The Great Plains Institute is taking a road trip; a few of us decided to get out and see firsthand the changes shaping the electric industry.

GPI is doing lots of work helping make the power sector cleaner and more efficient. This includes advancing infrastructure projects needed for wind energy, establishing market reforms to reduce barriers to emerging energy technologies, and developing new policies to support the adoption of electric vehicles. Because of all the emerging interest in this area we are hitting the road to network with people at the forefront of industry and academia, learn from them, and generate interest in the Midwest as a good place to deploy emerging energy technologies.

Solar power and energy storage are two areas with good potential for near term growth in the Midwest. Our relatively high penetration of wind and growing deployment of solar is generating interest in energy storage. Storage is useful as a tool to manage wind and solar intermittency and provide flexibility to keep the system balanced in real time.

We will visit areas in the western U.S. with that are actively deploying and researching solar and  storage to learn what is in store for the Midwest as solar and storage deployment grows. Some of the key questions we will ask include:

  1. What are the primary drivers for deploying storage, and what needs to happen for growth in the Midwest?
  2. How should utilities, regulators, and grid operators prepare for and guide growing penetrations of solar and storage?
  3. Are reforms to policies and market rules needed for the Midwest to best take advantage of these technologies?

Stay tuned!

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