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No Vote Taken on HB 1098 on net metering January 28, 2008

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
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Members of the Indiana Renewable Energy Association presented testimony 01/24/08 before the House Commerce, Energy and Utilities Committee on HB 1098 to revise the net metering and interconnection rules. Copies of the State Scorecard from Freeing the Grid: 2007 Edition were distributed to the members of the committee. The report shows the State of Indiana earning a “D” in both net metering and interconnection.

See http://www.newenergychoices.org/bravo.php?blog_entry_id=210

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Department of Psychology (574) 631-6650
118 Haggar Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556 FAX: (574) 631-8883
January 24, 2008

Dear State Representative Dvorak,

I’m writing a book that deals with the greening of corporate America called “Zap” and will hit bookstores this summer. In the last six months the pace of change in alternative energy has increased dramatically. Unfortunately the complexity of the issues involved has also increased. Due to state based incentives, RPS standards and net metering regulations, some states are reaping the economic benefits while others fall behind. Unfortunately our great state of Indiana has fallen behind, but I remain optimistic that you and your colleagues will pass legislation that will propel Indiana into the future. There is more than corn in Indiana…and there is also more than coal. We have a plentiful source of wind and an abundance of solar insolation that we let slide through our hands every day.

Inovateus Development of South Bend, IN is the distributor of my latest book Stan Ovishinsky and the Hydrogen Economy and I’ve asked them to send all of the state representatives in your committee a copy. I believe Stan’s contributions to the field soon will be recognized as seminal. For example, I believe that his UNI-SOLAR photovoltaic cells are far and away the best solar cells on the market for a variety of important reasons. Inovateus is also a world-wide distributor of these cells and ships them for installations just about everywhere besides Indiana and a few other states such as Mississippi and West Virginia. T.J. Kanczuzewski, the Vice President of the firm testified before you last week and spoke about the importance of a mandate and better net metering regulations.

In my new book on the greening of corporate America, I talk about how the net metering regulations can be a very large factor for corporate and business installations. I’ve been working with Inovateus on their ventures with Proctor and Gamble, Black and Decker, Energizer Battery and even Duke Realty which is headquartered in Indianapolis. Since there are no current net metering standards for such an install, Indiana has lost a possible Duke Realty install to Illinois. Out of the $3.2 million the project costs, nearly 1 million will be going to local contractors and installers. If we intend on loosing economic opportunites such as these, we should continue to do much of the same. Please contact me for any information or renewable data. I can be reached at Notre Dame at 574-631-5423 (leave a telephone number if I’m unavailable).

Sincerely,

Dr. George Howard
University of Notre Dame
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Written comments submitted by Eric Cotton
ECI Wind and Solar LLC
9005 East 1125 South
Fairmount, IN 46928
888-4ECIWAS
info@eciwindandsolar.com

HB 1098 – Netmetering Rules

Before suggesting amendments to the existing net metering laws, it is important to define net metering as we see it.

Net Metering Definition:

Interconnecting a customer owned co-generation facility with the existing utility grid in order to provide electricity only for the interconnected facility, and allowing the interconnected facility to acquire one-for-one credits from the utility company for each KW hour supplied to the utility grid by the co-generation facility.

Net metering should be a tool to encourage growth in the renewable economy while not making it a burden on existing electricity service providers. It is important to distinguish that net metering is a way for companies and individuals to maximize the financial outlook of a renewable energy installation and not away to force utility companies to pay a premium for power. It is important to create a rule that has the most benefit for customers while protecting the wholesale electricity market and pricing structure. This is accomplished by limiting the “remuneration” provided to the customer by the utility company to an energy credit and not a dollar amount. This maximizes the viability of the system for users by assuring that every KW Hour of production is able to be used by the facility, and it protects the utility companies by eliminating those who might seek to exploit the netmetering rules for their own profiteering.

Our goal with netmetering is to provide all Indiana customers with renewable energy facilities of up to 250 KW to receive a full KW Hour credit for every KW Hour of power that is supplied to the local grid. This credit should be able to roll over, moth-to-month, whiled the customer has an interconnected cogeneration facility. At the end of this period, any generation provided to the utility by the customer will be granted to the utility and no further remuneration will be due. (NOTE: having a yearly reset date leaves customers open to exploitation. For example if you have a cutoff date in September for a solar system, then that doesn’t help the customer because all of the generation happens in the summer. So you would be essentially eliminating their entire excess production every year.)

This prevents customers who only need a 100 KW facility from installing a 250 KW facility expecting that the utility will pay them full retail value for excess power generation from the 150 KW that was not required for the facility.

The State of Indiana currently has netmetering rules that could be very effective in stimulating growth and creating jobs in Indiana if they were altered in the following ways:

1) Currently, only residential customers and K-12 schools with investor owned utilities as service providers can have a renewable energy facility ‘net metered’. Because of the lack of State and Federal funding for renewable energy, it is important to expand the benefits of net metering to commercial customers as well. Commercial customers are the most likely sector to have the resources to purchase and install renewable energy facilities at their location. Making them eligible for net metering would go a long way to encouraging Indiana businesses to invest capitol in their own renewable electricity generating facilities, even in the face of zero state and federal subsidies.

2) Current net-metering laws limit maximum installed capacity to 10KW. Unfortunately this is only enough to produce about 1000 KW Hours per month of power. While this is sufficient for modest homes of up to about 1200 square feet, those with the means to install renewable energy facilities at their home or business typically use 2-25 times this amount. Raising the netmetering cap to 250KW installed nameplate capacity would help encourage growth in this sector.

3) Currently, net metering laws only apply to investor owned utility companies. A significant portion of potential Indiana renewable energy customers, and a very significant portion of potential Indiana wind energy customers, are served by REMC’s. While most REMC’s have polices that are not significant burdens to customers, some engage in very unfair practices. Regardless of which extreme a particular REMC is close to, these practices result in polices that, at best, create payback scenarios for RE systems that are beyond or exceed a systems’ expected life span. In the worst cases, the polices of the REMC make it so that it is cheaper for customers to give the power away for free to the REMC rather than pay the fees that would allow the RE system even to earn even 30 cents on the dollar for excess generation.

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