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Indiana Groups Urge Indianapolis Power and Light to Extend Feed-in Tariff Pilot Program Called Rate REP June 27, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Feed-in Tariffs (FiT), Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), IPL Rate REP, Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), Uncategorized.
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Indiana DG/Citizens Action Coalition/Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: June 27, 2012      

Contact:     

Laura Ann Arnold (317) 635-1701 or (317) 502-5123

Kerwin Olson (317) 702-0461 

David Menzer (317) 727-8467                                                                

RENEWABLE ENERGY, CONSUMER ADVOCACY AND ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS

JOIN TO ASK IPL TO EXTEND RENEWABLE ENERGY PILOT PROGRAM

Download News Release: IPL Rate REP News Release-FINAL-2012-06-27_as sent

Indianapolis, IN. Three statewide groups, representing renewable energy, consumer and environmental interests in Indiana, joined together to send a letter to Ken Zagzebski, President of Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), asking the electric utility to extend and expand a renewable energy program known as Rate REP or Renewable Energy Production, commonly referred to as feed-in tariff (FIT) or Clean Local Energy Accessible Now (CLEAN programs).

“We want to commend IPL for its leadership in offering Rate REP,” said Laura Ann Arnold, President of the Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance. “But due to major changes made to the program and approved earlier this year by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), the program really needs to be extended past the initial three year pilot.”

Arnold pointed out that the program is capped at 1% of IPL’s retail sales. This could bring as much as 100 MW’s of renewable energy into central Indiana; however, thus far, less than 2.5 MWs have been approved by IPL’s Rate REP, which became effective on March 30th, 2010.

By comparison, the electric utility that services NW Indiana, Northern Indiana Public Service Corporation (NIPSCO), recently implemented a FIT pilot program in cooperation with Indiana DG, CAC, and Sierra Club, that became effective less than a year ago on July 14th, 2011. As of this month, NIPSCO indicates that nearly 25 MW’s of solar PV, wind and biomass projects are pending under their feed-in tariff.

Therefore, it appears that NIPSCO in one year has nearly 10 times as many projects pending as the projects approved by IPL. It is generally believed that the Indianapolis Airport solar farm with 10 MW’s of solar PV is still under review for a Rate REP contract at IPL.

Arnold noted that before IPL proposed making significant changes to Rate REP after only the first year of their 3 year pilot program, 170 MWs of solar PV and wind projects had already been proposed. Arnold wonders what will happen to said projects if the IPL program is discontinued.

“We are hopeful that IPL will continue this program in an effort to diversify their generation portfolio, bring investment to Indianapolis which will create desperately needed jobs, and help decrease their environmental footprint which is of great importance in the wake of new and pending EPA regulations, especially considering the risk IPL and its customers currently face due to their heavy reliance on coal fired power plants,” said Kerwin Olson, Executive Director of CAC.

Dave Menzer, Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal Campaign” stressed that more renewable energy resources need to be added to IPL’s generation mix to improve Indiana’s environmental quality. Menzer stated that Sierra Club is urging other Indiana utilities to consider voluntarily offering more renewable energy programs such as FITs.

“The Sierra Club supports a transition to a clean energy economy, and one of the best tools to attract private investment in solar and wind farms is to offer a fair fixed rate to the developer for the power they are producing and putting back on the grid. Given the incredible interest IPL has seen, it would a huge step backwards to allow these programs to expire.”

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Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance (http://www.IndianaDG.net) is the group which is the successor-in-interest to Indiana Distributed Energy Advocates which was a participant in both the IPL Rate REP and the NIPSCO feed-in tariff cases before the IURC. IndianaDG works with national/international groups such as the Alliance for Renewable Energy which works to promote feed-in tariff programs as the most effective public policy to deploy renewable energy resources in the most cost effective way.

Citizen Action Coalition’s (http:/www.citact.org) mission is to initiate, facilitate and coordinate citizen action directed to improving the quality of life of all inhabitants of the State of Indiana through principled advocacy of public policies to preserve democracy, conserve natural resources, protect the environment, and provide affordable access to essential human services. With a continued emphasis on truly clean renewables, distributed resources, and energy efficiency, CAC is a firm believer that clean, safe, and affordable energy is not only attainable, but it is our right as an essential human service.

Sierra Club- is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization. Inspired by nature, we are 1.4 million of your friends and neighbors, working together to protect our communities and the planet. More information about the “Beyond Coal Campaign” can be found here: http://www.beyondcoal.org/

Download letter: Letter to IPL on Rate REP–2012-06-27–FINAL as sent

27 June 2012

Ken Zagzebski, President and CEO

Indianapolis Power and Light

One Monument Circle

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Dear Mr. Zagzebski,

We, the undersigned organizations, represent both businesses doing business with individual ratepayers and individual ratepayers of Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL). We are writing to urge that you initiate a proceeding before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to extend and expand opportunities for IPL customers under Rate REP or feed-in tariff. As it is currently written, IPL’s Rate REP pilot program is scheduled to expire March 30, 2013.

Rate REP was originally approved in Cause No. 43623 as a three year pilot program in an IURC order dated February 2nd 2010, and became effective March 30, 2010. Most recently, Rate REP was revised by an IURC order on March 7th, 2012, in Cause No. 44018 and at page 35 states:

“If IPL wishes to continue Rate REP or make further changes to Rate REP beyond the three-year pilot program, it must comply with the 43623 Order and initiate a proceeding at least nine months prior to the end of the three-year pilot period.”

Given that the Rate REP will currently expire on March 30th, 2013, the nine month deadline to file is this June 30th, 2012. Hence, the undersigned strongly urge that IPL immediately contact the IURC and indicate IPL’s intent to initiate such a proceeding to 1) evaluate the Rate REP pilot program and 2) consider various options to extend and expand the current Rate REP tariff for IPL customers.

If it is not possible for IPL to file a petition to initiate such a docket before June 30th, we urge that IPL formally contact the IURC to request an extension of time to initiate such a new docket. In addition, the Commission also specifies at page 33 of the 44018 Order:

“…we will also require IPL to modify Rate REP to set aside 30% of the energy available under Rate REP to establish a reverse auction open to developers of renewable energy projects.”

The reverse auction RFP was issued on June 15th, 2012, and bids are due July 13th, 2012. Therefore, it is not likely that IPL and others will know the response to the reverse auction until well after June 30th, 2012. Given this information, it would appear reasonable for IPL to request such an extension of time.

Furthermore, the undersigned organizations would like to schedule a meeting as soon as practicable with IPL and all other stakeholders, including the Office of the Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) and the other parties in Cause No. 44018, to discuss Rate REP, as well as all possible options to further promote renewable energy and distributed generation including but not limited to Rate REP.

We would also like to commend IPL for its leadership in promoting customer renewable energy and distributed generation by initiating Rate REP as a pilot program.

Cordially yours,

Laura Ann Arnold, President

Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance

Kerwin Olson, Executive Director

Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana

David Menzer, Campaign Representative

Sierra Club “Beyond Coal Campaign”

Cc: John Haselden, IPL

James Atterholt, Chairman, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission

Parties to 44018:

Jason Stephenson, Counsel for IPL

David Stippler, Office of Utility Consumer Counselor

Karol Krohn, Office of Utility Consumer Counselor

Anne Becker, Counsel for Ecos Energy

Stuart Gutwein, Counsel for Bio Town Ag

David McGimpsey, Counsel for EDP Renewables

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