University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
http://www.umn.edu/
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Energy Transition Lab

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)

DOWNLOAD THE FINAL WORKSHOP REPORT HERE.

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:

 

University of Minnesota Buys Community Solar Subscription

October 28, 2016Megan ButlerFeatured, NewsComments Off on University of Minnesota Buys Community Solar Subscription

The University of Minnesota is tapping into a new source of power. With approval from the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents last week, the U’s Twin Cities campus will purchase two megawatts of community solar garden subscriptions from Minneapolis-based Geronimo Energy, LLC.

“This is an important step for the University and our sustainability efforts,” said Shane Stennes, Director of Sustainability. “We anticipate significant savings of nearly $800,000 over the 25 year contract while supporting the development of new renewable energy resources in the State of Minnesota.”

A community solar garden is a centralized, shared solar electricity facility connected to the energy grid that has multiple subscribers. Currently being built in Dakota County, the community solar garden will produce electricity and renewable energy certificates to be provided to Xcel Energy. The University pays Geronimo fees based on the amount of the subscription and the actual production from the solar garden. The University receives credits from Xcel on the University’s electric bill based upon the production of the solar garden and the University’s subscription share of the garden.

The University has been exploring renewable energy opportunities as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and consumption of fossil fuels. Most recently, this work has focused on accessing the emerging Minnesota solar energy market.

In 2015, the University hired Eutectics®, a local clean energy advisor, to assist the University in assessing risk and determining the financial feasibility of purchasing solar electricity through various mechanisms. At the same time, the University’s Energy Transition Lab and Institute on the Environment collaborated with three other Midwestern universities and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association on a U.S. Department of Energy–funded project called “The Solar Endowment: A PV Investment Roadmap for U.S. Universities and Foundations.” The project created teams of students that worked with University staff and faculty to evaluate solar potential, to develop financial models for solar, and to organize campus outreach.

The University is currently pursuing other renewable options in addition to the community solar subscription. Recently, the institution submitted a letter of support to the Public Utilities Commission for Xcel Energy’s Renewable*Connect pilot program. The proposed program will allow Xcel customers to designate that a portion of their electricity come from a blend of wind and solar resources. Later this month, the University is also releasing a request for proposals for on-campus solar installations at four of its campuses.

Photo Credit: Marufish (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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

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)

The Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance (MESA)

May 20, 2016Megan ButlerFeaturedComments Off on The Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance (MESA)

MESA Logo

About the Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance (MESA)

The Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance (MESA) was formed by interested volunteer stakeholders, based on the shared view that our state and region will be a strong market for energy storage.  We aspire to be a Midwest forum to share knowledge; connect industry, utilities, researchers, policymakers, regulators, experts, and clean energy advocates; and advance smart policies to support energy storage. MESA is convened by the University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab with support from the McKnight Foundation.


Our Mission

To lead in accelerating the development of energy storage in Minnesota and the Midwest Region. Click Here to Read More About Our Vision and Principles.


What We Do


    Our Structure

    Steering Committee

    The Steering Committee represents a broad cross-section of energy stakeholders and experts.  Current members include:

    Ellen Anderson, Convenor                                Massoud Amin, U of MN

    Holly Lahd, Fresh Energy                                 Christine Andrews, Attorney

    Hari Osofsky, U of MN                                     Laureen Ross McKalib, Great River Energy

    Ralph Jacobson, IPS Solar                               Brent Bergland, Mortenson Construction

    Bria Shea, Xcel Energy                                     Lise Trudeau, MN Department of Commerce

    W. John Frederick, Energy Consultant                Matt Prorok, Great Plains Institute

    Phyllis Reha, Par Energy Solutions                    Beth Soholt, Wind on the Wires

    Jenny Edwards, Center for Energy and Environment (CEE)

    John Kearney, MN Solar Energy Industry Association (MNSEIA)

    Rao Konidena, Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO)


    Committees

    • Policy & Markets Barriers and Solutions Committee, focuses on overall energy storage legal, regulatory, policy, and market issues.
    • State Policy Sub-Committee focuses on the Public Utilities Commission and State Legislature.
    • Regional Markets Sub-Committee, focuses on MISO rules and wholesale market policies.
    • Committees in Formation:  Knowledge Sharing and Outreach Committee, Industry & Research Development Committee

    Funding

    Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance (MESA) funding is provided by the McKnight Foundation and the Energy Transition Lab.  The Energy Transition Lab (ETL) is funded by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and the Law School, as well as by grants from the McKnight Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.  ETL is actively seeking additional funding to support MESA’s work.


