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Pro/Con: Edwardsport Power Plant; Duke Energy (IN) Pres. Doug Easamann v. Columbus (IN) Attorney Michael Mullett December 10, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Duke Energy, Edwardsport IGCC Plant, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), Uncategorized.
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Duke Energy Indiana 2013 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) Stakeholder Engagement Workshop Dec. 5, 2012 November 30, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Duke Energy, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).
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Dear IndianaDG Readers:

Just when I was hoping things might slow down for the Holidays, energy/utility events and activities seem to be accelerating. Please find below information about Duke Energy Indiana’s Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) upcoming “stakeholder engagement process”. To get a flavor of what is involved and/or contained in an electric utility’s IRP please scroll down to download a copy of Duke’s last IRP from 2011.  You can also find a copy of this document on-line at http://www.duke-energy.com/pdfs/2011_Indiana_IRP_Plan.pdf.

Two other things happened yesterday involving  Duke Energy yesterday:

Don’t blink or you might miss something!

Laura Ann Arnold

Duke Energy Indiana has established a stakeholder engagement process to inform our 2013 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) in compliance with the proposed Commission IRP rule. Duke Energy Indiana has hired Dr. Marty Rozelle of The Rozelle Group, Ltd. to help design and facilitate the IRP stakeholder engagement process. She is an independent public participation specialist who regularly works with companies, government agencies, and local communities on stakeholder outreach activities.

Objectives

Duke Energy Indiana has four main objectives for this stakeholder engagement process.

  • Listen: Understand our stakeholders’ concerns and objectives.
  • Educate: Increase stakeholders’ understanding of Duke Energy Indiana’s current and future energy situation, challenges, choices, complexity of resource decisions and need for flexibility.
  • Feedback: Provide a forum for productive stakeholder feedback on specific topics at key points in the IRP process to inform Duke Energy Indiana’s decision-making.
  • Comply: Comply with the proposed Commission IRP rule.

Advisory process overview

Duke Energy Indiana will seek participants’ feedback throughout the IRP development process. At the core of the process is a series of four workshops.

Workshop 1: Dec. 5, 2012

Workshop 2: January 30, 2013

Workshop 3: April 2013

Workshop 4: August 2013

Integrated Resource Plan Overview

Duke Energy Indiana will be filing its 2013 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for the State of Indiana with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission by November 1, 2013. This plan, a 20-year forecast required by the Commission, outlines how we will serve our existing and future customers in a reliable and economic manner. Duke Energy Indiana uses the resource planning process to identify the best options to serve customers’ energy and capacity needs in the future. As reference, the 2011 Duke Energy Indiana’s IRP is available for download through the link in Related Links above right.

Download HERE > 2011_Indiana_IRP_Plan_Duke Energy Indiana

IBJ.com: Indianapolis Airport could land second solar-energy farm; What’s the status of first solar farm? Status IPL FIT? November 26, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), IPL Rate REP.
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Dear IndianaDG Readers:

It is likely that many people missed this story by the Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ) on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Although Chris O’Malley does not spell it out, this is all about proposed projects using the Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) Rate REP or voluntary feed-in tariff (VFIT).

There has been considerable speculation that there is both a second and third possible solar farm at the Indianapolis Airport. Many of you have already shared with me the rumors you have heard about who might be involved and where. I can’t or won’t share those rumors here on this blog right now.

There is also considerable speculation and rumor about what is causing the delay in breaking ground to begin construction of the first solar energy farm at the Indianapolis airport. I will be writing more about the status of the IPL Rate REP program shortly.

I will share with you the rumors I have heard if you tell me the rumors you have heard. Deal? Contact me via Laura.Arnold@IndianaDG.net or call (317) 635-1701.

Laura Ann Arnold

Original article: Airport could land second solar-energy farm | 2012-11-21 | Indianapolis Business Journal | IBJ.com.

by Chris O’Malley

November 21, 2012

The Indianapolis Airport Authority is in talks that could lead to a second solar farm at Indianapolis International Airport.

Discussions are taking place even as the initial solar farm has yet to get off the ground near the Interstate 70 airport exit.

Airport officials won’t identify the firm or firms that would build a second solar farm.

