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

April 2, 2020 in Communities, Electricity 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 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 »

Hybrid Resources in the MISO Electricity Market: An Emerging Opportunity

March 12, 2020 in Electricity Authors: Maggie Kristian, Matt Prorok

Electricity markets, the federal government, and state governments across the country are working on how to address hybrid resources, which are a combination of multiple generation technologies and/or storage devices that work together to provide energy, capacity, and other grid services. This post focuses on hybrid resources in the MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator) market and describes their unique attributes and value to the grid, which can help inform how market rules incorporate them. Continue reading »

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

March 9, 2020 in Communities, Electricity 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 »

Managed Electric Vehicle Charging Benefits Tested in Solar Synchronization Pilot

March 3, 2020 in Electricity, Transportation & Fuels Author: Maggie Kristian

An electric vehicle charger outside the Greenway building in Minneapolis, MNManaged electric vehicle charging can have benefits for two different groups—the demand side (the electric vehicle owner, the building owner, the power customer) and the supply side (the whole electric grid system). This blog looks at the benefits of managed electric vehicle charging and how it works in practice, using 2019 examples from the Greenway Building (GPI’s headquarters) where charging levels are synchronized with on-site solar production. Continue reading »

Stakeholders Provide Guidance as Xcel Energy Looks at 50 Percent Increase in Demand Response

February 6, 2020 in Electricity Author: Trevor Drake

Smart thermostat pictured for blog on Xcel Energy’s demand response programs

Xcel Energy explored increasing its demand response portfolio by 50 percent with Minnesota stakeholders from 2017-2019. The results highlight considerations for utilities looking to deploy larger portfolios of advanced demand response. This blog, the first in a three-part series, shares demand response design principles and filing objectives developed by stakeholders to inform Xcel Energy’s planning for new demand response programs. Continue reading »

Pilot Project Gets Solar Panels in Sync with Electric Vehicle Chargers

January 9, 2020 in Electricity, Transportation & Fuels Author: Maggie Kristian

What if we could harness the energy produced by the sun and maximize its potential to power electric vehicles (EVs) with zero-carbon electricity? That’s exactly what GPI has been working on in a pilot project that studies how managed EV charging can pull varying levels of power from the solar panels on our rooftop based on how much solar is being produced at a given time. This ability to use “solar synchronization” could have big implications for reducing carbon emissions in both the electricity and transportation sectors, and presents potential benefits for consumers and businesses alike. Continue reading »

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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