Statewide Natural Gas and Electric Efficiency Carbon-saving Potential Study

Mike Bull, Carl Nelson, Jenny Edwards, Dave Bohac, P.E., Christopher Plum

Project Update

The project team is in the final stages of modeling Minnesota's statewide energy efficiency potential. When completed, stakeholders will be able to more fully examine Minnesota's utility-driven energy efficiency potential from 2020 thru 2029. Full project update

Why this research is needed

The 2007 Next Generation Energy Act established energy-saving goals for electric and natural gas utilities that operate in Minnesota. As a result, the Conservation Improvement Program (CIP), an energy efficiency program administered by utilities and overseen by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, was started to help homes and businesses in Minnesota conserve energy and lessen the need for new utility infrastructure. CIP faces a number of challenges and questions as we look towards 2020 and beyond. In particular, increasing codes and standards (generally a good thing for overall efficiency) will decrease opportunity for utility-attributed savings compared to what utilities are counting now.

To see continued success of CIP in Minnesota, the potential for electric, gas, and carbon savings on the demand-side (or customer-facing side) needs to be quantified into the future. The results of this study will not only answer the question of “how much efficiency is available?,” but also attempt to provide a pathway forward for Minnesota to continue its long tradition of achieving significant energy efficiency savings for Minnesota energy customers. 

Project Process and Expected Outcomes

Through deep research and stakeholder collaboration, CEE staff and project partners will clarify Minnesota’s potential for saving energy and lay out key steps to implement recommendations. 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.

To fully explore the state’s demand-side 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 and other key stakeholders. 

Results will quantify the savings potential of utility conservation improvement program efforts and will inform utilities of the market sectors, geographic areas, and specific energy-saving measures that can be targeted to achieve cost-effective energy efficiency statewide.

This study is being conducted alongside another CARD potential study looking at energy saving potential on the supply-side, which will also explore and make policy recommendations as part of a stakeholder process funded through a U.S. Department of Energy grant. Together these studies will help Minnesota consumers and businesses save energy, cut energy bills, and reduce air pollution in Minnesota. 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 Demand-Side Study 

This project is supported by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources through the Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) program, which is funded by Minnesota ratepayers

Project Info

March 2017- August 2018

Inform the MN's CIP decisionmakers regarding which market sectors, geographic areas, utility service territories, end uses, measures, and programs can be targeted, and reach consensus policy recommendations, that will help maximize cost-effective energy efficiency potential statewide.

Optimal Energy, Inc.

CEE Contact
Carl Nelson

Website (multiple resources)
Demand-Side Potential Study

Final Report (Dec, 2018)