Following a stakeholder engagement process facilitated by the Great Plains Institute in 2018, Xcel Energy received approval and is moving forward in Minnesota with new electric vehicle (EV) pilot programs.
As investor-owned electric utilities seek to meet the needs of shareholders, consumers, and the environment, EVs offer a unique opportunity. If implemented carefully, utility investments in EV infrastructure and programs can provide a series of benefits, including new sources of utility revenue, better services for EV drivers, reduced costs for all consumers by making the electric system more efficient, and reduced pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Continue reading »
Minnesota energy stakeholders came together at the end of August to learn about four areas of innovation happening across the state’s energy system. The event was put on by the e21 Initiative, a collaborative effort between the Great Plains Institute and Center for Energy and Environment that convenes diverse stakeholder groups to help shape and advance a decarbonized, customer-centric, and technologically modern energy system in Minnesota.
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A recent stakeholder engagement process facilitated by the e21 Initiative (which is co-convened by the Great Plains Institute and Center for Energy and Environment) in collaboration with Minnesota Power proves that stakeholders can find agreement on rate designs that seek to elicit customer, system, and environmental benefits. Continue reading »
A recent report summarizes initial stakeholder perspectives around what should be measured to assess Xcel Energy’s electric utility performance in the 21st century. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is accepting initial comments on this matter until May 6.
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Beginning in 2019, Minnesota’s three investor-owned utilities will file resource plans that will chart a path into a time period of significant change and opportunity. With nearly all the state’s power sector CO2 emissions coming from fossil-fuel plants that are retiring or potentially retiring in the next 20 years, the state has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a transformation towards decarbonized electricity generation. Continue reading »
In 2014, we wrote about “A New Approach to Small Business Energy Efficiency,” in which we described the unique barriers—time, knowledge, and trust—that small businesses face in identifying and enacting energy efficiency improvements. We proposed that the best solution may not be a technological one, but a social one—partnering with individuals who have existing relationships with small businesses in their community and training them as “energy coaches” who can provide the commitment, information, and trust that resource-limited business owners require. Continue reading »
We are thrilled to welcome Jordana Palmer to GPI’s Electricity Program. Jordana joins us as a program assistant working to support our convenings around utility business model and regulatory innovation, as well as efforts to better engage small businesses in demand side energy programs. Continue reading »
Since its launch in 2014, Xcel Energy’s solar garden program in Minnesota has driven a growing conversation about solar energy options and opportunities, especially among local government staff and elected officials. Local governments are sought after as solar garden subscribers for their large and often stable electric loads, excellent credit scores, and interest in opportunities to reduce energy costs and meet public goals on clean energy. Continue reading »
Almost every time we give a community presentation on solar, somebody asks about how the costs of the technology are changing and whether it’s best to wait to “go solar.” It’s a smart question, and indeed the costs of the physical components of solar projects are being driven down by market forces (though arguably not quick enough to warrant waiting). The trouble with this question is that it misses the target in seeing what’s most important, which is not just the cost of hardware but the final cost of an installed system. Continue reading »
On Friday July 14th, over 50 people convened in St. Paul to learn about and discuss innovations towards a more customer-centric regulatory framework and utility business model for the 21stcentury. The event was the second of several e21 Forums in 2017, which are convened by the Great Plains Institute and Center for Energy and Environment and designed to provide an opportunity for interested parties in Minnesota to hear about and discuss important issues facing the electric sector. Below is a recap of the event along with links to slides and resources. Continue reading »