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Energy Transition Lab

MESA Hot Topic: What can MN learn from the West Coast?

May 1, 2017Barb JacobsEvents, Featured, MESAComments Off on MESA Hot Topic: What can MN learn from the West Coast?

Recently, the Energy Transition Lab led a Minnesota delegation on a week long tour of energy storage and microgrid projects in California and Washington. On 5-15-17, the Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance hosted a Hot Topic event focusing on the experiences and lessons-learned from this group, comprised of University of Minnesota, Public Utilities Commission, NGO and Utility representatives.

You can watch a recording of the event by clicking here.

You can access the slides shown at the presentation here.

The discussion, facilitated by Ellen Anderson, executive director of the Energy Transition Lab, featured:

  • Commissioner John Tuma, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
  • Mike Kaluzniak, Facilities Staff, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
  • Alison Hoxie, Professor, University of Minnesota-Duluth
  • Amy Fredregill, Resource Planning and Strategy Manager, Xcel Energy
  • Erick Van Meter, Assistant Director for Utility Operations, University of Minnesota
  • Jodi Slick, CEO, Ecolibrium3
  • Joel Tallaksen, Renewable Energy Research Scientist, West Central Outreach and Research Center, University of Minnesota
  • Shane Stennes, Director of Sustainability, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • Troy Goodnough, Director of Sustainability, University of Minnesota-Morris

Is energy storage the game changer we’ve been looking for? Find Out February 23 at 12:00

February 21, 2017Megan ButlerEvents, MESA1

Photo Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory   (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Why is energy storage called the “Swiss Army Knife” of the electric grid?  It can potentially provide many different services to enhance renewable energy, reduce unnecessary infrastructure expenses, and help smooth out demand/supply curves.  But is this a good deal for customers?  Is the technology ready for prime time? And is it just about batteries? Attend the next presentation for the Institute on the Environment’s Frontiers in the Environment series and find out. The presentation will feature a panel discussion moderated by Ellen Anderson, Executive Director, Energy Transition Lab. The panel will include: Brian Burandt, Connexus Energy; Ron Nelson, Attorney General’s office; Ned Mohan, Engineering Professor, University of Minnesota, and Don Fosnacht, Associate Director, Natural Resources Resource Institute. Burandt, an electric cooperative and Nelson, a ratepayer advocate, will discuss the value proposition for utilities and customers.  Mohan and Fosnacht will discuss technology advances in energy storage.Join YouTube Live here for 2/23.

Date: Thursday, February 23 at 12:00 PM

Location: Digital Technology Center, Walter 402, 117 Pleasant St SE, Minneapolis

Report from Marrakech: UMN at the U.N. COP22 Global Climate Negotiations

December 28, 2016Megan ButlerEventsComments Off on Report from Marrakech: UMN at the U.N. COP22 Global Climate Negotiations

COP22 Source: 350.org 

Report from Marrakech: UMN at the U.N. COP22 Global Climate Negotiations

A panel of graduate students and three faculty leaders of the International Climate Change Policy-Morocco COP22 Study Abroad program will discuss their experience and takeaways from the recent U.N. international climate negotiations gathering in Marrakech, Morocco in November 2016, to be followed by Q & A.  Professors Ellen Anderson, Melissa Hortman, and Gabe Chan along with several graduate students will speak and take questions.
Hear first-hand the inside story from the U.N. climate talks in Marrakech from students and faculty-study abroad.  Bring your lunch and join the discussion on the latest global climate negotiations–and what it means for the U.S. and MN.  How does the U.S. election affect international cooperation on climate change? Find out at this student-faculty panel discussion.
Time:  12 Noon-1 pm, Wed. Jan. 25
Location:  Institute on the Environment, LES-380 Seminar Room, (St. Paul campus)
Brown bag:  bring your lunch; beverages and cookies will be provided.

Minnesota Energy Storage Strategy Workshop

November 3, 2016Megan ButlerEvents, Featured, MESAComments Off on Minnesota Energy Storage Strategy Workshop
Photo Credit:

Energy Storage System Photo Credit: Portland General Electric (CC BY-ND 2.0)

In September the Energy Transition Lab convened and hosted an informal Energy Storage Strategy Workshop in partnership with the Energy Foundation and a number of key local and national storage and utility industry leaders. Workshop partner and co-facilitator, Strategen Consulting, provided technical assistance and case studies of storage projects from around the country and is working to analyze specific energy storage use cases in Minnesota.

