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An Open Letter to Governor Daniels about net metering March 18, 2010

Posted by Laura Arnold in Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Net Metering, Uncategorized.
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  3/17/2010
For the second year in a row, the general assembly was unable to agree on an improvement in Indiana’s sickly net metering policy. In the last 5 years, we have seen each and every state around Indiana legislatively enact into law renewable energy policy that stands up to comparison with the ‘best practices’ of states like California and New Jersey. Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and even Kentucky have enacted policies that range from Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards to Advanced Renewable Energy Contracts, and all of them have expanded net metering. Despite this apparent disadvantage for Indiana when it comes to policy in the Midwest, we have still managed to become one of the nation’s largest areas of centralized commercial wind development. But centralized commercial wind development is where the good news ends. Distributed Generation (the idea that anyone can have a small renewable energy system to power their local needs) has suffered consistent demise at the Indiana General Assembly. In the last six years, we have not passed a single piece of legislation that directly encourages the development of Indiana based distributed generation resources.Indiana’s net metering law is one of the most limiting in the United States. Under the current rules, churches, businesses, libraries, police stations, and government buildings are not allowed to net meter. In addition, the limit on nameplate capacity is well below that which is easily and safely accomplished with minimal or no impact to ratepayers. These basic issues, as well as others, have caused Indiana to receive a grade of ‘F’ in NNEC’s annual net metering report. This grade has more implications than just bad press. It has severely limited companies like ours and others around the state from expanding and hiring more Hoosiers. We are forced to look to other states for business opportunities. For the last two years, leaders in both the Senate and the House have authored bills that would improve Indiana’s Net Metering Law. While there have been disagreements, the one thing that everyone understands is that Indiana small business need this improvement.Senator Merritt recently sent you a letter encouraging you to direct the IURC to engage in a rule-making with the goal of expanding the states net metering policy. ECI Wind and Solar stands with Senator Merritt, and asks you to grant his request. The IURC has always had the authority to issue new and expanded net metering rules, but they have chosen not to act in light of the consistent legislative activity surrounding the issue. Now it’s 2010, and we still have a net metering law from 2004 that puts us at a serious competitive disadvantage for distributed generation development compared to other states in the Midwest. Indiana has consistently missed out on the economic growth and the permanent local jobs that come with expanded distributed generation. It is our opinion that an increase in the maximum nameplate capacity from 10KW to 200KW would be easily obtainable within the limitations of the current distribution system and eliminate the safety concerns not already addressed by the states interconnection policies. We would further recommend that all customer classes be allowed to participate in net metering. Governor Daniels, please stand with Senator Merritt and Indiana small business; direct the IURC to initiate the rule-making.

Eric Cotton, Parter, ECI Wind and Solar, 9005 E. 1125 S., Fairmont, IN 46928

 

This was originally posted at http://www.eciwindandsolar.com/Index/anopenlettertogovernordaniels.php

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