“Negotiations are still in progress,” said authority spokesman Carlo Bertolini.

The authority did not invite requests for proposals that might give details about  the second farm, and cryptically describe it as “more of a prospective tenant situation.”

The second farm would consist of 60 acres, or the same amount as the first solar farm announced last year.

“Regarding the location, the plan is that the second farm would be in the same vicinity as the first, but the boundaries have not been finalized,” Bertolini added.

The first farm, announced in September 2011, has yet to show any signs of construction. ET Energy Solutions, a local consortium leasing 60 acres from the airport authority for the project,  said last year that the 41,000 photovoltaic panels were expected to be operating in mid-2012.

Information posted on ET Energy’s website said the farm had been expanded to 75 acres and construction would begin in early winter, pending approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. The IURC granted approval Sept. 5.

Airport officials referred questions to Kurt Schneider, vice president of ET Energy partner Johnson-Melloh Solutions, a local mechanical contractor.

Schneider did not return phone calls seeking comment about the delay for the proposed $35 million project, but sent an e-mail late Wednesday morning saying that construction would start March 31, and that financing for the project was not an issue.

Other ET partners are local companies Schmidt Associates and Telamon Corp.

The first farm is expected to become one of the largest airport solar farms in the country, capable of producing more than 15 million kilowatt hours of power, or enough to power 1,200 average houses for a year.

The power would be sold to Indianapolis Power & Light, with the airport authority expecting to collect about $316,000 annually in lease payments through its agreement with ET Energy.

It’s likely a second farm also would generate substantial revenue for the airport authority, which is itching to find additional non-airline revenues as passenger traffic remains sluggish.

A second solar farm operator might be under pressure to secure a contract sooner than later.

IPL said in July that, beginning next March, it would throttle back on buying power from new customers that generate it from renewable sources. The utility will honor existing contracts for the duration of their terms.

IPL pays from 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity from large wind turbines to 24 cents per kilowatt hour for solar projects. That’s effectively more than its own cost of generating power.

The utility noted at the time that ratepayers shoulder the cost of buying renewable power, and paying more for renewable power would put additional pressure on them at a time when rates are expected to rise due to new federal environmental compliance rules.

Court overturns regulators’ ruling on payments for Rockport (IN) coal-gas plant October 30, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Uncategorized, Vectren.
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UPDATE:  Link to Indiana Court of Appeals decision issued this morning– http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/10301201par.pdf

 

Original article: http://www.indystar.com/article/20121030/BUSINESS/121030048/Court-overturns-regulators-ruling-payments-Rockport-coal-gas-plant?odyssey=mod|breaking|text|IndyStar.com

2:51 PM, Oct 30, 2012   |

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This coal gasification plant is being built in Edwardsport, while ground has yet to be broken on a similar plant in Rockport.

This coal gasification plant is being built in Edwardsport, while ground has yet to be broken on a similar plant in Rockport.  /  Courtesy Duke Energy

Written by Tony Cook

Related Links

An Indiana appeals court today reversed the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s approval of a controversial deal under which Indiana natural gas customers would be required to pay for energy from a planned coal-gas plant in Rockport.

In a 2-1 decision, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that the Indiana Finance Authority’s contract with the plant’s developer, Indiana Gasification, went beyond what state lawmakers had authorized.

Specifically, the court ruled that the contract’s inclusion of industrial transportation customers in the definition of “retail end use customer” violated the authorizing legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2009.

The case stems from a challenge by opponents of the project, including Vectren Energy, several industrial companies, two smaller natural gas utilities, and three citizen’s groups. Those opponents argued that the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission erred in approving the contract, under which the state must buy gas from the plant and sell it on the open market for a profit. If it can’t, natural gas ratepayers must cover the loss on their monthly bills.

Officials with the Indiana Finance Authority, Indiana Gasification and Vectren were not immediately available for comment.

Call Star reporter Tony Cook at (317) 444-6081 and follow him at twitter.com/indystartony.

