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IndplsStar: Opponents emerge for IPL’s $500M pollution control plan; Urge IPL to invest in renewable energy January 25, 2013

Posted by Laura Arnold in Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), Uncategorized.
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Dear IndianaDG Readers:
Let’s give a big “shout-out” to Indianapolis City-County At-large Council Member Zach Adamson for testifying at this IURC public field hearing last night in Cause No. 44242. Please note that Indiana State Senator Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis) attended this hearing last night which was attended by 4 of the 5 members of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) including Chairman Jim Atterholt.
I also testified last night urging that IPL’s Rate REP or feed-in tariff which is scheduled to expire March 30, 2013 be extended and expanded. I suggested that there was a lost opportunity for worthwhile renewable energy projects in the IPL Rate REP Queue that are not likely to be able to participate in the program. Specifically, I mentioned 15 different proposed projects representing 1.5 MWs of solar PV projects that are a part of the Indy Solar Initiative. For details see Indy Solar Initiative10_02_Englewood CDC and East Washington Street Partnership. I also mentioned additional proposed projects not slated to be done under the IPL Rate REP unless it is extended and expanded including St. Luke’s Methodist Church, University High School and the Jewish Community Center (JCC). It is difficult to understand what additional projects have been proposed for the IPL Rate REP since the list does identify them except by the date their application was filed a code name with a letter representing the applicant and a number.
I plan to revise and edit my oral comments. Please let me know if you are interested in receiving a written copy.
More on this case as it unfolds. Watch this blog for updates!
Laura Ann Arnold

Sierra Club rally against Indianapolis Power & Lig...

Sierra Club rally against Indianapolis Power & Light rate increase: The Sierra Club, Citizens Action Coalition and City-County Councilman Zach Adamson rally against IPL’s request for a rate increase to pay for $500 million in upgrades to two of its coal-fired plants.

   Written by Tony Cook, Jan 24, 2013   |4Comments

Consumer and environmental advocates rallied before an Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission public hearing on Indianapolis Power and Light's plan to spend more than $500 million on environmental controls at two coal-fired power plants at the Indiana History Center in Indianapolis on Thursday, January 24, 2013. Speaking at center is Sierra Club's Megan Anderson, Indiana Beyond Coal Campaign conservation organizer.

Consumer and environmental advocates rallied before an Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission public hearing on Indianapolis Power and Light’s plan to spend more than $500 million on environmental controls at two coal-fired power plants at the Indiana History Center in Indianapolis on Thursday, January 24, 2013. Speaking at center is Sierra Club’s Megan Anderson, Indiana Beyond Coal Campaign conservation organizer.  /  Charlie Nye / The Star

Sierra Club rally against Indianapolis Power & Light rate increase

The Sierra Club, Citizens Action Coalition and City-County Councilman Zach Adamson rally against IPL’s request for a rate increase to pay for $500 million in upgrades to two of its coal-fired plants.

This is a must see video of remarks made prior to the IURC public field hearing.

View Video HERE http://www.indystar.com/videonetwork/2117556920001/Sierra-Club-rally-against-Indianapolis-Power-Light-rate-increase

———————————————————————–

Written by Tony Cook

Indianapolis Power & Light Co.’s plan to spend more than $500 million on environmental controls at two old coal-fired power plants is stirring opposition.

Consumer and environmental advocates — including an Indianapolis city-county councilman — argue that electric customers shouldn’t have to pay higher rates to extend the life of outdated and dirty coal plants.
“If we’re going to have a rate increase, it would be better to invest in a plant that isn’t going to poison our air and contaminate our soil with mercury,” said Democrat Zach Adamson, a councilman at large.
He and about 70 representatives from the Sierra Club and Citizens Action Coalition — wearing green “Nightmare on Harding Street” T-shirts — held a protest Thursday before an Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission  public hearing on the topic at the Indiana History Center.
IPL plans to spend $511 million on environmental upgrades to its Petersburg and Harding Street coal-fired plants. Individual generating units at those plants are 27 to 46 years old, according to IPL. Company officials say the upgrades would cut mercury emissions 80 percent and are necessary because of new mercury and air toxic standards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
To pay for the improvements, IPL wants to raise rates. Customers who use 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity would see their monthly bills rise $1.13 by 2014. The monthly increase would rise to $8.92 in 2017.
“Putting half a billion dollars into an outdated coal plant to keep it polluting the city for years to come is a waste of money,” said Megan Anderson, a conservation organizer with the Sierra Club.
Instead, opponents want IPL to invest in clean, renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar power.
Brad Riley, an IPL spokesman, said those alternatives wouldn’t be cost-effective and would end up costing ratepayers much more.
He also said IPL, which provides electricity to 470,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the Indianapolis area, ranks eighth in the country for its use of wind-generated energy and seventh in the central part of the country for its use of solar power.
“We’ve got a great diversity in our portfolio,” he said.
But critics say that’s not good enough. They point out that the Indianapolis metropolitan area ranks 14th in the nation for year-round particle pollution, according to the American Lung Association.
“This is just a Band-Aid that’s going to cost over $500 million,” said Kerwin Olson, executive director of Citizens Action Coalition.

His group and other organizations representing consumer and environmental interests have until Monday to file testimony with the IURC.

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

CAC says–“IPL: Stop investing in the past; Start investing in the future! Tell the IURC to say NO to IPL rate increase!” January 21, 2013

Posted by Laura Arnold in Feed-in Tariffs (FiT), Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), IPL Rate REP, Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), Uncategorized.
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Do you agree that IPL should stop investing in the past and start investing in the future? Should IPL reconsider renewing and extending Rate REP or feed-in tariff which allows customers to invest in renewable energy and distributed generation?

