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 »

Performance-Based Regulation in Minnesota: A Decade of Progress

June 9, 2020 in Electricity Author: Trevor Drake

Performance-based regulation for electric utilities is gaining increased attention across the US. States like Hawaii and New York are already testing new models to align utility performance with public policy goals. Minnesota took a slow and steady approach to performance-based regulation, building a foundation over a decade to ensure that changes to utility regulation are in the public interest and avoid unintended consequences. The development of performance-based regulation in Minnesota continues to garner national attention and was recently the subject of a Smart Electric Power Alliance case study in their three-part best practices toolkit series on the same topic. Continue reading »

Pilot Project Studies Managed Electric Vehicle Charging in a Workplace Setting

May 27, 2020 in Electricity, Transportation & Fuels Author: Maggie Kristian

An electric vehicle charging at the greenway buildingThe Great Plains Institute’s pilot project to study managed electric vehicle (EV) charging with on-site solar generation shows how a solar-synchronized EV charging system can function throughout the year—even in wintry Minnesota—and meet the needs of EV drivers at a workplace. This post describes the impacts of the solar-synchronized system on EVs at GPI’s headquarters in Minneapolis. The pilot project findings provide data that can contribute to discussions about building managed charging infrastructure, grid impacts, and factors to consider for future system designs.   Continue reading »

MISO Interconnection Rules for Hybrid Resources Shape Access to Electricity Market

April 24, 2020 in Electricity Authors: Maggie Kristian, Matt Prorok

Transmission lines in front of sunsetElectricity market rules in development by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO, the region’s grid operator) will impact the competitiveness of hybrid resources, a type of electricity resource which can bring more carbon-free energy to the region. Emerging MISO interconnection rules and processes will determine how hybrid resources connect to the grid, which will shape everything from how these resources are designed to how much electricity and other grid services they can provide. Continue reading »

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 »