eLab Accelerator 2014

Minnesota e21 Initiative

Project Objective

Develop a new regulatory framework that addresses the challenges of a changing energy economy and technology landscape while also taking advantage of opportunities presented.

Project Team Members

Donna Attanasio, Sr. Advisor for Energy Law Programs, George Washington University Law School
Carolyn Brouillard, Manager of Regulatory Policy & Strategy, Xcel Energy
Mike Bull, Director of Policy and Communications, Center for Energy and Environment
Amy Liberkowski, Manager of Pricing and Planning, Xcel Energy
Dan Lipschultz, Commissioner, Minnesota Public Utility Commission
Rolf Nordstrom, President & CEO, Great Plains Institute
Susan Peirce, Minnesota Department of Commerce, Public Utilities Rates Analyst
Matthew Schuerger, President, Energy Systems Consulting Services, LLC

Project Description

Major changes are transforming the energy economy and technology landscape of Minnesota and elsewhere, impacting utilities and their customers. The e21 Initiative aims to develop a regulatory framework that addresses the challenges of this transformation while also taking advantage of emerging opportunities. At Accelerator, e21 will convene a broad set of stakeholders who can support Minnesota in taking on this challenge and in continuing to lead in shaping the 21st century energy system.

Progress Made to Date (pre-Accelerator)

The e21 Initiative is at the end of the first of three project phases. Phase I includes working with key Minnesota stakeholders to launch an action-oriented process to identify specific, practical steps for better aligning utility business strategies, regulatory incentives, and rates with the state’s public policy goals. The project goals for e21 were developed in part through consultation with key interests in Minnesota including MN PUC commissioners and staff, the Governor’s office, Department of Commerce officials, and legislative leaders. Phase II of the project will focus on developing specific recommendations for evolving the statutory and regulatory framework in MN, as well as the utility business model. Phase III will focus on regulation and business model implementation.

Post-Accelerator Outcomes

At Accelerator, the e21 team reviewed their process and the key questions they are exploring to align regulatory incentives with utility business models in Minnesota. As part of the working sessions, the team developed draft agendas for their meetings with stakeholders and identified possible “blind spots” with plans to address those. In addition, there were many lessons learned from the eLab collaborative process, including the need to create a shared understanding of the current reality and examine visions for what the future could look like.