Members Present: Fritz Ebinger, Becky Seikmeier, Christina Mills, Georgie Hilker, Beth Mercer-Taylor, Rodney Larkins, Rick Evans, Don Peterson, Kristen Eide-Tollefson, Mason Sorenson

Staff Present: Annie Levenson-Falk, Brittany Werner


Is there a better word we could use to describe what we’re getting at than “independence?” – “Self-Reliance”

·  Have gotten some feedback that maybe we are focusing too much on renewables and infrastructure (the how) and not enough on the what of the question.

·  Thinking of energy independence in phases

o  Phase I – generating more electrical power within the state

§  Less vulnerable to changes elsewhere

·  We ideally want to integrate resources in such a way that our own system is also reliable and affordable.

·  Maybe not independence but maximizing Minnesota’s energy resources

·  Independence, in this context, entails less dependence. Generating more electrical energy in Minnesota primarily for economic development reasons.

·  “Self-reliant” is the term we’re looking for – COMMITTEE AGREEMENT

o  Wouldn’t want to be self reliant to the point that it interferes with other mitigating factors.

§  For example if it becomes unaffordable businesses and industry will leave

·  Litmus test for policies going forward

o  Will it increase Minnesota’s electrical self-reliance?

o  Will it adversely affect reliability, affordability, and other mitigating factors?

·  If someone from the Sci-Fi Channel came to you and asked you to write a movie about what the electrical system looks like in 2040 – that is kind of what this phase should be like.

Relationship between independence/self-reliance and reliability, other factors

·  Independence doesn’t have anything to do with reliability – interconnectedness on grid serves reliability

·  Goal of independence is to maximize use of MNN resources for economic development

·  We could have reliability with no production in MN – the grid is that good. This is economic development issue

·  Reliability, cost are mitigating factors on self-reliance. It doesn’t trump them. You might be willing to pay a little more, etc., but it’s a balance

·  With regards to reliability we could talk about demand-side management

o  How reliable do you want your power to be?

o  Some customers could go without electricity for short periods of time in exchange for lower prices

o  Customizing the grid so people can make these types of choices

·  Stability (prices and jobs) is also a key issue

o  Raw materials like wind and solar are intermittent but also less vulnerable to the price fluctuations associated with fuel burning plants.

o  Any time you’re burning a commodity, price fluctuates. This includes MN resources like corn stover and wood, commodities that go into production of PV panels, etc.

o  Risks of trade with Canada, other states are very low

·  Flexibility

·  : opens more options to get to self-reliance goal. More options.

·  Transparency: more information about cost, source of electricity, environmental issues. Necessary for options.

Draft Statement (replace independence with self-reliance)

Paragraph 1: Pursuit of electrical independence is smart policy only if such a course makes economic sense: The electrical energy produced from in-state resources must be cost-effective by offsetting any higher energy prices with benefits (i.e. job growth) that tangibly increase the quality of life for Minnesotans.

·  Other benefits:

o  Save on healthcare costs due to air pollution

o  Job growth

·  Could we use reliability and cost as mitigating factors in place of “cost-effective”?

·  AGREEMENT: Insert: “Pursuit of electrical self-reliance is a smart policy, as long as it does not unreasonably compromise reliability or increase costs.”

Paragraph 2: Striving for electrical independence has the potential to spur economic development throughout the state by leveraging Minnesota’s commercially viable natural resources, and keeping monies otherwise spent on out-of-state generation, or the raw materials for energy generation, in Minnesota.

·  Everything is a balance of costs and benefits, how do we bring in the benefits of self-reliance (covered in paragraph 2)

o  Money kept in state

o  Jobs in the state

·  If you do it wrong, drive business out of MN

·  If you do it right, create new opportunities for entrepreneurialism, MN jobs, tech development and deployment


o  Add “encouraging development of technologies and businesses” after “natural resources”

o  Add finding: costs/benefits of electricity aren’t all included in the price

Paragraph 3: The natural resources available for electrical generation in Minnesota are intermittent and variable in nature. In light of this intermittency, Minnesota must produce at least as much electrical energy with in-state resources as it consumes from out of state per our meaning of “electrical independence”; Electrical Independence does not mean Minnesota seeks to isolate itself from the grid.

·  People expressed that they were comfortable with most of this paragraph being gone

·  Resiliency is an important aspect as well – you need enough flexibility to allow to perturbations in the system. Difficult to model, so difficult to have the right policy


o  Replace paragraph 3 with the statement that self-reliance does not mean independence from the grid

o  Move the intermittency line to the “findings” section of the draft. Also a potential issue for Phase 2

Paragraph 4: Electrical Independence offers some protection from price volatility by relying on state resources with little or no fuel costs.

·  Our most volatile source of energy is natural gas, which Minnesota imports as a generation fuel. If we become more self-reliant we reduce our dependence on gas and have some mitigation from potential price volatility. (This is today’s state, hard to predict 30 years out.)

·  Not all MN energy resources have no fuel costs – biomass has a price, for example

·  We would need to have a broad portfolio of in-state resources

o  Broad portfolio of options increases resiliency

o  This diversity would also keep us less susceptible to price changes

Paragraph 5: Environmental benefits that arise from efforts toward “electrical independence” are positive by-products. Use of renewable resources to establish an electrically independent state is by default because Minnesota does not have fossil fuel or uranium resources.

·  AGREEMENT: Replace “are” in the first sentence with “tend to produce”

Paragraph 7: Electrical self-reliance is the first identifiable phase toward comprehensive energy independence. It is a means to fully realize Minnesota’s natural resources with cost-effective renewable energy resources, increase energy security and economic development opportunities throughout the state with advance energy infrastructure, and decrease dependence on non-Minnesotan energy sources.

·  Want to keep the first sentence, could be supported a bit with more discussion of our own reasoning for this

·  Electricity is a universal fuel

·  Do we want to talk about security?

o  Availability and price: the lights will come on, and you’re not going to get gouged for it

o  Self-reliance doesn’t necessarily increase this

·  AGREEMENT: Eliminate the second sentence


·  Add a section at the end: issues to consider for phase 2. This is where we can put discussions of how to accomplish the vision we are setting out. They need not be complete points, just things that came up in discussion and we don’t want to lose going into the next phase.

Next Steps and Evaluation:

·  Take the conversation of paragraph 7 online

·  Type up notes

·  Fritz will attempt to incorporate all changes in the next version of this draft. Will share on CitiZing for discussion before next meeting

·  Will refine the definition more at the next meeting

Scores: 4 – 5

Average Score: 4.38