Advancing Electric Utility Infrastructure Efficiency Opportunities

Carl Nelson, Mike Bull

Why this research is needed

The U.S. 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 is significant potential to increase electric supply-side, or electric utility infrastructure (EUI), efficiency by decreasing conversion losses, improving plant operations, and mitigating transmission and distribution losses throughout Minnesota’s electric grid.

A complement to the EUI potential study, this study will focus on policy, rather than technical, solutions: convening public stakeholders to develop pragmatic strategies and put forth recommendations for achieving greater efficiency in Minnesota’s electric utility infrastructure. The parallel study will quantify the potential for EUI efficiency gains.

Project Process and Expected Outcomes

Project staff will arrange four public stakeholder meetings over the next year to provide information and facilitate discussion on EUI technology, regulatory, and financial barriers and opportunities in the state, including:

  • exploring how existing, new, and future generation, transmission, and distribution efficiency technologies can increase system efficiency;
  • addressing how EUI improvements can be leveraged within Minnesota’s policy and regulatory framework; and
  • identifying existing incentives and disincentives for utilities to achieve greater system-wide efficiency, as well as existing cost recovery mechanisms to fund EUI projects.

Stakeholder meetings will help develop a document with concrete strategies and recommendations for capturing greater efficiency within Minnesota’s electric system and clarifying EUI regulatory, technology, and financial issues.

This study will inform policy recommendations for a CARD potential study looking at supply-side energy saving potential. It is also being conducted alongside a CARD potential study looking at demand-side energy saving potential. 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.

Visit the website: Statewide Energy Efficiency Supply-Side Study 

This project is supported in part by a grant through the U.S. Department of Energy. CEE is a subcontractor to the Minnesota Department of Commerce on this project.

Project Info

March 2017- Fall 2017

Explore advancing electric utility infrastructure efficiency opportunities in Minnesota through multiple public stakeholder engagement meetings to facilitate discussion on EUI savings.

Minnesota Department of Commerce (Project Lead)
GDS Associates, Inc.

CEE Contact
Carl Nelson

Supply-Side Potential Study