UPDATE: IURC Meeting 10/18/12 on IRP Contemporary Issues Technical Conference Changed to 10 am EST October 14, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Uncategorized.
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Dear IndianaDG Readers:

I received this message from Beth Krogel Roads about a change in the start time for the upcoming IRP Contempary Issues Technical Conference. If you are interested in watching this conference on-line, I suggest that that you send her an email requesting that the IURC boradcast this session on the Internet. Email her at bkroads@urc.in.gov or call her at (317) 232-2092. Please do it as soon as possible though.

For more information on the importance of the IRP process see http://wp.me/pMRZi-Tb.

For more details on the draft proposed IRP rule please see this previous post http://wp.me/pMRZi-Sx.

Laura Ann Arnold

UPDATE – The start time of the IRP Contemporary Issues Technical Conference has been changed to 10:00 a.m. EST on October 18, 2012.

To download an updated agenda CLICK HERE > AGENDA FOR CONTEMPORARY ISSUES TECHNICAL CONFERENCE_2012-10-18

 

Thank you for your interest and participation!

 

Beth Krogel Roads

Assistant General Counsel – Legal Counsel, RTO/FERC Issues

Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission

101 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 East

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Direct line: (317) 232-2092

Fax #: (317) 232-6758

Email: bkroads@urc.in.gov

Midwest Energy News: Indiana coal controversy prompts push for more transparency in utility planning; Impact on IRP Rule? October 14, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Duke Energy, Edwardsport IGCC Plant, Indiana Michigan Power Company (I&M), Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), Uncategorized, Vectren.
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See this blog post for details on the upcoming IRP Contemprary Issues Technical Conference. http://wp.me/pMRZi-Td
Original article: http://www.midwestenergynews.com/2012/10/12/indiana-coal-controversy-prompts-push-for-more-transparency-in-utility-planning/Posted on 10/12/2012 by 

The Edwardsport coal-to-gas plant under construction in Indiana. Cost overruns and other controversy surrounding the project have helped drive efforts to reform Indiana’s utility planning process. (Photo via Duke Energy)

For the first time in 17 years, Indiana’s public utility commission is rewriting the state’s rule governing how utilities develop long-term plans to meet electricity demand.

The new rule could force the state’s five investor-owned utilities to face more public scrutiny in developing their plans, and perhaps move more quickly than they might otherwise toward reducing carbon emissions.

But the utilities are pushing back, saying that since they have the most skin in the game, they should have the most say over their plans.

Public comments have already been taken on the rule, known as the Integrated Resource Planning Rule, and the state’s public utility commission will issue the final rule in a few months.

Under Indiana law, utilities must obtain a permit called a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity before beginning construction of a new power plant. To obtain this permit, they must show that the new power plant is needed to meet electricity demand and is the best, most affordable way to do so. They do that via an Integrated Resource Plan, which they have to file with the public utility commission, known as the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).

In the past, the integrated resource plans “have been very black-box procedures,” said Bowden Quinn, conservation organizer for the Hoosier Chapter of the Sierra Club, who has led that group’s effort in pushing for a new rule.

“There was no avenue for participation,” he said. “They just filed them.”

Coal-to-gas plant controversy

IURC began updating the rule in large part because of the perception that they let too much slide on the controversial Edwardsport coal gasification project, which ran significantly over budget and spawned a huge scandal involving cozy relations between Duke Energy and the IURC, said Mike Mullett, an attorney from Columbus, Indiana, who represents the Hoosier Chapter of the Sierra Club, other environmental groups and the consumer advocacy group Citizens Action Coalition before the IURC.

In that case, the commission issued Duke Energy the certificate of public necessity and convenience, but later, Duke asked for almost $1 billion more than the $1.985 billion they’d originally been approved for, spawning legal action and additional IURC hearings.

“This update is in many respects a response to Edwardsport,” Mullett said.

In particular, the commission sought to push utilities to better estimate financial risk and uncertainty on projects like Edwardsport that embrace new technology. The Edwardsport plant is designed to produce coal gas, and it’s one of two coal gasification plants in the United States that are currently under construction.

The proposed IRP rule raises the bar for utilities in several ways, Mullett said.

The first is increased transparency. At least two public meetings would be required any time an investor-owned utility develops an integrated resource plan (IRP), and more if the public expresses a strong interest. And a new provision called a compliance determination allows the commission to force utilities to redo the planning process if those meetings didn’t happen.

