ORIGINAL REPORTING: Minnesota Takes On Grid Modernization
How Minnesota is approaching grid modernization as a vertically-integrated state; A new PUC report outlines the state's vision for grid modernization in the years to come
Herman K. Trabish, April 13, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Grid modernization efforts are growing across the country.
…Initiatives to optimize the nation’s grid and reform distribution system operations have captured the electric utility industry's imagination in places like California and New York. But the Minnesota Public Utility Commission Staff Report on Grid Modernization lays out the points of agreement and contention on grid modernization between Minnesota’s utilities, regulators, renewables providers, technology vendors, and environmental and consumer advocates. It may point the way toward a twenty-first century grid for other states with vertically-integrated utilities. In a vertically-integrated state, where utilities own the generation, transmission and distribution assets, creating opportunity on the grid for that range of stakeholders can be a special challenge.
The other states that have taken on ratemaking and distribution system reforms have all been deregulated, with utilities divested from generation assets. For Minnesota, there are five key priorities for grid modernization: (1) Maintain and improve the grid’s safety, security, reliability, and resilience at fair and reasonable costs and in accordance with Minnesota’s energy policies; (2) Enable and empower customers and energy options; (3) Move toward efficient, cost-effective, accessible platforms for new products, new services, and new opportunities for distributed technologies; (4) Optimize grid asset use and minimize costs; and (5) Open up comprehensive, coordinated, transparent, integrated distribution system planning… click here for more
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