An Evening of CMPAS Fellowship in Mankato, MN

New technologies available to utilities and consumers drive constant change, and CMPAS leaders and stakeholders met on October 10, in Mankato, MN to discuss the future, share experiences, and celebrate successes.

In opening remarks, CEO Chris Kopel compared today’s state of the industry with the progress made from the first car he drove as a 16-year old to the 2019 Jeep Compass that CMPAS employees drive for work events. The agency’s aim is to continue to modernize our systems to be like a Tesla version of automobile. He shared that the Agency’s recent successes steer us in a direction that will allow utilities to meet the demands for the multi-directional flow of electricity through local grids.

“We are working with you to ensure the grid meets the needs of customers who want to both pull power from the grid and generate power for the grid,” Kopel said. “That is why we’ve invited Peter Kelly-Detwiler to share with us how advancements in distributed energy resources and microgrid technologies are being used by customers in their homes and businesses. At CMPAS, we know changes are headed our way.”

Guest speaker Peter Kelly-Detwiler, an energy contributor to and former senior vice president of energy at Constellation Energy, sparked the imaginations of the attendees as he shared examples of smart technologies in use. Kelly-Detwiler further explained how the pressure to decarbonize would bring more renewables to the grid, more conversions to electric vehicles, and more behind-the-meter management of water heaters and batteries.

Giving a precursor to his book, Innovation and Disruption in the Power Industry, he presented many examples of future technology trends, including one of battery storage units that are displayed like refrigerators in each apartment of a complex in Utah. These storage units are used for peak demand management and emergency back-up power.

Time will tell how soon residential battery storage will saturate apartments and homes in Minnesota. In anticipation, CMPAS and its members are preparing now and working with utility partners to meet their customers’ needs.