eLab Accelerator 2019

Great River Energy Comprehensive Planning

Project Objective

The objective of the Great River Energy (GRE) Demand-Side Resource Planning team is to establish a foundation which will allow energy efficiency, demand response, electrification, and other demand-side resources to be optimally accounted for in GRE’s integrated resource planning process. Such a foundation would include both principles and best practices for demand-side resource modeling as well as an ongoing dialogue with Minnesota stakeholders.

Team Members

  • Jeff Haase, Manager, Member Services & End Use Strategy, Great River Energy

  • Zac Ruzycki, Senior Resource Strategist, Resource Planning, Great River Energy

  • Jenny Edwards, Director Innovation Exchange, Center for Energy and the Environment

  • Andrew Twite, Senior Policy Associate, Energy Markets, Fresh Energy

  • Keith Dennis, Senior Director, Strategic Initiatives, National Rural Electric Association

  • Justin Jahnz, Manager, Energy Services and Strategic Projects, East Central Energy

  • Steele Waseca Cooperative Electric, East Central Energy

  • Steve Nordahl, Application Engineer, East Central Energy

Project Description

In preparation for its next integrated resource plan, which is due in April 2021, Great River Energy’s (GRE) is transitioning to a new capacity expansion model. Ideally this model, will help to address several important and emerging planning questions including:

  • What is the best way to characterize electric load growth associated with new technologies?
  • How can a utility deploy an optimized energy efficiency and demand response portfolio that creates more comprehensive consumer benefits while fully taking advantage of the market dynamics that are the result of a large renewable energy portfolio?
  • Can demand response be characterized as a peaking resource?

The GRE Comprehensive Resource Planning team will explore these question and determine implications for upcoming modeling and integrated resource planning processes.

Progress Made to Date


GRE has a long history of working with member-owners, regulators, and community and environmental organizations on efficient resource planning. Two outcomes of that work are: i) an industry-leading demand response system capable of shedding up to 14% of GRE’s summer peak load and ii) a voluntary commitment to 50% renewable energy by 2030.

In its most recent IRP filing, Minnesota PUC provided several orders points to GRE on the treatment of energy efficiency and demand response in future IRP filings. This team was motivated in part by the PUC’s requests regarding updated treatment of demand-side resources.


During Accelerator, team-members explored the role of energy efficiency, demand response, and electrification in integrated resource planning. For each end-use technology, the team identified the most-important emerging  trends and explicitly discussed how these end-use technologies would be incorporated into planning. Everyone agreed that the planning and implementation process will look different as customer-sited resources become more important. They determined some best practice and talking points for communicating the new reality to key stakeholders. Finally, participants aligned on a path-forward for further collaboration throughout the IRP planning process.