July 24, 2018

Stakeholders Release First-of-its-Kind Road Map to Decarbonization for Midcontinent Power Sector

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – A diverse set of stakeholders from across the U.S. Midcontinent region have released a road map to identify possible routes toward decarbonization of the region’s electricity sector by Midcentury. The Midcontinent Power Sector Collaborative (MPSC) developed the road map to help guide industry and regulators as they make decisions about how to meet the region’s electricity needs while reducing carbon emissions. The full road map as well as an interactive website outlining its findings are available at

“The electricity sector is the key to reducing carbon emissions and meeting our environmental challenges. This road map—a first-of-its-kind for any U.S. region—is premised on the idea that decarbonization is a destination we will need to reach,” said Franz Litz of the Great Plains Institute, which convenes and staffs the MPSC. “The goal is to provide utilities, policy makers, and stakeholders with a better sense of what will be needed to inform sound near-term decisions that position the region to meet the challenges ahead.”

The report reaches a number of key conclusions. The analyses conducted by the MPSC demonstrate that substantial decarbonization of the region’s electricity sector is achievable with current technologies when making reasonable assumptions about progress in the coming decades. But decarbonization is not likely to happen on its own without concerted action by utilities and new policies. To get there, the region will ultimately need a combination of very-low and zero-carbon resources, such as wind, solar, nuclear power, and natural gas with carbon capture.

“At a time of great change in the electricity sector, utility planners and state regulators can position this region to both meet the challenges of decarbonization and leverage opportunities that come with a diverse group thinking ahead,” said Rolf Nordstrom, president and CEO of the Great Plains Institute. “My hat’s off to Collaborative participants for shaping a pragmatic road map that can guide leaders as they navigate and shape a changing sector. GPI is honored to be a partner in this important work!”

The report outlines key findings, questions, and principles for policy makers and regulators in the Midcontinent. The MPSC also makes recommendations relating to energy efficiency, renewables, carbon capture, energy storage, and nuclear power, among other topics. Lastly, the MPSC focused on a mix between flexible, market-based policies to find the lowest cost solutions, coupled with targeted incentives to spur research, development, and deployment of key low- or zero-carbon technologies.

Future road maps will examine pathways to decarbonization in the transportation and buildings sectors.

The electricity road map was released and discussed at an event for energy stakeholders and policy makers on Tuesday, July 24 starting at 9 a.m. at the Hyatt in Milwaukee, WI.  You can watch the road map launch event on this playlist on GPI’s YouTube channel. 

For more information and to request interviews, please contact Gail Nosek at 651-247-1151 or [email protected].

About the Midcontinent Power Sector Collaborative (MPSC): The MPSC is a diverse collaboration of stakeholders in the energy sector which includes investor-owned utilities, merchant power companies, electric cooperatives, environmental groups, and state regulators. The Collaborative is currently creating a road map to decarbonization in the Midcontinent by analyzing opportunities in the areas of electricity, transportation, and building efficiency. The Collaborative’s work is focused on the Midcontinent region, an area in the footprint of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator and stretches from Canada down the center of the United States to parts of Louisiana and Texas. The MPSC is convened and staffed by the Great Plains Institute.

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