Collaboration on Utility Regulation and Grid Modernization in Minnesota Recognized by Regional and National Media
Author: Trevor Drake
Two recent articles by regional and national media outlets recognize the leadership and impact of the e21 Initiative’s efforts to develop a more customer-centric and sustainable framework for utility regulation in Minnesota.
Led by the Great Plains Institute and the Center for Energy and the Environment, the e21 Initiative recently completed its second phase with a series of three white papers on performance-based compensation, integrated systems planning, and grid modernization as part of a Phase II Report.
Frank Jossi’s article in Midwest Energy News highlights how e21’s work is moving from the idea to implementation phase, both by e21 and by others who were involved and inspired by e21 ideas.
This includes a new process initiated by Xcel Energy to develop a time-of-use pilot using, in part, early feedback from stakeholders. Importantly, this process is led by Xcel – not e21 – and is an excellent example of a pilot project that can be deployed to meet the changing needs of customers and the electric system.
GPI’s president and CEO, Rolf Nordstrom, who co-directs e21, commented to Jossi that “one constant theme of the e21 Initiative is to encourage pilot projects to allow the state and utilities to experiment a little, try some things without having to commit to them on a huge scale right away.”
The article by Mr. Jossi shares insights on the e21 process and takeaways from past participants and e21’s co-director, Mike Bull, who is director of policy and communications at the Center for Energy and Environment.
e21’s significant work is also being recognized at the national level with a recent article by Utility Dive naming Minnesota as one of the nation’s top five states for utility grid modernization and business model reform. Utility Dive notes that a unique aspect of the e21 Initiative is that it “marks the first time a vertically-integrated market entered the grid modernization challenge.” The article also recognizes the significant work done by the Minnesota PUC on grid modernization and alternative rate designs separate from the e21 process but informed by it.