MN Power Histories

Why Make Grid Histories?

The electric grid is an important part of our current energy transition away from fossil fuels. In order to understand how the electric grid can respond to our current energy transition, it is important to understand how our electric grid developed in earlier energy transitions, and how it operates today.

The links below will take you to a series of "GIS Story Maps." Story Maps is a digital presentation platform that combines text, images, and other media with maps created using GIS (Geographic Information Systems) mapping technology. This platform is used to tell powerful stories on a geographic scale and encourage viewer interaction.

These Story Maps display MN Power Histories, in which student groups explored parts of Minnesota's power history and the ways these stories were told by different groups for different purposes. We hope you enjoy exploring these projects!

Once you get to the Story Maps, you can scroll through each section to read the story, which, in many cases, is paired with interactive maps. Feel free to explore these maps by clicking on their points and other features to see more information.

Note: views and content in the story maps represent student work, and not necessarily the views nor editorial oversight of the University of Minnesota.

Links: If you find any links that don't work, please let us know.

Fall 2022- MN Power Histories

Coming November 2022!


Fall 2021- MN Power Histories

Student travelers work in small groups to explore Minnesota grid history. Click on an image to learn more about the project.
Each project brings a new light to Minnesota's grid history.

The History of Rural Electrification in Minnesota

History of Wind Power in Southern Minnesota

1970s HVDC Controversy

Tribes, Toxic Waste, and Wind Farms

Weather and the Grid: The Connections Between MN and TX Blackouts

History of Sustainable Energy in Minnesota

History of Xcel Energy in Twin Cities

History of Coal in Minnesota

A Nuclear Issue

Community Solar

Fall 2020 - MN Power Histories

Note these links are for DEMO ONLY for now - they will be updated in the coming weeks so they can be viewed by the public.

MN Renewable Energy History

A Fragile Power Grid:
U.S. Blackouts 1965-Present

Minnesota Hydro Power

Hydropower in Minnesota

Power Grid Development:
Minneapolis & New Orleans

Fall 2019 - MN Power Histories

Note these links are for DEMO ONLY for now - they will be updated in the coming weeks so they can be viewed by the public.

Severe Weather Induced Power Outages

Historical Evolution of Power in Minnesota

Coal Power Journey - Minnesota and Coal

The Electrification of the United States: A Story in 5 Acts

Wind Power - Minnesota

Reddy Kilowatt

Nuclear Energy

Wind Power in Southwest Minnesota

Past, Present and Future: The St. Paul Ford Assembly and Hydro Electric Plant (DEMO ONLY)

Spring 2019 - MN Power Histories

Update: Many of the links below had not worked, those have been removed and these samples should work. The other samples will be added back in once their links have been corrected.

A Cultural Exploration of Minnesota's Support of Community Solar

Community Solar in Minnesota

Early Hydroelectric Power in Minnesota