Acting on a directive from the President, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently developing draft federal regulations to guide states in reducing carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants under the Clean Air Act. States will use the federal guidelines to devise plans that take into consideration state-specific and regional concerns. Continue reading »
Coal-based power companies, environmental organizations and state regulators achieved common ground on recommendations to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding potential regulation of carbon emissions from existing power plants in a region that generates most of its electricity from coal. These recommendations were developed by the Midwestern Power Sector Collaborative, which is convened by the Great Plains Institute, Pace Center and World Resources Institute. Continue reading »
Environmental Initiative’s recent policy forum on “The future of Minnesota’s Electric Utilities” drew a block-buster crowd—you would have thought they were giving away free beer. Especially for a topic as potentially dry and esoteric as the future of electric utilities, one would have expected a much smaller crowd and the deafening sound of crickets. But the meeting room overlooking the iconic Como Zoo was packed and humming with conversation. Continue reading »
America’s Power Plan is a policy roadmap for dealing with disruptive challenges in the power sector and achieving a high-renewables future. Curated by the Energy Foundation in partnership with Energy Innovation, it features a series of eight white papers. As part of the rollout for America’s Power Plan (APP), the Great Plains Institute hosted and facilitated a meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota on September 26, 2013 to brief stakeholders on the project and gather input on how components of APP could be most effectively applied to the Midwestern region. Continue reading »
In previous columns, I have focused on the use of biogas as a transportation fuel, which holds enormous, untapped potential. However, my introduction to biogas energy systems was through projects that use biogas to produce electricity and then capture thermal energy from the generator for a useful purpose. This process is better known as combined heat and power (CHP) or cogeneration. Continue reading »
The heading for this blog post was the key take-away message from a meeting co-hosted by GPI and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) October 21 and 22 in Chicago, Illinois. The meeting, Catalyzing Midwestern Initiatives to Accelerate Combined Heat and Power and Waste Heat to Power aimed to bring together national and state-based non-profit organizations, equipment manufacturers, developers and industry associations and government and technical service providers to facilitate networking and align interests for advancing combined heat and power (CHP) and waste heat to power (WHP) in Midwestern states. Continue reading »
BISMARCK – A diverse group of North Dakota public, private, community and nonprofit leaders and citizens are taking part in a Legacy Fund project aimed at developing a consensus vision and recommendations for future use of the state’s growing Legacy Fund.
Convened by the Great Plains Institute, the 25-‐member group will meet over the next several months to form their recommendations in advance of the 2015 legislative session. Community forums will be held around the state to gather input on the group’s ideas.
“The principal of the Legacy Fund could reach tens of billions of dollars by 2030 and we have the opportunity now to have a serious policy dialogue about how best to position the Legacy Fund to create the framework for leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come,” said GPI policy director Brad Crabtree.
Established in 2010 by North Dakota voters through a legislatively-‐referred constitutional initiated measure, North Dakota’s Legacy Fund currently stands at $1.5 billion and has been projected to reach $6 billion by 2017, when Fund returns first become available for expenditure. Thirty-‐percent of oil and gas tax revenue is deposited into the Fund.
“Through this project, North Dakota citizens will have both the opportunity and the means to chart a compelling vision for their future,” said GPI consultant and project co-‐director Patrice Lahlum.
The group will produce a consensus white paper as a work product prior to the next legislative session that will encompass principles, strategies and priorities for the Legacy Fund.
The Northwest Area Foundation provided grant funding to support the project. A full listing of project participants can be found on the Great Plains Institute website at www.betterenergy.org.