The Michigan Public Service Commission recently approved DTE Energy’s request to develop a 34 MW combined heat and power (CHP) plant on the campus of Ford Motor Company’s Research and Engineering Center.¹ This project highlights how ownership of CHP facilities can be a valuable option in a utility’s resource planning and can bring economic and environmental benefits for the utility and its customers over the long term. Due to their size, high efficiency, and grid benefits, utility-owned CHP projects likely offer a better deal to ratepayers than the construction of traditional central power stations. Continue reading »
Recent regulatory decisions in Michigan and other Midwestern states indicate a growing recognition of combined heat and power (CHP) facilities’ demonstrated reliability. The decisions impact the rates and fees charged to CHP systems due to their potential need for standby service (i.e., backup service) and are important steps toward increased financial viability of CHP facilities in the region. As other states look to encourage CHP facilities, these recent actions can provide examples of aligning rates and fees more closely to actual CHP performance. Continue reading »
Over the last year, the Great Plains Institute (GPI) celebrated our 20th anniversary as an organization dedicated to transforming the energy system to benefit the economy and environment. As GPI staff, partners, and supporters reflect on the progress we’ve made together and look ahead to future opportunities for even greater impact in 2019 and beyond, we’re sharing a Q&A series we’ve created with our CEO and program leadership team. 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 »
What is Combined Heat and Power?
Combined heat and power (CHP) is a system that not only generates electricity, but also harnesses the thermal energy from power generation for heating and cooling applications (typically burning natural gas for electricity and capturing the exhaust for steam heat). By combining these two processes, some CHP systems can achieve thermal efficiencies of 60-80 percent, which is up to twice the efficiency of traditional power generation. Continue reading »
A recently published working paper by the Great Plains Institute (GPI), titled “Consumer Savings, Price, and Emissions Impacts of Increasing Demand Response in the Midcontinent Electricity Market,” explores the effects of increasing the use of demand response (DR) assets in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator’s (MISO) wholesale energy market. Continue reading »
The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) recent article titled, “Today in energy: batteries perform many different functions on the power grid,” features new data on the progress of utility-scale batteries and a helpful breakdown of the roles such batteries can play on the power grid. Continue reading »
Important issues in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) were the focus of “Powering the Plains and Beyond: Energy Policy in America’s Heartland,” a workshop held in Austin, TX on December 11, 2017. Organized by the Great Plains Institute, this workshop gathered panels of experts to examine energy development and trends within the fourteen states in the SPP footprint and the potential expansion of SPP in the future. Continue reading »
In March, I wrote a blog post describing why so many energy stakeholders are now interested in energy storage and how that interest is beginning to develop into tangible deployments of storage resources across the country. Continue reading »
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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