Utilities also “have to have a demand forecast that meets certain best practices,” Mullett said. That plan needs to include a variety of scenarios, including energy efficiency programs, Mullett said. And in a significant departure from the old rule, the IURC must determine whether utilities are actually in compliance with the rule, then issue a ruling saying that they are.

Utilities have objections

The state’s utilities have no problem with more transparency, said Ed Simcox, president of the Indiana Energy Association. “For the company to unveil in an IRP process what their long-range plans are is not objectionable,” he said.

But Indiana’s five investor-owned utilities do object to provisions allowing the state’s regulators to verify whether they’re complying with the new rule. In proposed edits of the rule submitted to the utility regulatory commission the trade group representing the state’s five investor-owned utilities, the Indiana Energy Association, struck that provision entirely. The IEA represents Duke Energy, Vectren, Indiana Power & Light, Indiana Michigan Power, and Nipsco.

They also have problems with another part of the rule that requires them to meet with environmental and ratepayer groups as the plan is being developed, rather than being presented with it after the fact. That gives those groups more input and perhaps influence on utilities’ long-term planning decisions, said Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council.

Such input matters, Kharbanda said, because it will allow advocates to “make sure utilities are properly modeling for prospective carbon rules, changes in renewable energy, capacity and operating costs, and things like combined heat and power.”

But the utilities are “very uneasy because it’s not them having unfettered discretion,” Mullett said. The current director of IURC’s electricity division, who reviews the utility filings, is someone who “asks hard questions and cares about the answers,”  he explained.It’s possible that hard questions from the IURC about whether the utilities are complying with the rule could delay approval of an IRP, which could delay approval of a power plant a utility wants to build. “That could delay a power plant, which could delay them from getting access to the money machine” that electricity ratepayers provide, Mullett maintained.

Simcox says the utilities are not necessarily opposed to more public input while they’re developing IRPs. But, he said, “the devil’s in the details.”

“To advise the public what companies are doing in terms of long-range planning is not an objection. The fine line is this: The companies are the entities that are responsible for producing and delivering power. The buck stops with them. You can’t have outside parties dictate to them what they’re going to do and how and when they’re going to do it.”

Mother Jones: Are Green Power Programs a Scam? Why does NIPSCO want a new Green Power Pilot Program? October 9, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Duke Energy, Feed-in Tariffs (FiT), Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), Uncategorized.
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Dear IndianaDG Readers:

Why does NIPSCO really want to create a new green power pilot program? Part of the answer can be found in the petition and testimony NIPSCO filed earlier this year to create a voluntary green power rider pilot program as follows:

44198 NIPSCO Petition to Create Voluntary Green Power Rider Pilot Program

44198 NIPSCO Green Power Testimony of Tim Caister_2012-05-07

This case is now completed and is awaiting a final order from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC). I fully expect that it will be approved by the IURC.

Both Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) and Duke Energy Indiana have programs like the one proposed by NIPSCO.

To read the most recent IPL 2012 Green Power Tariff Rider Annual Report click HERE > 43251 IPL Green Power Tariff Rider Annual Report_2012-09-28

Unlike most utility reports filed with the IURC, this is a short and sweet 12-page report with lots of bar charts and graphs. Apparently as far as green power tariffs go IPL’s is a good one–meaning that the cost to IPL customers to essentially purchase Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from large out-of-state wind farms is very low.

The real question in my mind is what does purchasing these wind energy REC’s via IPL’s green power tariff do for IPL customers except make them feel good.

Does it improve the air quality in Indianapolis? NO

Does it create green jobs in Indianapolis? NO

Does it help to demonstrate the viability of urban friendly renewable energy technologies such as solar PV or CHP? NO

To get the details of the IPL Green Power Option program click HERE > Rider 21 Green Power 7-31-12

To see Duke Energy Indiana’s GOGREEN tariff click HERE >DE–IN_Rider_56_07_23_09_GOGREEN

The GOGREEN Tariff is only two-pages and shows that it became effective July 22, 2009.

