News Release: CEE to Help Identify MN Potential for Energy Efficiency On Demand and Supply Sides

Mar 17, 2017

MN Dept of Commerce seeks deeper understanding of 
statewide energy efficiency potential to inform utility program strategies

Minnesota Department of Commerce has awarded a Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) grant to the Center for Energy and Environment’s project team for an 18-month Statewide Natural Gas and Electric Energy Efficiency and Carbon Saving Potential Study. The study will inform the state’s Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) decisionmakers regarding which market sectors, geographic areas, utility service territories, end uses, measures, and programs can be targeted to help realize cost-effective energy efficiency potential statewide. 

Grant funds will support the work of CEE and project partners Optimal Energy, Seventhwave, ACEEE, and ESource

“Looking broadly at Minnesota’s energy system can reveal new opportunities for utility-funded conservation improvement programs,” explains CEE’s director of program development Carl Nelson. “Through deep research and stakeholder collaboration, we’ll clarify our state’s potential for saving energy and lay out key steps to implement our recommendations. Our study findings should inform state energy policy as well as utility planning and development.”

To fully explore the state’s “demand-side” (or customer-facing) energy efficiency potential, the project team will offer multiple opportunities for stakeholder participation to ensure that the study produces actionable results for both near-term and long-term CIP implementation. All strategies and analysis will be informed by the direct engagement of Minnesota’s electric and natural gas utilities along with other key stakeholders. Working comprehensively, the project team will investigate emerging technologies and measures in support of energy savings with research into program delivery, key market sectors, and policy approaches. 

Supply-side parallel studies

The CEE-led demand-side study complements two parallel supply-side studies — one funded by the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the other by the U.S. Department of Energy — that will also be informed by CEE’s participation. 

Guided by project lead GDS Associates, the supply-side studies on Electric Utility Infrastructure will:

  1. Quantify Minnesota’s potential to improve efficiency and reduce carbon emissions through electric utility infrastructure improvements (Minnesota CARD grant); and
  2. Explore advancing electric utility infrastructure efficiency opportunities in Minnesota through stakeholder engagement (U.S. Department of Energy grant).

Although similar in intent to the demand-side study, the supply-side team will engage a more compact group of stakeholders and focus on a precise set of measures with potential for greatest impact, putting a heightened emphasis on statistical sampling and modeling. 

Each study will run its course between now and fall 2018. CEE and partners will present final analysis upon each study’s completion, in addition to periodic interim updates. 

Demand-side potential study:

  • Statewide Natural Gas & Electric Potential
    Funded by: MN Department of Commerce
    Lead: Center for Energy and Environment 
    Partners: Optimal Energy, Seventhwave, ACEEE, ESource
Supply-side studies:
  • Statewide Electric Utility Infrastructure Potential
    Funded by: MN Department of Commerce 
    Lead: GDS Associates
    Partners: CEE, Cadmus Group, Demand Side Analytics
  • Advancing Electric Utility Infrastructure Opportunities
    Funded by: U.S. Department of Energy
    Lead: MN Department of Commerce
    Partner: GDS Associates, CEE

Sign up for updates

Recieve updates about study progress and gatherings where you can provide input on key aspects, please sign up at:

About CEE

The Center for Energy and Environment is a Minnesota nonprofit that discovers and deploys the most effective energy solutions for a healthy, low-carbon economy. CEE provides practical energy solutions through a range of practical and cost-effective programs to help homeowners, businesses, nonprofits, and governments cut energy waste and save money.

Media contact: Tim Hanrahan, 612-244-2419,

Related Links
Project websites
Commerce awards 2016-17 CARD grants to identify ways to maximize energy savings in MN (PDF)
Conservation Applied Research and Development grant program