Innovation is helping drive Minnesota toward a lower carbon future with more solar, renewable energy-powered electric cars, energy storage, and “smart” energy efficiency. As Minnesota works to speed the transition to that future, our outdated electric grid is holding us back.
Minnesota’s current grid was designed to move electricity from coal plants to consumers hundreds of miles away. New technologically-advanced energy systems are coming into the market, but many projects are stopped or stalled at the point when they need to connect to the electric grid.
Fresh Energy’s team of technical experts is playing a lead role in securing the policies and rules we need for a modern grid, using three key strategies:
- Interconnection: Create a streamlined, more transparent system for connecting solar and other projects to the electric grid through updated “interconnection standards” at the Public Utilities Commission.
- Investment: Challenge and support Xcel Energy to make a strong investment in grid improvements that will open the door to next generation renewable energy, efficiency, battery storage technologies, and private investment.
- Improved Rates: Design and implement new electricity rates that encourage smart consumer choices such as charging electric vehicles overnight with abundant renewables like wind, and shifting energy use to reduce peak demand, and the costs that come with it, on the grid.
The Public Utilities Commission recently issued a report that also identified these key next steps, and in May Fresh Energy and key partners filed a motion to reopen the state’s interconnection standards. Stay tuned for updates as Fresh Energy works to achieve the modern electric grid we need to speed the transition to a clean energy economy in Minnesota.
*Photo credit: Tony Webster*