    Click Here to contact MESA

    Watch Catching The Sun, A Documentary About the Race to Clean Energy, May 26th in Minneapolis

    May 20, 2016Megan ButlerFeatured, NewsComments Off on Watch Catching The Sun, A Documentary About the Race to Clean Energy, May 26th in Minneapolis

    Catching the Sun
    Come see Catching the Sun, a documentary about the race to clean energy, in Minneapolis on Thursday  May 26. Catching the Sun tells the story of the global energy transition from the perspective of workers and entrepreneurs building solutions to income inequality and climate change with their own hands. The documentary is coming to Minneapolis as part of its National Screening Tour which aims to spark new conversations in over 30 cities across the United States! http://www.catchingthesun.tv/seethefilm/ 

    Time: Thursday, May 26 7:00PM – 8:28PM

    Location: St Anthony Main Theater. 115 SE Main St, Minneapolis, MN, US, 55414

    Get Your Tickets here: https://www.tugg.com/events/96340 Read more →

    The University of Minnesota SUN Delegation

    December 22, 2015Megan ButlerFeatured, UncategorizedComments Off on The University of Minnesota SUN Delegation

    Sun Delegation Students Presenting Campus RoadmapThe SUN Delegation is a program of the Solar Endowment project which is funded by the DOE Sunshot Initiative and managed by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association. The University partners other than the University of Minnesota are: Purdue, University of Illinois and the Missouri University of Science and Technology. At the University of Minnesota the project is being led by the Energy Transition Lab with the guidance of the Institute on the Environment.

    The University of Minnesota SUN Delegation is made up of the 52 students from Duluth and Twin Cities campuses. SUN Delegation students include both undergraduate and graduate students interested in encouraging the University of Minnesota to invest in solar.

    The objective of the SUN Delegation is to encourage the University of Minnesota to install, or subscribe to, via community solar gardens, at least 1MW of solar PV for one or more of the University’s five campus locations. Read more →

    Addressing Climate and Peace in Paris and Minnesota

    December 11, 2015Megan ButlerEnergy Transition Blog, Featured, NewsComments Off on Addressing Climate and Peace in Paris and Minnesota

    Energy Transition Lab executive director Ellen Anderson and two seniors from Macalaster College explored connections between global climate change and peace at  in this editorial which originally appeared as an article on the MINNPOST

    Written by: Ellen Anderson, Laura Humes and Kayla Walsh Read more →

    2015 Energy Storage Summit Videos and Presentations

    August 5, 2015Megan ButlerFeatured, NewsComments Off on 2015 Energy Storage Summit Videos and Presentations

     

    The 2nd Energy Storage Summit Will Be Held in Fall, 2016.

    Stay Tuned for more details 

     

    What People Are Saying About The Energy Storage Summit:

      • “Leaving the summit I had my interest peaked and had new resources to look for information”
      • “Let’s form a partnership among the key stakeholders, and roll our sleeves and get to work. How about making MN the leader in Midwest storage?”

    Read More

      Additional Feedback:

       

      • “Good review of what is real and what is 5-10 years away in regards to energy storage”
      • “Speakers represented a good range of stakeholders
      • Overall, great content”
      • “[I liked] the way questions were handled and holding the presentations to their allotted time”
      • “It was fun at the end to do the live polling and then to network at the reception afterwards”
      • “[I liked] the real time gathering of our opinion using the [Poll Everywhere] technology, as a result we were engaged much better”
      • “Hopefully there will be a follow up session”

    Janice Lin Keynote Speaker of the Energy Storage Summit at the University of Minnesota Law School on July 15, 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. © Tony Nelson

    Janice Lin Keynote Speaker of the Energy Storage Summit © Tony Nelson

    The Energy Transition Lab held a summit on July 15 at which national and local experts examined the policy, technology, regulatory, and market drivers that affect energy storage in Minnesota. Click here to view a list of presenters for the energy storage summit.

    Summit participants from a variety of sectors convened to network and participate in a high level discussion about the future of energy storage in the state. Of the more than 200 participants, roughly half were from the private sector, with the rest representing government, academia, and nonprofit organizations. Videos and presentations for the event can be seen below. Read more →

    The Energy Transition Lab is recruiting students to be a part of the University of Minnesota’s Solar University (SUN) Delegation.

    July 22, 2015Megan ButlerFeatured, NewsComments Off on The Energy Transition Lab is recruiting students to be a part of the University of Minnesota’s Solar University (SUN) Delegation.

    The Energy Transition Lab is now recruiting students to be a part of the University of Minnesota’s Solar University (SUN) Delegation. The SUN Delegation will be made up of a student deployment team whose goal is to have the University of Minnesota invest in, or build, at least 1 megawatt (MW) of solar. The student deployment team will help recruit other students, find solar sites, determine investment propositions and present a viable investment plan to the University of Minnesota decision makers. Students will be accepted on a rolling basis but we would appreciate applications by August 10th so we can make decisions on our first traveling opportunity. Send applications to cinax012@umn.edu

    Download Application
    Read more →

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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.