I would note that not everyone shares my view (or the one expressed in the Mother Jones article below) on the subject. A recent article By on June 27, 2012 in Indiana Living Green extols the virtues of these programs. See http://www.indianalivinggreen.com/squandered-indiana-ipls-green-power-option/ The author does ask:

“Are these programs effective at encouraging the markets in alternative power? Or are they merely a voluntary tax on environmentally aware do-gooders? Signing up for the Green Power Option is an easy way to express public demand for green power and demonstrate to our state legislators that we want an alternative to burning coal.”

I don’t intend to answer all the questions raised by these Indiana electric utility green power programs, I just merely want us to start asking the right questions. Are the green power options for Indiana electric ratepayers good or what would be better? I suppose it would not be much of a surprise to learn that I support feed-in tariffs (FITs) as a far better way to bring renewable energy into the grid to serve Indiana ratepayers. FITs have many other side benefits as well including green jobs creation and improving environmental quality. Creating renewable energy right here in our own backyard through distributed generation also does not require costly new transmission lines. You make it here and use it here.

I think what we really need is a good honest debate or educational forum on the subject of green power riders. Are you interested?

Laura Ann Arnold, Laura.Arnold@indianadg.net

Are you paying for renewable energy, or just a bunch of hot air?

—By

THE TWISTING TURBINES on the Columbia River Gorge ridges were one of the first things my husband and I noticed en route from Baltimore to our new house in Oregon. So a few weeks later, when a hawker at the farmers market urged me—with a $5 token for free veggies and a postcard with pictures of children lounging in front of local windmills—to sign up for a renewable energy program called Blue Sky, I didn’t hesitate. For less than an extra $10 a month, my utility, Pacific Power, would supply our home with electricity from wind turbines instead of coal.

But it turns out ditching dirty energy is more complicated than that hawker would have me believe. From the windmill postcard, you’d think my premium would go straight to local projects. Not quite: True, Pacific Power operates one wind farm in Oregon, but that’s largely because the state mandates that utilities get 25 percent of their power from renewables by 2025. My well-meaning purchase has little to do with those windmills. Instead, Pacific Power hands my Blue Sky money over to companies that buy renewable energy certificates (RECs) from wind farms, mostly in other states, and other renewable projects like methane-burning landfills. Consumers need to understand that the electricity “is not going from the windmill on the ridge to your toaster,” says Pacific Power spokesman Tom Gauntt. Michael Gillenwater, a Princeton researcher who codeveloped the EPA’s carbon emissions tracking system, says it’s more like donating to a cause. “What you are doing is subsidizing the market for renewable energy.”

Pacific Power says our premium “avoided the release of 897 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions into the air…equivalent to not driving 909 miles.” But it’s hard to verify those numbers, says Stanford professor Michael Wara, who studies carbon markets. “You don’t have an overseeing regulator ensuring that the claims made are backed up.” Green-e, a third-party certification program, ensures that my RECs come from relatively new projects and aren’t double-counted to meet state mandates. But Gillenwater says its “additionality” test isn’t thorough enough to prove I paid for an emission reduction that wouldn’t have happened anyway.

Experts say that RECs like mine can make renewable projects more profitable, but they play a much smaller role than government subsidies. (Disclosure: My father recently invested in a wood-chip-fueled electricity plant in Florida, and he said RECs sweetened that deal.) Gillenwater says most projects would have produced the energy regardless of whether consumers like me pitched in—in 2008, for example, Pacific Power bought a third of my RECs from two Puget Sound Energy wind farms built in 2005. (A spokesman says the projects’ planners didn’t count on revenue from residential RECs in their budget.) The remaining two-thirds were purchased from other projects, including a landfill-gas plant in Utah. Only 1 percent came from solar.

RECs, mandates, additionality—my head was spinning like those windmills, which were seeming further away. To make matters worse, in 2008, only 67 percent of my Blue Sky bucks purchased RECs; the remaining 33 percent was spent on staff and publicity. On average, 19 percent of green programs’ revenues go to marketing, but at small utilities that percentage is far greater.

Utilities insist that the promotion is necessary, since voluntary green power programs work better when lots of people participate. Nationwide, only about a million customers shell out for green power—with corporations, governments, and universities buying the bulk of it. In 2008, residential customers made up only one-quarter of green power purchases.

