Greenhouse Gas Performance Standards and Energy Efficiency: Minnesota and the Midwest Look Ahead

Leaders from MN’s Division of Energy Resources, the MN Pollution Control Agency, and the energy sector discuss regional solutions to cut emissions from existing power plants.

On September 23, 2013, the EPA announced that it would move forward with action to limit CO2 emissions from power plants, steps that align with President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. While regulations for new power plants will be overseen at the federal level, plans limiting carbon emissions from existing power plants are to be created at the state level and then approved by the EPA. As it stands, states are currently required to submit their implementation plans to the EPA by June 1, 2016. 

State plans can look at a variety of options, including both source-based approaches and system-based approaches. Either way, performance standards are supposed to reflect “the best system of emissions reductions” that have been adequately demonstrated. As states wait to get further direction from EPA as to what performance levels will be allowed, there are many questions that states are asking themselves. 

To look more at the considerations on the table, and the complexity of what decisions and plans need to be made, this webinar will bring together voices from MN’s Division of Energy Resources, the MN Pollution Control Agency, and leaders from the energy sector that have been involved in regional solution conversations.  

If you missed the live webinar, you can click through the slides or download a recording below:


111(d) Q&A (PDF)
Greenhouse Gas Performance Standards and Energy Efficiency (recording)

Target Audience

  • Midwestern clean air and energy regulators
  • Midwestern public utility Commissioners
  • Utility professionals
  • Energy analysts
  • Environmental and energy advocates

Webinar Overview

  • What is 111(d)?
  • What is the energy utility Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) in Minnesota and what are some of its current activities?
  • What questions is the MPCA grappling with internally and what additional guidance does it anticipate from the EPA in June?
  • What regional-based solution do some stakeholders see as a possible path forward?

Presenter Bios

Jessica Burdette
Conservation Improvement Program Supervisor
MN Department of Commerce | Division of Energy Resources

Jessica Burdette, as the Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) Supervisor of the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources, oversees the regulation of over 180 natural gas and electric utility demand-side management programs to ensure achievement of the statewide 1.5 percent energy savings goal. She is responsible for a $200 million annual gas and electric CIP budget which includes overall program administration, utility technical assistance, conservation applied research and development (CARD), and evaluation, measurement, and verification (EM&V) activities.

Before joining DER, Jessica worked as a project manager and energy analyst providing energy management consulting services to develop, manage, and implement utility efficiency and conservation programs in Minnesota. She earned a BA in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Business Administration, both from Iowa State University.

Frank Kohlasch
Air Assessment Section Manager
MN Pollution Control Agency | Environmental Analysis and Outcomes Division


Frank has been with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for 17 years and serves as the Manager of the Air Assessment Section. This section is responsible for operating Minnesota’s air monitoring network, conducting air quality rulemaking, policy development for air quality issues, collecting and analyzing air emissions data, and supporting the MPCA’s Air Quality Permitting Section with air modeling and risk assessment expertise.  

Frank has a background in environmental chemistry and toxicology, with a BA in Chemistry from Fort Hays State University (Hays, KS) and graduate work in analytical chemistry at Washington State University and environmental toxicology at the University of Minnesota. Frank earned his JD from Hamline University School of Law in 2002. Prior to moving to Minnesota, Frank worked at a former Manhattan Project site in central Washington, analyzing the explosion potential of high-level nuclear waste.

Jon Brekke
Vice President of Membership & Energy Markets
Great River Energy


Jon is the vice president of membership and energy markets at Great River Energy. He joined Great River Energy in July 2005, providing leadership for utility markets and contracts, resource planning, member cooperative programs, and rates and economic development.

Brekke previously was vice president of finance and planning with Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative in Jordan, Minnesota and has served on the board of managers of ACES since 2009. Brekke holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business management from the University of Minnesota. He also served two terms as mayor of the city of Shakopee, Minnesota.