About the Projects

The electric power industry is the largest single user of electric power, higher than any other industry, consuming an estimated 12% – 15% of the nation’s electricity production. Losses occur from plant auxiliary loads, transmission and distribution, and substation consumption. There are two projects currently underway to examine opportunities for improving the efficiency of electric utility infrastructure systems in Minnesota. 

Electric Utility Infrastructure (EUI) Potential Study: This study will examine the potential for EUI efficiency projects (also known as supply-side efficiency); that is, utility-owned projects that improve the overall generation, transmission, and distribution efficiency of the electric system. This study will also explore and make policy recommendations as part of a stakeholder engagement process. 

Stakeholder Engagement Project to Clarify EUI Policies: This project will consist of four large stakeholder meetings to engage interested parties about EUI efficiency policy issues. The goal is to clarify the existing policy landscape as it affects EUI projects. The findings from the project will be developed into an Action Plan to drive EUI efficiency implementation by leveraging effective policy tools (primarily through the existing Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) framework).

Comprehensive Approach

Project partners will work with stakeholders to help quantify the potential for improving efficiency and reducing carbon emissions through EUI improvements in Minnesota. Researchers will examine the potential to increase efficiency by decreasing conversion losses, improving plant operations, and mitigating transmission and distribution losses throughout Minnesota’s electric grid.

EUI efficiency studies are an emerging field, so the team will have to draw on all stakeholders to ensure useful, accurate results. Because of the atypical nature of the project, adjustments to the studies methodology may be necessary as the research progresses. The team will work to engage stakeholders with an emphasis on coordinating with other ongoing projects.

The potential study is funded by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources, through the Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) program. The stakeholder engagement project is also supported through a State Energy Program Competitive Award through the U.S. Department of Energy. This supply-side study is being conducted alongside another CARD funded potential study looking at energy saving potential on the demand-side. Together these studies will help Minnesota consumers and businesses save energy, cut energy bills, and reduce air pollution. They are intended to maximize energy efficiency in homes, commercial buildings, power companies, farms, new construction, and much more.

GDS Associates (GDS) is the lead researcher for these projects. 

Study milestones