Minnesota regulators seek input about modernizing grid



Minnesota's regulators called on utilities to open a dialogue about changing the regulatory and business models in the state, Minnesota PUC Commissioner Nancy Lange told people attending the Assn for Demand Response's (ADS) town meeting in Washington, DC, yesterday. Minnesota's regulations do not allow solar aggregation, third-party solar leasing or third-party providers of power, she said, and as a result the state is "in a more closed system" compared with New York's model, Lange said.

New York early this year released an order for "track one" of its statewide "Reforming the Energy Vision" (REV) plan (SGT,Feb-27).

QUOTABLE: They are really expanding and opening up the distribution platform in New York in a way that is very innovative. In Minnesota, for us to go to a system like that would be like going from Earth to Mars, but I am very cognizant as a regulator that our utilities are desirous [for change] and they need to change, and they need us as partners in that change. For a wise investment and the continued good for the system, it's incumbent upon us to help utilities change, and so we're exploring regulatory models that can help us make that transition.– Minnesota PUC Commissioner Nancy Lange

The regulators want utilities to talk with them about changes, and to propose partnerships and pilot projects, Lange said. Regulators should also be wary of pushing DG onto the grid just for its own sake when it does not add value, she added.

And they should focus on understanding the distribution grid better, Lange said. "The distribution system is kind of a black box, at least in our state.

"We need to understand the capabilities, maximize system value and customer value. Just because something is distributed doesn't make it inherently good."

© 2015 Modern Markets Intelligence, Inc. IMPORTANT: This article was reproduced from the May 28, 2020 issue of Smart Grid Today with the limited permission of the owner. To view the full story on Smart Grid Today’s website, please visit http://www.smartgridtoday.com/members/Minnesota-regulators-seek-input-about-modernizing-grid.cfm.

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