Minnesota’s Moonshot: Getting to Deep Decarbonization

Read the original post at https://www.mncee.org/blog/october-2017/minnesota%E2%80%99s-moonsho...


Thanks to forward thinking by policymakers and terrific leadership from state regulators and electric utilities, Minnesota has made great progress in transitioning to a cleaner, more renewable electric supply mix. Since 2005, we’ve reduced carbon emissions in Minnesota’s electric sector by roughly 20%. All our major electric utilities are following the same play book — greater efficiency improvements, retiring uneconomic fossil fuel generation and adding low cost wind and solar at a rapid clip. Ben Fowke, Xcel Energy CEO, just upped the ante on that approach, by unveiling his "2030 Vision" for their upper Midwest utility — 85% carbon-free resource by 2030, reliably and affordably.

However, despite great progress in our electric sector, Minnesota is still falling woefully short of its economy-wide goal to reduce carbon emissions 80% by 2050.

There’s growing awareness that perhaps the only practical pathway to achieving Minnesota’s deep decarbonization goal is through a combination of steps:
1. Deep energy efficiency achievements;
2. Continued decarbonization of our electric supply; and
3. Using that decarbonized electric supply throughout the economy, where it’s cost-effective, reduces total net energy use, and reduces carbon.


In coming weeks, I plan to publish blog posts about each step. First up, I will describe the need for deep energy efficiency achievements. Through energy efficiency, we reduce the amount of wasted energy in our economy so businesses can put more revenue toward more productive use, and so our utilities aren’t creating unnecessary infrastructure just to serve that energy waste. CEE is leading Minnesota’s statewide demand-side energy efficiency potential study, which will refresh our collective assessment of the attainable and cost-effective energy savings available in the electric and natural gas utility industries in Minnesota, as well as how best to capture that potential through policy and programmatic solutions.


Next I’ll write about the need to continue decarbonizing our electric supply as a necessary step in our deep decarbonization pathway. Though we’ve made significant progress in this area, we must go further and much faster. We have a massive opportunity to transform Minnesota’s electric supply — almost 7,000 megawatts of generation — plus more than 95% of MN’s 2015 Power Sector carbon emissions are retireable in the next 20 years. That’s a blink of an eye for utility resource planners, and collaborative planning on how to move forward will be critical. Decisions we make in the next 3-5 years will largely determine whether we will be able to reach our deep decarbonization goals.

Finally, after we’re well on our way to decarbonizing the electric supply, we must strategically use that decarbonized energy source to power areas of the economy that are typically powered by more carbon-intensive fuels. This will include electrification of transportation, space heating, and water heating, when data shows us that doing so will reduce total net energy use, reduce carbon emissions, and save customers money. Strategic electrification provides a great opportunity to significantly and efficiently lower carbon and other harmful emissions outside of the electric sector, while creating business opportunities for utilities and also managing the electric load to better meet the profile of clean, renewable electric resources.

Reducing Minnesota’s carbon emissions 80% by 2050 evokes the collective effort needed for the U.S. to go to the moon. And, as with the U.S. moonshot, it’s critical that those of us who work in this field do so in collaboration — all of us together, working on and working through our issues in good faith to identify the best path forward.

That’s exactly what we’ve spent the past three years learning to do in Minnesota’s e21 initiative, which CEE co-directs with the Great Plains Institute. Through daylong meetings that began in February 2014, a broad-based group of stakeholders who represent business consumers, low-income consumers, renewable energy developers, regulators, clean energy advocates, utilities of all sizes and types, and others have come together to learn about and work through some very difficult issues together.

So far our e21 work has been like astronaut training and lift-off drills. But this new venture — figuring out how to decarbonize at the pace and scale that climate science calls for, while maintaining affordable and reliable energy service — is when things really start to take off...

So the question is: are we going to go to the moon, or not?


