CERTS Local Energy Initiatives Meetings - Various times and locations (see site for details on past meetings). Join electric utility representatives, zoning and planning officials, city officials, county commissioners, economic development professionals, renewable energy developers, large end users of electricity, and
The Minnesota state legislature, recognizing that distributed generation will play an integral roll in our energy future required that a standardized set of rules, procedures, and technical criteria for interconnection of distributed generation within the state. To find out more about the ongoing process visit the site listed above which has links to distributed generation rule making and resource planning in other states as well.
The Utility Wind Integration Group has developed online tools to aid distribution planning engineers in determining the technical impacts of commercial scale wind turbines that are connected to distribution feeders on power quality, fault current and line loading.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce is interested in promoting Community Based Energy Development (C-BED) projects in the state of Minnesota. The Department has encouraged the CapX utilities to undertake a study of the West Central Transmission Planning Zone to determine if C-BED projects can be interconnected the the transmission system utilizing existing transmission and distribution infrastructure. The CapX C-BED Interim Report was released in June 2006. You can also view a PDF of the West Central C-BED map and Southeast C-BED map here. The C-BED 800 MW generation map and C-BED 1400 MW generation map are also available for download.
A study performed by Wind Utility Consulting commissioned by the Colorado Governor's Office of Energy Management and Conservation and the Department of Energy's Wind Powering America program to determine the ability to interconnect large wind turbines to a typical distribution system in northeastern Colorado, utilizing Highline Electric Association's distribution grid.
The concept of distributed wind generation has been around since the 1970's and is just now gaining acceptance in the utility sector. Traditionally most forms of generation have been located at some distance from load centers. Energy from these generation plants had to be transmitted to large load centers like Minneapolis and Chicago via high voltage transmission lines. With recent increases in energy demand of large cities and new load centers popping up in areas where there once was no demand for electricity, system planners are looking to distributed generation as a way to quench the energy thirst of 21st century society with smaller dispersed power plants that can supply energy directly to load centers without the construction of new multi-million dollar transmission lines.
Distributed wind generation, wind farms of just one or several wind turbines, have several advantages over traditional large wind farms:
* distributed wind, in many cases, has a lower cost to integrate into the existing grid than large wind farms,
* new turbine technology can add voltage and reactive power support to distribution feeders far from substations, improving system reliability and power quality,
* distributed wind generation, in many cases, can supply power much closer to electrical loads than conventional power plants significantly reducing electrical losses as well as lessening constraints on congested power lines,
* distributed wind generation is a way for community stake holders to control electrical generation, allowing communities to keep energy dollars local and to take control their energy future.
Perspectives on an NWCC/NREL Assessment of Distributed Wind offers a summary analysis of distributed wind generation in Europe and what lessons the European system offers for distributed generation in the U.S. The paper discusses many of the issues and benefits related to distributed wind generation.
The 2006 Minnesota Wind Integration Study found that enough wind power to supply up to 25% of Minnesota's retail electricity sales by 2020 can be reliably incorporated by the electric power system at minimal additional cost. The study was ordered by the Minnesota Legislature. Find a summary slide presentation here.