Geotargeted Distributed Clean Energy Initiative

Jenny Edwards, Rabi Vandergon, Josh Quinnell, Ph.D., Jon Blaufuss, Stacy Boots Camp

Non-Wires Alternatives

Geotargeting, more commonly known as non-wires alternatives, involves devising solutions to capacity upgrades that are applied in a targeted, geographic manner. This approach provides Minnesota utilities with the opportunity to serve customers by using clean, distributed energy resources, such as efficiency, demand response, battery storage, and distributed renewable energy to limit needed transmission and distribution infrastructure upgrades due to load growth.

In addition to deferring capital investments, non-wires alternatives can also mitigate environmental emissions, such as greenhouse gases, mercury, and fine particulates. Traditional utility planning involves forecasting electric load growth by service area and building larger systems to supply areas where electric demand growth will eventually exceed installed capacity. However, a larger capacity grid may not always be the best or most cost-effective method to reliably meet electric demand.

The Pilot

This project tested non-wires alternatives as an effective way to reduce the costs and environmental impact of the electric utility sector by determining the potential for distributed energy resources to replace planned system upgrades.

A non-wires pilot ran in two communities within Xcel Energy’s Minnesota service territory between June 2019 and June 2020. In addition, we tested the ability of existing demand response to mitigate peaks and support large scale solar integration during late afternoon ramping. Xcel Energy’s existing energy efficiency and demand response programs provided the base for these efforts and were coupled with enhanced rebates and targeted marketing to achieve the high participation necessary for success.  

Final Report

Executive Summary (PDF, 6 pages)
Full Report (PDF, 69 pages)
Appendix A: Demand Response Field Test Protocol and Results
Appendix B: Community Based Social Marketing Lessons from Energy Efficiency Case Studies
Appendix C: Technical Detail  

Additional Papers and Presentations

Paper for ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings Presentation for AESP 2019 Summer Conference Presentation  

Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

Project Info

June 2017 – February 2021

Xcel Energy

Funding provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources

To test the viability of non-wires alternatives as a concept for utilities in Minnesota

Non-Energy Benefits
Non-wires alternatives may reduce carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and sulfur dioxide emissions.
Utility Implementation
Results from this project will help Minnesota electric utilities evaluate the viability of non-wires alternatives within the current regulatory framework

  • Assess project sites
  • Perform a needs assessment
  • Identify distributed energy resource solutions
  • Procure distributed energy resource programs
  • After project planning, Xcel Energy will dispatch and operate the programs

Project Team

Related Links
Video brief on distrubution planning (10/2/19)
Xcel Energy: 19-666
Otter Tail Power: 19-693
Minnesota Power: 19-684
Dakota Electric Association: 19-674