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Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on Jul 18, 2017

RS Fiber Upgrades: Gigabit Speeds With No Price Increase

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/rs-fiber-upgrades-gigabit-speeds-with-no-price-increase/

As if bringing high-quality connectivity to rural central Minnesota wasn’t enough, RS Fiber Cooperative has recently established the “Cornerstone Member” program. Now that gigabit connectivity is available, existing residential customers can upgrade from 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) with no price increase. As long as they continue service uninterrupted through 2017, they offer stands. General Manager… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 17, 2017

Why Minnesota’s Community Solar Program is the Best

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/minnesotas-community-solar-program/

Update November 2016: From now on, we’ll keep the most recent data on the program’s development in this post I’ve been asked a lot of questions about Minnesota’s community solar program over the past couple years and it’s time to make one thing clear: Minnesota’s program is the best in the country. Why? Because there… Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Karlee Weinmann | No Comments | Updated on Jul 12, 2017

Slow-to-Accelerate EV Charging Program Provides Lessons for Improvement

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/xcel-energy-ev-charging-minnesota/

Minnesota’s largest investor-owned utility, Xcel Energy, last month reported sparse participation in a program designed to deliver value to customers who charge their electric vehicles when it’s most convenient for the grid. But despite its benefits for the grid and cost savings for customers, the initiative appears stuck in neutral.

By April 2017, a year and a half after its launch, just 95 Xcel customers had opted in to the state-mandated electric vehicle charging tariff. With nearly 1,000 plug-in vehicles registered to Minnesota drivers — a bulk of them likely in Xcel’s metro-area territory — participation numbers hover well below reasonable expectations. Why? Continue reading

Article filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on Jun 2, 2017

RS Fiber Starts Connecting Last Four Communities

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/rs-fiber-starts-connecting-last-four-communities/

June will be an exciting month for people living in Brownton, Buffalo Lake, Fairfax, and Stewart in Minnesota. RS Fiber Cooperative will begin construction so those premises can connect to the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network now serving six other communities in the central Minnesota region. This stage of the buildout should bring another 500 subscribers on to… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Karlee Weinmann | No Comments | Updated on May 24, 2017

Minnesota Regulators Eye Subcommittee to Resolve Distributed Generation Disputes

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/minnesota-regulators-eye-subcommittee-to-resolve-distributed-generation-disputes/

Better technology and falling costs for years have buoyed the clean energy economy, steadily putting rooftop solar, energy efficiency, and other distributed energy resources within reach of more U.S. households and businesses. Still, many utilities remain averse to accommodating these amenities despite significant — and rising — demand in the marketplace. The disconnect between what… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Karlee Weinmann | No Comments | Updated on Apr 24, 2017

Xcel Has Room for Renewable Generation on its Minnesota Grid. So Where Is It?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/xcel-renewables-minnesota-grid-puc-2017/

Determining exactly how much local renewable generation can reach Xcel Energy customers in Minnesota hinges in part on how many of these projects the existing grid can accommodate. To that end, the state’s Public Utilities Commission compelled the utility last year to report on more than 1,000 “feeders” delivering electricity to homes and businesses across… Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Karlee Weinmann | No Comments | Updated on Apr 22, 2017

Residential Subscribers in Focus as Minnesota Weighs Community Solar Incentives

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/minnesota-community-solar-adder-puc-2017/

In its filing on providing community solar incentives for residential subscribers, the Department outlined a loose framework for the “adder,” designed to encourage community solar developers to pursue projects accessible that target residential subscribers. The agency pitched an incentive worth $0.025 per kilowatt-hour, to be phased out over time. The residential adder discussion is part… Continue reading

Article filed under Broadband | Written by Hannah Trostle | No Comments | Updated on Apr 12, 2017

Locating Fiber: Local Leaders Can Help State Decision Makers

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/locating-fiber-local-leaders-can-help-state-decision-makers/

Better conduit policy and One Touch Make Ready (OTMR) are two approaches seeing the state legislative limelight recently. With local examples to offer guidance, a few state lawmakers are attempting to implement similar rules. State Governments Follow Local Leads Local communities know their needs best and are best poised to make local decisions. Some have used new conduit policies like in… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Karlee Weinmann | No Comments | Updated on Apr 7, 2017

Getting the Price Right for Local Wind and Solar

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/getting-price-right-for-local-wind-solar/

A federal policy enacted nearly 40 years ago has breathed life into an ongoing argument at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission over utility opposition to a wind-solar hybrid project proposed in the rural city of Red Lake Falls. The law, known as PURPA, was designed to promote local renewable generation by requiring utilities — even… Continue reading

Article filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on Mar 31, 2017

Minnesota Lawmakers Introduce Internet Privacy Protections

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/minnesota-lawmakers-introduce-internet-privacy-protections/

After elected officials in Washington, D.C., voted to allow ISPs to invade their customers’ privacy online, leaders in Minnesota took steps to protect constituents. A recent amendment in St. Paul may be setting some new rules for ISPs operating in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Taking Action In Minnesota Both the state House and Senate… Continue reading