportation & Fuels Author: Dane McFarlane

A person using a calculator

As part of our research on the economics of DC fast charging, the Great Plains Institute created a model to calculate the costs and revenue of operating an electric vehicle (EV) charging station. Through our work with the EV industry, we’ve often heard charging operators, community leaders, and EV owners express a desire to explore how station operation impacts costs for both EV charger owners and users. Continue reading »

Analysis: How Demand Charges Impact Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Infrastructure

July 31, 2019 in Electricity, Reports & Whitepapers, Transportation & Fuels Authors: Dane McFarlane, Matt Prorok

A direct current fast charger

GPI recently released a white paper analyzing the economics of direct current fast charging (DCFC) as part of our work with the Midcontinent Transportation Electrification Collaborative (MTEC). DCFC stations are critical for widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) because they provide access to much faster battery charging in public places and along major driving routes and highways. The white paper focused on a specific barrier to increased DCFC stations in the region: electric utility demand charges.  Continue reading »

Visualizing Pathways to Decarbonization of the Midcontinent’s Electricity Sector

September 25, 2018 in Electricity, Reports & Whitepapers Author: Dane McFarlane

Man working on transmission lines

The Great Plains Institute recently released A Road Map to Decarbonization in the Midcontinent Electricity Sector as part of its work with the Midcontinent Power Sector Collaborative, a diverse group of stakeholders including investor-owned utilities, merchant power companies, electric cooperatives, environmental groups, and state regulators.

The road map is the first-of-its-kind for any region in the US and was developed by the collaborative to provide utilities, policy makers, and stakeholders with a better sense of what will be needed to inform sound near-term decisions that position the region to meet the challenges ahead.

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“Smart” Charging Electric Vehicles with Solar at the Greenway Building

May 25, 2018 in Transportation & Fuels Authors: Dane McFarlane, Katelyn Bocklund, Matt Prorok

A man installing an electric vehicle charger

Electricity systems are increasingly becoming interactive and dynamic, opening up opportunities for energy technologies to “talk” to each other and create numerous benefits for energy consumers (e.g., increased efficiency, lower costs, and reduced emissions). This opportunity is one that GPI and our partners are exploring through the combination of electric vehicles (EVs) and solar energy.
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Analysis: Electric Vehicles Provide Even Greater GHG Reductions in 2017 and Beyond for the Upper Midwest

May 15, 2017 in Efficiency, Transportation & Fuels Author: Dane McFarlane

EV Vehicle Graphic

GPI recently updated our previous analysis to explore the emission reductions achieved by driving an electric vehicle (EV) in specific regions in the Midwest. The updated analysis affirms and strengthens our finding that driving EVs, in comparison to gasoline vehicles, can provide significant greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reductions, with increasing reductions expected in coming years for both Minnesota (the focus of our initial analysis) and the Upper Midwest.

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Analysis: Electric Vehicles Pay Their Fair Share in State Taxes

March 9, 2017 in Transportation & Fuels Author: Dane McFarlane

Recent tax policy analysis by the Great Plains Institute (GPI) for Drive Electric Minnesota found that electric cars pay just as much or more taxes as comparable gasoline vehicles. Like most other states, Minnesota uses a tax on the sale of gasoline and other motor fuel to pay for transportation infrastructure like highways and bridges, among other uses. Continue reading »