So what’s a consumer to do? Even with their problems, RECs are “one of the simplest and most direct ways to support renewable technologies,” says Jeff Deyette, a senior analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists. Premiums can provide that extra profit margin to make renewable projects competitive with fossil fuels. And some utilities are experimenting with other models. If I had enrolled in Pacific Power’s Blue Sky Block program, for twice what I pay now, 41 percent of my money would have funded local solar arrays and a geothermal test project—and only 25 percent would have gone to overhead. Or instead, I could spend my premium on efficiency upgrades in my new home: sealing leaks, insulating, and replacing drafty windows. It would just take more time and elbow grease than checking a box.

Laura McCandlish is a freelance journalist, radio host, and teacher based in Oregon. She previously was a business reporter for The Baltimore Sun.

Indiana Integrated Resources Planning (IRP) Contemporary Issues Technical Conference Scheduled for 10/18/12; Discussion on Draft Rule October 8, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Uncategorized.
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From: Roads, Beth Krogel <BKRoads@urc.in.gov>
Date: Thu, Oct 4, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Subject: IRP Rulemaking – Draft Proposed Rule

Please find attached the most recent Draft Proposed Rule for the IRP rulemaking, RM #11-07, in a red-line version showing the additional changes and a clean version.  Thanks to all that submitted written comments!

We expect to discuss this Draft Proposed Rule at the Contemporary Issues Technical Conference, scheduled for October 18, 2012, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Indiana Government Center South building in Conference room 22.  Part of that discussion will on the next steps in the IRP rulemaking.

IRP Contemporary Issues Technical Conference

Thursday, October 18, 2012

 9 a.m. to 4 p.m

Indiana Government Center South –Conference Room 22

It would also be appreciated if the utilities’ financial impact analysis could be updated by the  Contemporary Issues Technical Conference to reflect this most recent draft.

Thank you for your interest and participation!

Beth Krogel Roads

Assistant General Counsel – Legal Counsel, RTO/FERC Issues

Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission

101 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 East

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Direct line: (317) 232-2092

Fax #: (317) 232-6758

Email: bkroads@urc.in.gov

FYI:  Please find below copies of comments filed on the Draft Proposed Rule.

As the President of Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance, I supported the following Joint Comments made by: Bowden Quinn, Hoosier Chapter–Sierra Club; Kerwin Olson, Citizens Action Coalition; Jesse Kharbanda, Hoosier Environmental Council and Bradley Klein, Environmental Law and Policy Center.

Comments were also filed by Thomas Melone with Ecos Energy as follows:

NREL Project Shows Solar Installations Over Time: Underlines Role of State Incentives October 8, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Feed-in Tariffs (FiT), Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), IPL Rate REP, Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), Uncategorized.
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Dear IndianaDG Readers:

I have learned recently that many solar PV advocates were unaware of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Open PV Project. In particular, the self-reported data on solar PV installations in Indiana today (10/08/2012) shows:

  • Indiana Total Results: 222 solar PV installations
  • Indiana Solar PV Cost/Watt: $9.37
  • Capacity (MW): 3.74 MWs

With the flurry of Interconnection Applications in Indiana to use both IPL’s Rate REP feed-in tariff and the NIPSCO feed-in tariff we can expect the total MW’s of solar PV installed to skyrocket in the next year. For example, an IPL customer will have 12 months from the approval of their Rate REP contract by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to actually install and connect their project to the grid. Given that IPL’s Rate REP program expires March 30, 2013, we will not completely see all the results of the IPL pilot program until March 30, 2014.

Many of us who have reviewed the Open PV Project data reported on the NREL website believe there is under reporting of solar PV installations here in Indiana. This project depends entirely on voluntary reporting so please help us to increase awareness of this website and to encourage everyone to report their installations.

In the meantime, I hope you find the following article from the SRECtrade Blog interesting. I encourage your questions and comments on how we can continue to promote solar PV and other distributed generation technology installations here in Indiana.

One idea is to expand the concept of the NREL Open PV Project to include solar thermal, passive solar, geothermal and CHP installations throughout the State of Indiana. Such a comprehensive listing of renewable energy projects and distributed generation would certainly increase the understanding of the extent and importance of these energy technologies in our state.

I plan to devote more attention to this project in future blog posts and in other on-line forums via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Will you help?

