Pilot Project Gets Solar Panels in Sync with Electric Vehicle Chargers

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

Electric car plugged into charging station used for solar synchronization pilot projectWhat 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

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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New Data Shows Minnesotans Going All-In on Electric Vehicles

December 18, 2019 in Transportation & Fuels Authors: Elizabeth Abramson, Jessi Wyatt

Electric vehicle (EV) deployment is ramping up across Minnesota. New data from 2019 (which you can explore in a previous blog post) shows that EV deployment hit new records throughout the state. Between 2018 and 2019 alone, the number of EV registrations in Minnesota has almost doubled. With declining vehicle costs, expanding EV infrastructure, and growing consumer preference for climate-friendly products, EV growth in Minnesota shows no signs of slowing down. The statewide EV map further helps spotlight that EVs are not only a phenomenon in urban areas. In fact, there is only one county of the 87 in the state that does not have at least one EV registered.
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Approval of Xcel Energy’s Electric Vehicle Pilots Highlights Key Considerations for Electric Utilities

December 12, 2019 in Electricity, Transportation & Fuels Author: Trevor Drake

 

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 Department of Transportation Releases Pathways to Decarbonizing Transportation Report

September 18, 2019 in News & Press, Transportation & Fuels Author: Gail Nosek

A new report from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) shows routes to a lower-carbon future for the largest greenhouse gas emitting sector in the state. The Pathways to Decarbonizing Transportation report was created through public input and modeling and outlines recommendations and next steps toward reducing emissions. Continue reading »

New Resources to Help Cities Add Electric Fleet Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure

September 10, 2019 in Communities, Transportation & Fuels Author: Diana McKeown

During 2018-1928 Minnesota cities worked together in regional cohorts through the Cities Charging Ahead! (CCA) project to learn and act together to become “electric vehicle (EV) ready communities.” These cities increased their knowledge significantly and made strides toward their goals to foster EV adoption in their communities. CCA, which was led by the Great Plains Institute and Clean Energy Resource Teams, officially wrapped up in June but the cities have expressed an interest in continuing to meet periodically in their regional cohorts. To build on this interest and the knowledge gained through CCA, we’ve developed resources that are now available for other cities to learn from.  Continue reading »