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: 23

Comment

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

Join Home Energy Pros Forum

Forum Discussions

VERY TIGHT HOME WITH OVER SIZED AC

Started by Jerry Needham in BPI. Last reply by Dave Taylor on Thursday. 6 Replies

Mini split air conditioners and ceiling fans

Started by Beverly Lerch in General Forum. Last reply by Daniel Baur-McGuire Aug 13. 4 Replies

DIY Filter Solution for an Evaporative Cooler, anyone?

Started by Leslie Jackson in HVAC. Last reply by Daniel Baur-McGuire Aug 13. 6 Replies

Apply now for the Jon Siemen Memorial Scholarship!

Started by Diane Chojnowski in General Forum. Last reply by Quinn Korzeniecki Aug 9. 1 Reply

Latest Activity

Brett Little posted an event
Thumbnail

Green Rater LEED Credential Online Training at Online

September 5, 2018 at 12pm to September 6, 2018 at 5pm
With over 450,000 LEED® for Homes™ spaces worldwide, LEED is the international rating system to…See More
yesterday
Michael Schettine commented on Michael Schettine's video
Thumbnail

AccuFrame Water Test

"The Like button doesn't work on this site..."
Saturday
Franco Oyuela commented on Mike Muras's blog post "Practical Standards to Measure HVAC System Performance" Rob "Doc" Falke 04/17/2006
"It's important to evaluate and inspect a system regularly to make sure it's at optimal…"
Friday
Seventhwave posted an event

HVAC technology enhancements for energy conservation at The Marq

October 4, 2018 from 8:30am to 4pm
Join us to learn how to get the largest energy savings in your commercial buildings. HVAC as a…See More
Friday
Peter Krych replied to Dav Camras's discussion Adding blown insulation to poorly installed batts?
"I agree, it is wasteful to remove and dump old insulation. I still does its job. Air sealing is…"
Friday
Michael Schettine commented on Michael Schettine's video
Thumbnail

AccuFrame Water Test

"With the conversion rate that- air is 800 time LESS dense than water at sea-level…"
Friday
Michael Schettine posted a video

AccuFrame Water Test

In this short video, water is used to visualize air leakage sites that are present in the majority of framed walls in the US. New regulations require better ...
Friday
Sam Feder liked Dav Camras's discussion Adding blown insulation to poorly installed batts?
Thursday
Chris Stratton liked Don Fugler's discussion Choosing a range hood
Thursday
Dave Taylor replied to Jerry Needham's discussion VERY TIGHT HOME WITH OVER SIZED AC
"Jerry, you should look at Buildingscience.com" High Mass Walls" 105 paper for more…"
Thursday
Jill Lindman's 3 events were featured
Thursday
Jill Lindman posted events
Thursday
Diane Chojnowski posted videos
Thursday
Don Fugler replied to Don Fugler's discussion Choosing a range hood in the group Kitchen Ventilation
"Has anyone installed a range hood in an older home with the ducting down to the basement and out…"
Thursday
Profile IconEileen Kraus-Dobratz, VENI MITTAL and Mark A McCrumb joined Home Energy Pros Forum
Thursday
Brian Robinson replied to Dav Camras's discussion Adding blown insulation to poorly installed batts?
"YES, YES, & YES!!! Bat droppings, mouse droppings, dead mice, nuts, seeds, acorns, lack of…"
Wednesday
Matt Peterson posted a blog post

The Importance of keeping Professionally Trained Gas Line Installation Technicians happy and loving their jobs!

Our company is very much a family to us, we strive to bring in and develop great people into great…See More
Wednesday
Profile Iconyanky fogel, Kathleen Krebs, Nicholas Rubenstein and 3 more joined Home Energy Pros Forum
Wednesday
yanky fogel liked Home Energy Magazine's video
Tuesday
Franco Oyuela commented on Shawn Weeks's blog post How Homeowners Can Keep Electricity Costs Down in Summer Months
"Cutting back on air conditioning is also good for the environment because it reduces carbon…"
Tuesday

Photos

  • Add Photos
  • View All

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

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service