Laura Ann Arnold, Laura.Arnold@IndianaDG.net

——————————————————————-

Original Article: http://www.srectrade.com/blog/

October 4th, 2012

At SRECTrade we spend most of our time thinking about SRECs and how to effectively manage their creation and sale. We deal with a relatively abstract concept and are sometimes left wondering after a particularly long day of answering client questions and crunching data sets, what all of this stuff means on the ground. That’s why we really like the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Open PV  Project, in particular the Solar PV Installations Over Time graphic that they’ve produced.   NREL shows PV installations from 2000 to 2012 by intensity (presumably driven by capacity installed) and location. The visualization is fascinating because it can be read as a story about the growth of the US solar industry over the last decade from both a policy and resource perspective.   Solar is concentrated around population centers where it’s needed most  The distributed, non-centralized aspects of solar are much discussed.  Solar can be deployed right at the load on a home or business without the adverse environmental impact of doing the same thing with say a coal-fired power plant. The NREL visualization proves the distributed nature of solar  in practice at a national level. Over time it appears that solar installations are predominantly clustered in zones that mimic areas of high population. This is evidenced in the early years where most solar capacity is installed in California around the high-density populations zones of the Bay Area and southern California cities. For rough comparison see the map of solar installed as of 2012 relative to the population density map below.   Filler

Source: https://www.census.gov/geo/www/mapGallery/2kpopden.html, “2000 Population Distribution in the United States”

Source: https://openpv.nrel.gov/time-mapper, “Solar Installations Over Time”

Solar deployment is driven by state-level policies  Solar deployment can also be tied to both federal and state-level energy policies that were enacted over the last decade (Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Federal 1603 Grant, California Solar Initiative, and SREC markets among myriad others) but the deployment seems to concentrate around some areas over others, suggesting that local and state factors outweigh the current federal incentive structure.  Viewing the NREL visualization only it looks like solar installation activity is predominantly in California from 2000 to 2004 with flashes of activity in Florida, the Rocky Mountain West,  Minnesota/ Wisconsin, and what looks like the Tennessee Valley Authority region. By 2007 solar installations appear to be widespread around major population centers around the country.  The mid-Atlantic and the northeast states look as if they are exploding as their SREC markets come on line in the mid-2000s, while other areas seem to slow down.   As an SREC company we know that each SREC market is different depending on the particular structure of the market as dictated by the policies that created the program. So perhaps not surprisingly we get phone calls and emails on a daily basis asking us about opportunities in states without comprehensive solar policies such as an SREC program. Our stock answer is to reach out to the state legislature and engage with grassroots activist groups like the Vote Solar Initiative. SREC markets are by no means perfect, but they are a key tool for states to drive solar development in the absence of a national standard. The end of the visualization shows the SREC market states (DC, DE, MA, MD, NJ, OH and PA) covering the map in white.

Regulatory Flexibility Committee meets 9/6/12 to hear IURC Annual Report, Annual Report on renewable resources and InVCEP; Watch on-line September 6, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in 2012 Indiana General Assembly, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), Uncategorized, Voluntary Clean Energy Portfolio Standard Program.
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This meeting will be broadcast over the Internet for those unable to attend. Please visit http://www.in.gov/legislative/2441.htm and select the video stream for the appropriate room, i.e. Senate Chamber, from the drop down list to watch the Webcast.

Here is the link to the Regulatory Flexibility Committee agenda: http://www.in.gov/legislative/interim/committee/notices/RFSCF96.pdfhttp://www.in.gov/legislative/interim/committee/notices/RFSCF96.pdf

This committee meeting agenda and notice includes a list of state legislators who are a member of this important committee. Check to see if your own state legislators are a member of this committee.

MEETING TIME: 10:00 am

MEETING PLACE: Senate Chamber, State House, 200 W. Washington, Indianapolis, IN

MEETING AGENDA HIGHLIGHTS:

  1. Discussion of clean energy and the Indiana Voluntary Clean Energy Portfolio program
  2. Discussion of renewable energy transmission
  3. Report by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission by IURC Chairman Jim Atterholt
  4. Annual Report by the State Utility Forecasting Group including Annual Report on renewable resources
  5. Update from the Office of the utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC)
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