University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
Energy Transition Lab

Minnesota Jobs Project:  A Guide to Creating jobs in Energy Efficiency

For this project, ETL served as an academic partner in Minnesota for a national set of similar reports.  Our role was to advise, connect with stakeholders, and edit the report.  The report included extensive research, interviews, and roundtables with stakeholders and experts.  It analyzed the energy efficiency cluster potential, identified barriers, and recommended state policy options to grow the industry.  Finally, modeling showed that with forward-thinking policies, Minnesota’s energy efficiency industry could support over 26,000 direct, indirect, and induced jobs annually through 2030, a significant increase over the current sector.

Read the full report here

The e21 Initiative

Ellen Anderson of the Energy Transition Lab is a collaborator on a diverse and highly collaborative team led by the Great Plains Institute called the e21 Initiative. The e21 Initiative is working towards the development of a more customer-centric and sustainable framework for utility regulation in Minnesota. This new framework will better align public policy goals, customer expectations, and new technology with utility revenue generation.

Impacts and Outcomes

The Phase 1 report of the e21 Initiative highlights the need for a new regulatory framework in Minnesota in order to align traditional utility business models and regulatory policy with the new realities of Minnesota’s energy marketplace. The goal of the e21 Initiative is to help update the ways that utilities are regulated by encouraging a shift away from a utility business model which provides little customer choice and shifting away from a regulatory system that rewards the construction of large capital-intensive power plants towards one that rewards utilities for achieving performance outcomes such as energy efficiency, reliability, affordability, emissions reductions, and predictable rates.

The Great Plain’s Institute website explains that the e21 Initiative aims to map the transition to a new regulatory model which:

  • Aligns an economically viable utility model with state and federal public policy goals
  • Provides universal access to electricity services, including affordable services to low income customers
  • Provides for fair, reasonable, and competitive rates
  • Enables the delivery of services as well as options that are valued by customers
  • Recognizes and fairly values grid services and “distributed energy resource” services
  • Assures system reliability and enhances resilience and security while addressing customer privacy concerns
  • Fosters investment that optimizes economic and operational efficiency of the system as a whole
  • Reduces regulatory administrative costs wherever possible
  • Facilitates innovation and the implementation of new technologies.


This project is being led by the Great Plains Institute with funding from the Energy Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power. Other key partners include Center for Energy and Environment, Energy Systems Consulting Service, George Washington University Law School, and other key stakeholders.

For more information on the e21 Initiative click here

National Disaster Resilience Competition

Ellen Anderson of the Energy Transition Lab is part of the City of Duluth’s planning team for the National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC) grant proposal which will be submitted to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Outcomes and Impacts

In June, 2012 the city of Duluth received a record 10” of rain triggering the worst flood event in the city’s history. The flooding damaged up to 400 households in Duluth and destroyed millions of dollars worth of infrastructure. This event catalyzed a new focus on resiliency and natural disaster preparedness within the city.

The City of Duluth and the State of Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) are currently partnering to pursue a National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC) grant offered through HUD. The city is pursuing the grant in order to ensure that households with limited resources that were impacted by the flood events of 2012 will have the opportunity to receive assistance to make necessary repairs on their homes. If granted, the funds will be utilized to help residents of the city of Duluth to rebuild after the flooding events of 2012 and to conduct projects related to housing, infrastructure, economic development and the environment in order to increase the city’s resilience to future natural disasters.


Key partners in this project include Ecolibrium3, the City of Duluth, and DEED.



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