Give wind a chance: new infrastructure needed to expand renewable energy

February 23, 2015 in Electricity Author: Steve Dahlke

Wind TurbineThose who have lived in the Midwest a long time may remember the power line fights of the 1970’s, when farmers across Minnesota organized against electric transmission development. One large project required deployment of half of Minnesota’s highway patrol troopers to complete construction. One reason for the controversy back then was infrastructure projects were planned behind closed doors with minimal regulatory oversight. Continue reading »

Integrating clean, distributed energy resources (DER) into the electric grid requires updated market rules

January 22, 2015 in Electricity Author: Steve Dahlke

BuildingEnergy policy discussions these days are dominated by talk of innovation on electric distribution systems. New clean energy technologies are developing so quickly it can be difficult to keep up with the relevant buzz-words; as digitization of the smart grid leads to rapid innovation, new distributed energy resources are causing disruptive challenges requiring electric utility and energy market reform.  Continue reading »

e21 Phase I Report

December 18, 2014 in Electricity, Reports & Whitepapers

This report is written primarily for Minnesota’s electric utility regulators, policymakers,
organizations representing ratepayers, and others who have a stake in the direction of
Minnesota’s future energy system, and includes specific recommendations for statutory
changes and regulatory action. Continue reading »

New Fact Sheet Series on Demand Response

November 18, 2014 in Electricity Author: Dane McFarlane

We are pleased to announce the release of a new fact sheet series focused on demand response. As we’ve written about in previous posts, technologies enabling demand response (DR) are an important component of a clean energy system, and we currently have an underutilized DR asset in the Midwest. DR involves reducing or shifting customer energy usage when the system is stressed. This could be during periods of high energy demand with not enough supply like on a hot summer day, or periods of low demand with too much supply, like during a night when the wind is blowing strongly. Continue reading »

Positive Developments in the Search for the Holy Grail of Renewable Energy

November 17, 2014 in Electricity Author: Steve Dahlke

Industry and ProjectsKing Arthur and his loyal knights embark on an arduous, difficult quest to find the Holy Grail. Many perish along the way. After a multitude of trials and tribulations, they find the Grail is hidden in the Castle of “Aaargh!” That is at least how the story goes in the popular 1970’s British satire Monty Python and the Holy Grail (see here for the “Aaargh!” scene). Continue reading »

Patching Up the Seams: Reducing Regional Obstacles in Electricity

November 5, 2014 in Electricity Author: Steve Dahlke

Power LinesChanges in federal law at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in the last decade have spurred evolution of the electricity sector away from local power systems and towards increasingly efficient regional interconnections. Expanding the market in this way has been beneficial – it allows the industry to take advantage of economies of scale while adapting to emerging technologies and environmental policies. Continue reading »