The goal of the workshop was to identify and prioritize key electric power sector challenges in Minnesota which can potentially be addressed cost-effectively by energy storage. Additionally, the workshop served to inform Minnesota stakeholders about various grid services energy storage can provide such as reliability, peak shaving, efficiency, flexibility, power quality, and renewable energy enhancement.

The workshop was the first of its kind in the nation, bringing together a diverse set of key Minnesota energy ecosystem stakeholders in an informal, small group meeting format to form hypotheses for how energy storage can be locally deployed across electric power sector silos, and to develop methodologies and approaches to evaluate its cost-effectiveness. The Energy Transition Lab and Strategen Consulting envision this informal approach as a potential model that can be expanded to other states looking to evaluate if and how energy storage can be integrated into their electric power sector.

The workshop included several presentations on energy storage which can be accessed below:

See the resources below for additional information:

 

Attend the Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance Hot Topic: Rate Design and Energy Storage

October 25, 2016Megan ButlerEvents, MESAComments Off on Attend the Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance Hot Topic: Rate Design and Energy Storage

MESA Logo

The Energy Transition Lab Invites You to Attend MESA’s Hot Topic: Rate Design and Energy Storage

You are invited to attend the Hot Topic discussion hosted by the Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance (MESA) on rate design and Energy Storage. The discussion will feature a presentation by Chris Villarreal, Director of Policy for the Minnesota Public Utility Commission and Char of the NARUC (National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners) Staff Subcommittee on Rate Design. Chris will talk about the final version of the NARUC Manual on Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Rate Design and Compensation, rate design, and the role of DER going forward including the relevance of rate design to energy storage applications.

This event is part of a series of Hot Topics on Storage hosted by MESA, where energy enthusiasts can indulge their inner energy geek and engage in an in-depth, informal conversation with experts.

Time and Place: This event will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 on Wednesday, November 9 at the University of Minnesota Law School Room 40. The Law School, Mondale Hall, is at 229 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, 55455.

Getting here:  We are located near the West Bank light rail stop on the Green Line.  From the stop, go up the stairs/elevator to 19th Avenue, turn right, and walk to the nearest building on your right, which is Mondale Hall. The University of Minnesota Law School is located on several Metro Transit bus routes including routes 23 7 and 22 as well as the University of Minnesota’s Campus Connector. By car, parking in pay lots at Mondale Hall is available at a variety of locations on the U of M West Bank campus including: Surface Lot C86, north of Mondale Hall, the 19th Ave. Ramp and the 21st Ave. Ramp.  

MESA will provide beverages and light refreshments. This event is free and open to all interested, so feel free to invite friends or colleagues Read more →

Duluth’s Energy Future

August 12, 2016Megan ButlerEvents, Featured, NewsComments Off on Duluth’s Energy Future

Duluth Energy Future Photo

Over the past year, the Energy Transition Lab has been involved in research regarding Duluth and Northeast Minnesota’s Energy Future. By integrating renewables such as bioenergy and solar along with Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems and energy efficiency into Northeast Minnesota’s existing energy system, the region will be able to increase local resiliency while also having positive impacts on the local economy and environment. In total, this research included bioenergy, solar, energy efficiency, district energy systems and CHP projects to show the pathways that could be involved in developing a truly integrated hybrid energy system.

In September, 2016 Ellen Anderson and Research Assistant Megan Butler traveled to Santa Fe, New Mexico to present the Energy Transition Lab's work on Duluth's Energy Future at the Energy Policy Institute's 6th Annual Energy Policy Research Conference.

In September, 2016 Ellen Anderson and Research Assistant Megan Butler traveled to Santa Fe, New Mexico to present the Energy Transition Lab’s work on Duluth’s Energy Future at the Energy Policy Institute’s 6th Annual Energy Policy Research Conference.

