- The Great Plains Institute has started an unofficial process in Minnesota to discuss the ongoing transformation of the grid, new methods of utility regulation and the role of the utility of the future.
- The e21 initiative will bring together various stakeholders, including utilities Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power, George Washington University Law School, the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) and "regulatory observers," according to Greentech Media (GTM).
- The process will help these stakeholders develop "recommendations for how to evolve the current regulatory system," Rolf Nordstrom, executive director of the Great Plains Institute, told GTM. "We'll have many different options."
Despite the promise of distributed energy resources, rooftop solar owners "still need that grid, and somebody needs to pay for it," Xcel Energy CEO Ben Fowke said in an interview with EnergyWire. Fowke emphasized the need to get "the rules right" on distributed generation, something which the e21 initiative will address.
Rooftop solar owners are using the grid more than regular customers "because you're importing, exporting and you're asking the grid to do a lot of things," he said. "Our rate design really hasn't evolved as quickly as the technology."
"We all came to the conclusion that if we were going to get further, faster, the regulatory framework would need to evolve," said Nordstrom. "Are the way that utilities make money aligned with what society is demanding?"