Today marks the release of the highly anticipated report from the Minnesota e21 Initiative (e21 stands for 21st Century Energy System). The Great Plains Institute assembled a diverse range of stakeholders, including utilities, ratepayer advocates, environmental advocates, and independent power producer advocates, to discuss regulatory reform in Minnesota to accomodate anticipated changes to our energy system. The e21 Phase I Report can be found here. A brief summary of the e21 Recommendations is as follows:
(A) Allow a multi-year, performance-based regulatory framework for utilities that wish to opt-in.
(B) Require utilities that opt into a multi-year, performance-based framework to file a comprehensive Business Plan (covering up to 5 years) consistent with a 15-year (or longer) Integrated Resource Analysis (described in (C) below).
(C) Revise Minnesota statutes to allow utilities that opt into a multi-year, performance-based framework to replace the current Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) with a 15-year (or longer) Integrated Resource Analysis (IRA) that guides the utility business plan; and allow utilities to coordinate the filing plans of the Busness Plan and IRA.
(D) The Commission should encourage the use of pilot programs or other methods for testing and evaluating components of a multi-year, performance-based framework.
(E) The Commission should establish clear methods for determining the value of grid services and DER services.
(F) The Commission should review and adjust time-varying rates for energy services so that they send more accurate and effective price signals.
(G) Enable innovative product and service options and technologies by revising Minnesota statutes and regulations, specifically including options for energy-intensive trade-exposed industries.
(H) The Commission and Department of Commerce should use their existing authorities to achieve e21 Principles and Outcomes; and review and recommend revisions to their authorities where needed.
(I) The Minnesota Legislature should appropriate the resources necessary for the Commission and the Department to implement e21’s recommendations.
(J) The Commission and the Department should institutionalize the practice of using a collaborative regulatory process.
(K) The Commission and the Department should look for opportunities to initiate generic dockets.
(L) Initiate forward-looking stakeholder processes.
(M) Develop a transparent, forward-looking, integrated process for modernizing the grid.
(N) Identify and develop opportunities to reduce customer costs by improving overall grid efficiency.
Legislative work and Phase II work to follow in 2015.