Minnesota’s Advanced Grid Planning Process Is Contentious and Slow

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Minnesota’s Advanced Grid Planning Process Is Contentious and Slow

March 29, 2016

Minnesota regulators know that the electric distribution grid is reaching an inflection point driven by changing customer demands. Customers want more choice. They want more solar energy. More than ever, they want unlimited connectivity and for the power to never, ever go out.  

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission wants to meet that challenge head-on and has initiated a grid modernization proceeding. That proceeding, however, was started nearly a year ago. The most significant progress is a newly released staff report that lays further groundwork for the grid modernization initiative.

The staff report moves the ball forward just a little. It defines grid modernization, and based on feedback gleaned from many rounds of comments from stakeholders, it lays out some of the next steps that could be taken.

There is no clear timeline for those steps. The next step will likely be that the staff releases a more in-depth report that outlines what exactly should be in the distribution grid planning requirement. Of course, there will be some pilots.

Minnesota highlights some of the challenges that states encounter as they try to bring utility regulation into the 21st century. It’s all too easy to look at California, Hawaii and New York and declare that a new day is dawning in the construct between regulators and utilities.

SOURCE:  Greentechmedia

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