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De-carbonizing Minnesota Electrical System

We are a power society – that is the kind transferred by electrical circuits. We will probably always be too. Even with advances in energy efficiency we still need to turn on light bulbs, or heat our houses, or refrigerate meat products. Cell-phones, the internet and even electric cars are so much of our daily lives we are unlikely to move away from our energy use in many areas. That said, we want our planet to be sustainable and most of us would like to avoid melting the polar icecaps. To accomplish that, we need to ensure that the energy which is transmitted to our homes does not increase carbon in the atmosphere.

Dr. Elizabeth Wilson and Research Fellow, Melisa Pollak of CSTPP and colleague Dr. Dr. Sangwon Suh, Assistant Professor of Bio- Products Bio-Systems Engineering are researching just that. They have been recommended for a $143,000 grant (state funding pending, with uncertainty due to the financial crises) to study the State’s portfolio of options for reducing carbon, taking into account institutional, regulatory, political, economic and social factors that could influence choices and implementation.

As we more forward it is important to consider both how as a society we can reduce our energy use and how to minimize the release of carbon in the energy that we still need to use.

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
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