To learn more about energy efficient solutions for your home, business, or community visit https://www.mncee.org/

Views: 30

Comment

You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros Forum to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros Forum

Forum Discussions

ENERGY STAR Version 3

Started by Allison A. Bailes III in General Forum. Last reply by Mandy Leazenby yesterday. 10 Replies

Blower door test for small apartment building

Started by Jerry Needham in General Forum. Last reply by John White on Friday. 9 Replies

Radiant Barrier Southeast

Started by Gary Wright in Best Practices. Last reply by yassin chahdi on Thursday. 6 Replies

Latest Activity

Jim Gunshinan posted a blog post

Zero-Energy Homes Are Ready for Mainstream Markets

By Alisa Petersen and Michael GartmanZero-energy (ZE) homes—efficient homes that produce or procure…See More
58 minutes ago
Chris Davis's event was featured
Thumbnail

Webinar: The Latest Facebook + Google Changes and How They AFFECT You! at https://www.crowdcast.io/e/the-latest-facebook-

October 24, 2018 from 5pm to 6pm
As the BIG names in online experience - Facebook + Google - continually make headlines on how they…See More
4 hours ago
David Byrnes's video was featured

Static pressure measurement on a package heat pump

Measuring static pressure on a package unit
5 hours ago
Chris Davis posted an event
Thumbnail

Webinar: The Latest Facebook + Google Changes and How They AFFECT You! at https://www.crowdcast.io/e/the-latest-facebook-

October 24, 2018 from 5pm to 6pm
As the BIG names in online experience - Facebook + Google - continually make headlines on how they…See More
5 hours ago
Profile IconChris Davis, Pamela Denlinger, Vincent Amoroso and 1 more joined Home Energy Pros Forum
5 hours ago
Brett Little posted an event
Thumbnail

The Economics of Zero Energy Homes: Single Family Insights - Free CE Webinar at Webinar Online

October 24, 2018 from 12pm to 1:15pm
Zero-energy (ZE) and zero-energy ready (ZER) homes currently comprise less than 2% of single family…See More
23 hours ago
Mandy Leazenby replied to Allison A. Bailes III's discussion ENERGY STAR Version 3
"I've only ever worked on Energy Star with Habitat for Humanity.  But we have very few…"
yesterday
Colin Genge is now a member of Home Energy Pros Forum
yesterday
Brett Little posted a discussion

How to become a Certified GreenHome Professional - Free Webinar!

The Certified GreenHome Professional (CGHP) training is a way to learn about the basics of…See More
Sunday
Corbett Lunsford's video was featured

Testing Air Quality with Your Nose: Control Your HOMEChem

Charlie Weschler sits down with Grace and Corbett and gives fascinating examples of the complexity of indoor air chemistry. He is an air quality legend, a professor on three continents, and a super nice guy.
Friday
Profile Iconwallace van, Tony kroos and Sunmar Construction, Inc joined Home Energy Pros Forum
Friday
John White replied to Jerry Needham's discussion Blower door test for small apartment building
"Well, I think it completely depends on the purpose and requirement of the test. Testing one unit in…"
Friday
John Nicholas replied to Jerry Needham's discussion Blower door test for small apartment building
"I can use my Duct Blaster on any house that I expect to be less than 1300 CFM through the…"
Friday
Sean Lintow Sr replied to Jerry Needham's discussion Blower door test for small apartment building
"FYI, he is in Illinois where code is 5 (well up until March as noted when it drops to 4)  Heh…"
Friday
John Nicholas replied to Jerry Needham's discussion Blower door test for small apartment building
"Here are two pictures of the duct blaster fan as a blower door.  1 in a door and 1 in a…"
Thursday
John Nicholas replied to Jerry Needham's discussion Blower door test for small apartment building
"What standard are you testing to? Energy Star requires 5 ACH @ 50.   Code is 3.0 etc…"
Thursday
John Nicholas replied to Jerry Needham's discussion Blower door test for small apartment building
"What standard are you testing to? Energy Star requires 5 ACH @ 50.   Code is 3.0 etc…"
Thursday
Franco Oyuela replied to Allison A. Bailes III's discussion ENERGY STAR Version 3
"The ENERGY STARnew homes program has been around since the mid-1990s and is currently undergoing…"
Thursday
Blake Reid commented on Blake Reid's blog post Managing Mold & Humidity (in Hawaii)
"Thank you very much! They're actually the same, though - the one with the dehu cover photo has…"
Thursday
John Proctor commented on Blake Reid's blog post Managing Mold & Humidity (in Hawaii)
"Nice post -- much better than the one that only showed the dehumidifier."
Thursday

Photos

  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2018   Created by Home Performance Coalition (HPC)   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service