The full Duluth’s Energy Future Report is composed of chapters focusing upon three main priority areas which were identified after an extensive stakeholder engagement process in Northeast Minnesota:

  1. An Economic Modeling of Proposed Biomass and Solar Opportunities in Northeast Minnesota 
    Read More
    Working with the Labovitz School of Business and Economics Bureau of Business and Economic Research, the Energy Transition Lab utilized an IMPLAN analysis to model the economic impacts of clean energy projects in the region. This research shows that transitioning from fossil fuels to local and regionally-sourced bioenergy and other clean energy resources has the potential to create jobs and economic growth in the city of Duluth and the heavily forested northeast “Iron Range” region of Minnesota.
  2. Strategies for Transforming Building Stock to Zero Energy 
    Read More
    Partnering with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Sustainable Building Research, we developed a prototype for measuring the impact of energy efficiency measures on public buildings. Using this model we demonstrated how to transform an existing public building into a Net Zero Energy/Carbon building. This research allowed us to provide building owners with actionable, cost-effective strategies for reducing the energy footprint of existing building stock. Using this experience, we worked with local partners to develop recommendations for using energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies to transform the existing building stock in Duluth.
  3. Combined Heat and Power Barriers and Opportunities in Northeast Minnesota. 
    Read More
    CHP is far more efficient than conventional power production, which wastes up to 60% of the energy value of the fuel. If we can capture the heat or thermal energy released during electricity production, it can be a valuable energy resource instead of being released to the atmosphere as wasted heat. Through interviews with organizations that have recently converted to CHP in Minnesota as well as organizations in Northeast Minnesota currently considering CHP, the Energy Transition Lab evaluated and developed recommendations for the legal, regulatory, siting, and other platforms that will enable CHP’s development. 

Read the Full Report

Together, these three areas of research serve to provide a valuable resource for the City of Duluth and Northeast Minnesota to engage key stakeholders in a conversation about how they envision Northeast Minnesota’s energy future. This research will help the city of Duluth take some transformational steps towards a cleaner, more sustainable energy system. In this way Duluth, a blue-collar, industrial, coal-dependent, and extreme climate city in America’s heartland, can also serve as a model for energy transition in the United States by showing that it is possible to transition to cleaner energy systems and benefit the local economy.

Cover Photo Credit:  Jim Brekke

Community Storage Initiative 2016 Leadership Forum

July 7, 2016Megan ButlerEventsComments Off on Community Storage Initiative 2016 Leadership Forum
Photo Credit: Advanced Vehicle Technology

Photo Credit: Advanced Vehicle Technology

The Community Storage Initiative

2016 Leadership Forum

July 20-21, 2016

University of Minnesota Law School

In recent months, it has become increasingly apparent that overall interest in energy storage is rapidly accelerating.  From the introduction of the Tesla ‘Powerwall’ to a recent RMI Report entitled “The Economics of Demand Flexibility”, there is an emerging consensus that the country needs a wide variety of dynamic energy storage resources.  At the same time, the Community Solar business model has experienced growing acceptance by the electric utility industry as a valid renewable production strategy.  These realizations have led directly to the recent announcement that NRECA, NRDC, EEI, APPA and PLMA have launched a coordinated market development effort entitled ‘The Community Storage Initiative’.  Following the recent release of The Brattle Group research, “The Hidden Battery” (sponsored by NRECA, NRDC and PLMA),The Community Storage Initiative is an inclusive national market development collaborative that has garnered the support of the electric utility industry, the environmental community, the renewable energy industry and the public policy community. 

This Leadership Forum is designed to engage you as leaders in a productive dialogue on how we can best make use of the Initiative to further our mutual goals. Discussion will include:

  • Implementing cost-effective community storage technologies NOW – electric water heaters, electric vehicles, batteries, ice storage, space heat and other behind and in front of the meter storage technology!
  • What can The Community Storage Initiative do for you?
  • How can we engage consumers and create messaging around the concept of “community storage”?
  • What role can CSI play in advocacy, the ability to speak with one voice, and the ability to collect data on the industry?
  • How do we build a Community Storage network to share research and business models?
  • What are the next steps?  Where do we go from here?

