How Repowering Aging Renewables in the Midcontinent Impacts Carbon Emissions

June 18, 2020 in Electricity Authors: Jessi Wyatt, Maggie Kristian

How Repowering Aging Renewables in the Midcontinent Impacts Carbon EmissionsMany wind and solar energy projects in the Midcontinent will face the decision to repower or decommission as they reach the end of their useful lifespan between 2020-2050. These decisions will impact the energy mix of the existing electricity system—and its carbon emissions. We analyzed potential scenarios for repowering the Midcontinent’s wind and solar energy fleet, sharing potential implications for the region’s electricity system and carbon emissions. These scenarios show why repowering aging renewables in the Midcontinent is important to continue reducing the region’s electricity emissions. Continue reading »

Solar and Wind in Wisconsin: A Local Government Guide for Siting Utility-Scale Projects

April 2, 2020 in Communities, Electricity, Reports & Whitepapers Authors: Jenna Greene, Jessi Wyatt

A wind turbine behind solar panelThe Great Plains Institute is engaging local governments across the Upper Midwest on long-term planning for renewable energy. As part of this effort, we developed a guide to provide communities in Wisconsin with an overview of long-term utility- and community-scale solar and wind development—systems sized one megawatt (MW) or greater. Continue reading »

Repowering and Decommissioning: What Happens in Communities When Solar and Wind Projects End?

April 1, 2020 in Communities, Electricity Author: Jessi Wyatt

A wind turbine being builtMidwestern communities have experienced a dramatic increase in the buildout of solar and wind systems in the last decade, continuing an upward trend in renewable energy projects that began in the early- and mid-2000s. As many of these initial projects reach the end of their lifespan, communities will see the local impacts of repowering and decommissioning—the decisions made at the end of a project’s life. Learning about the full lifespan of projects can help communities planning new projects attain the long-term benefits of renewable energy while reducing potential conflicts. Continue reading »

Solar and Wind in Minnesota: A Local Government Guide for Siting Utility-Scale Projects

March 23, 2020 in Communities, Electricity, Reports & Whitepapers Authors: Jenna Greene, Jessi Wyatt

The Great Plains Institute is engaging local governments across the Upper Midwest on long-term planning for renewable energy. As part of this effort, we developed a guide to provide communities in Minnesota with an overview of long-term utility- and community-scale solar and wind development—systems sized one megawatt (MW) or greater.   Continue reading »

Solar and Wind in Iowa: A Local Government Guide for Siting Utility-Scale Projects

March 9, 2020 in Communities, Electricity, Reports & Whitepapers Authors: Jenna Greene, Jessi Wyatt

The Great Plains Institute is engaging local governments across the Upper Midwest on long-term planning for renewable energy. As part of this effort, we developed a guide to provide communities in Iowa with an overview of long-term utility- and community-scale solar and wind development—systems sized one megawatt (MW) or greater.   Continue reading »

Electric Sector Emissions: How Geographic Choices Impact Modeling & Analysis

March 4, 2020 in Electricity Authors: Jessi Wyatt, Maggie Kristian

In our work on modeling and projections of electric sector greenhouse gas emissions, GPI often sees analysts using federally published electricity generation and emissions data defined by large geographic electricity regions rather than by an individual state or a specific electric utility. While using these large regions is convenient in terms of data availability, it can miss key differences in electric sector emissions that are available at more granular geographic regions. Continue reading »

Climate & Energy Planning Takes Shape in Minnesota Communities

January 22, 2020 in Communities Author: Jessi Wyatt

A view of St. Paul in evening

Cities increasingly understand their role in addressing climate change, and some are finding ways to use a traditional tool—comprehensive planning—as part of their climate and energy planning efforts. In Minnesota, a recent inventory of actions at the local level shows how a broad range of communities are incorporating climate, energy, resilience, and sustainability in their planning processes. This blog digs into GPI’s analysis and findings from this inventory, explores motivators for the change, and highlights the next steps for communities interested in local climate and energy planning. Continue reading »

New Data Shows Minnesotans Going All-In on Electric Vehicles

December 18, 2019 in Transportation & Fuels Authors: Elizabeth Abramson, Jessi Wyatt

A blue electric vehicle, charging.

Electric vehicle (EV) deployment is ramping up across Minnesota. New data from 2019 (which you can explore in a previous blog post) shows that EV deployment hit new records throughout the state. Between 2018 and 2019 alone, the number of EV registrations in Minnesota has almost doubled. With declining vehicle costs, expanding EV infrastructure, and growing consumer preference for climate-friendly products, EV growth in Minnesota shows no signs of slowing down. The statewide EV map further helps spotlight that EVs are not only a phenomenon in urban areas. In fact, there is only one county of the 87 in the state that does not have at least one EV registered.
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Engaging Communities on Utility-Scale Wind & Solar Development in the Midwest: Part III, Local Readiness and Decision-Making

December 10, 2019 in Communities, Electricity Authors: Jenna Greene, Jessi Wyatt

Wind turbines in a field, against a sunset

Community-scale readiness is critical to the successful development of the Midwest’s abundant solar and wind energy resources. As utility-scale wind and solar development increases in the Midwest, communities should consider how renewable energy development aligns with local goals and values. A series of proactive actions can ensure that the way utility-scale renewables develop in a community is in line with community vision, reduces potential conflict, and optimizes co-benefits. Continue reading »

Engaging Communities on Utility-Scale Wind & Solar Development in the Midwest: Part II, Local Considerations

October 7, 2019 in Communities, Electricity Authors: Jenna Greene, Jessi Wyatt

An aerial view of wind turbines over framland

The lowering cost of wind and solar energy generation has a local impact: communities are going to see more wind and solar development projects, more often. Communities see many of the direct impacts from these developments, from tax revenues to opportunities for co-beneficial land uses to managing resident feedback on such development. Many local considerations and indicators can help communities understand opportunities for maximizing local co-benefits as the market continues to increase for utility-scale solar and wind development. Continue reading »