Visit The Event Website To Register Today: https://utilityexchangeorg.wildapricot.org/event-2265461

Attend MESA’s First Hot Topic Brown Bag: Assessing the Capacity Value of Energy Storage

June 23, 2016Megan ButlerEvents, MESA, UncategorizedComments Off on Attend MESA’s First Hot Topic Brown Bag: Assessing the Capacity Value of Energy Storage

MESA Logo

The Energy Transition Lab Invites You to Attend MESA’s First Hot Topic Brown Bag: Assessing the Capacity Value of Energy Storage

Register Today

You are invited to attend the Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance– MESA’s first Hot Topic Brown Bag Lunch discussion on assessing the capacity value of Energy Storage. The discussion will focus on how to best assess the value of energy storage as it relates to capacity resource adequacy in Minnesota, how capacity planning and adequacy is conducted at both the MISO level and the distribution utility level, and approaches that have been used for renewable resources (wind/solar) that may be applicable to energy storage. Discussion leaders will include Rao Konidena (MISO), John Reinhart (MISO), Alan Gleckner (Fresh Energy), John Frederick (Energy Storage Consultant), and a representative from Xcel Energy.

This event is intended to be first in a series of Hot Topics on Storage, where energy enthusiasts can indulge their inner energy geek and engage in an in-depth, informal conversation with experts.

Time and Place: This event will be held from 11:30 to 1:30 on Monday, July 11 at the University of Minnesota Law School Room 50. The Law School, Mondale Hall, is at 229 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, 55455.

Getting here:  We are located near the West Bank light rail stop on the Green Line.  From the stop, go up the stairs/elevator to 19th Avenue, turn right, and walk to the nearest building on your right, which is Mondale Hall. The University of Minnesota Law School is located on several Metro Transit bus routes including routes 23 7 and 22 as well as the University of Minnesota’s Campus Connector. By car, parking in pay lots at Mondale Hall is available at a variety of locations on the U of M West Bank campus including: Surface Lot C86, north of Mondale Hall, the 19th Ave. Ramp and the 21st Ave. Ramp.  

This will be a brown bag lunch event. MESA will provide beverages and cookies but please bring your own lunch. Some suggestions for locations nearby to pickup a take out lunch include:

This event is free and open to all interested, so feel free to invite friends or colleagues

Register Today

Featured Image Photo Credit: Sandia Labs

 

Energy Storage in Minnesota and Beyond

May 27, 2016Megan ButlerEvents, FeaturedComments Off on Energy Storage in Minnesota and Beyond

On Thursday February 11th, the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society (MRES) hosted the Energy Transition Lab Executive Director Ellen Anderson and Research Assistant Megan Butler for a presentation on Energy Storage in Minnesota and Beyond. The full presentation can be seen below:

The presentation provides an overview of the current work being done on Energy Storage in the state as well as how energy storage can fit into Minnesota’s future energy system. The talk also provides a broad overview of current applications for energy storage technology as well as how policy, technology, regulatory and market drivers affect the future of energy storage in Minnesota and how people can get involved in the new Minnesota Energy Storage Collaborative.

Photo Credit: Sandia Labs (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

June 15 Power Pairings Event: Using solar and storage to enhance community preparedness

May 23, 2016Megan ButlerEvents, MESAComments Off on June 15 Power Pairings Event: Using solar and storage to enhance community preparedness

St.-Paul-skylineAlways Ready: Using solar and storage to enhance community preparedness.

Fresh Energy’s next Power Pairings Event will be held on Wednesday, June 15 from 7:00 to 8:30 AM.

When: Wednesday, June 15, 7:00-8:30 AM

Where: Town and Country Club, 300 N Mississippi River Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55104

Cost: $30 Fresh Energy members/Government employees/Students, $45 General admission

*Early Bird tickets available for $10 off through May 31. Registration will be open through Thursday, June 9.* 

Register Today

Click Here for more information 

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Administration
The Energy Transition Lab is a strategic initiative of the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment in partnership with the Law School.
Funding
Funding for the Energy Transition Lab is primarily provided by the Institute on the Environment. Other funders include McKnight Foundation, Energy Foundation, Carolyn Foundation, US Department of Energy, Wind Energy Foundation and the University of California Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute. Support for energy storage work is provided by the Minneapolis Foundation, Great River Energy, Mortenson Construction, AES Corporation, Next Era Energy Resources, and General Electric. Funders have no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of any manuscript.