Click this link below for information from Citizens Action Coalition (CAC) concerning the upcoming field hearing for the IPL Environmental Compliance case in Cause No. 44242.

For details on how to participate in the hearing see: https://indianadg.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/voice-your-view-on-ipl-environmental-compliance-case-12413/

IPL: Stop investing in the past; Start investing in the future! Tell the IURC to say NO to IPL rate increase!.

Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) is currently seeking permission from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to raise rates in order to install pollution control equipment on their fleet of aging coal-fired power plants.  IPL’s almost exclusive reliance on coal (approximately 99% of the electricity generated by IPL is from burning coal) continues to expose ratepayers and shareholders to enormous costs and risks and is contributing to significant public health and environmental problems.

It’s time for IPL to begin to diversify their generation portfolio and move into the 21st century by making meaningful investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.  Investing in renewables and efficiency will reduce ratepayer and shareholder risk, protect our health and the quality of our environment, and put money back into Hoosiers’ pockets by creating jobs and reducing monthly electric bills.

01-13-13 IPL Rate Hike Fact Sheet from Citizens Action Coalition (CAC)

Let us know if you plan to attend the hearing. See you there!!

Voice Your View on IPL Environmental Compliance Case 1/24/13 January 17, 2013

Posted by Laura Arnold in Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), Uncategorized.
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See next blog post for more information on this case pending before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) from the Citizens Action Coalition (CAC).

Written consumer comments also invited

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is encouraging Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL) customers to comment on the utility’s pending environmental compliance construction case, through both written comments and the case’s upcoming public field hearing.

An Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) public field hearing will be held

DATE: Thursday, January 24, 2013

TIME: 6:00 pm EST

PLACE: Indiana History Center , 450 West Ohio St., Indianapolis, IN 46202

The hearing’s public comment portion will start at 6:00 p.m.

Sworn oral and written comments regarding the case will be accepted during the field hearing.

Oral and written consumer comments carry equal weight and will become part of the case’s official evidentiary record.

Commissioners are not allowed to answer questions during the field hearing. (However, OUCC and IURC staff will be available before, during and after the hearing.)

An OUCC informational session on the regulatory process and public field hearing procedures will begin at 5:30 p.m.

IPL is asking the IURC to approve its proposed Environmental Compliance Construction Project, which would include the construction, installation and operation of new pollution control equipment at IPL’s Petersburg and Harding Street generating stations. The equipment would be installed on five generating units that make up 82 percent of IPL’s coalfired capacity. It would reduce mercury emissions along with emissions of non-mercury metal hazardous air pollutants and acid gas hazardous air pollutants.

In its testimony, the utility states that the project is necessary for compliance with federal regulations, specifically the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rule.

IPL is also seeking IURC approval to recover the project’s costs through rates, with rate adjustments to be made every six months. The utility currently estimates the project’s construction costs – not including financing and demolition costs – at nearly $511 million (compared to an initial construction cost estimate of $606 million).

By 2014, IPL expects the project to add $1.13 to the monthly bill for a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh). According to IPL’s testimony, this monthly amount would rise to $8.92 in 2017.

The OUCC – which represents consumer interests in cases before the IURC – is still evaluating this case and is scheduled to file testimony on January 28, 2013. Additional parties that have intervened in this case – including the Sierra Club, the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana (CAC), and the IPL Industrial Group – are also scheduled to file testimony on January 28.

More information on this case is available online at www.in.gov/oucc/2732.htm.

Consumers who wish to submit written comments in this case may do so via the OUCC’s Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, or by mail, email or fax:

Mail: Consumer Services Staff

Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor

115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South

Indianapolis, IN 46204

email: uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov

Fax: (317) 232-5923

Written comments the OUCC receives by January 24 will be filed with the Commission and included in the case’s formal evidentiary record. Comments should include the consumer’s name, mailing address, and a reference to IURC Cause No. 44242.”

Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC’s consumer services staff tollfree t 1-888-441-2494.

# # #

IURC Cause No. 44242

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) represents Indiana consumer interests before state and federal bodies that regulate utilities. As a state agency, the OUCC’s mission is to represent all Indiana consumers to ensure quality, reliable utility services at the most reasonable prices possible through dedicated advocacy, consumer education, and creative problem solving.

Visit us at www.IN.gov/OUCC, www.twitter.com/IndianaOUCC, or www.facebook.com/IndianaOUCC

Hoosiers Rally and Deliver 2,000 Petitions to Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) Headquarters November 29, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), Uncategorized.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 28th, 2012

Contact: Megan Anderson, 812-325-0685megan.anderson@sierraclub.org

Pastor Wyatt Watkins, 317-750-5873watkinsdt@aol.com

Kerwin Olson, 317-702-0461kolson@citact.org

Indianapolis Beyond Coal Campaign Launch Event
Indianapolis, IN – Today (11/28/2012) dozens of concerned ratepayers and community members gathered at Monument Circle to mark the launch of the Sierra Club’s Indianapolis Beyond Coal Campaign by delivering a growing list of 2,000 petitions to Indianapolis Power and Light’s (IPL) Headquarters opposing rate increases to keep IPL’s aging coal plants online and asking instead that IPL move toward clean energy.

“Coal-fired power plants emit tremendous quantities of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, causing global climate change,” said Gabriel Filippelli, Professor and Director of the Center for Urban Health, IUPUI.  “But they also emit significant amounts of the toxic element mercury, much of it depositing right here in central Indiana, polluting our waterways, fish, and children.”

The negative impacts of coal go beyond public health and the environment by also impacting Hoosier’s wallets.

“In addition to wreaking havoc on public health and environmental quality, coal has become a detriment to our economy,” said Kerwin Olson, Executive Director Citizens Action Coalition, a consumer advocacy group. “Over the last ten years, the ratepayers of IPL have seen their bills increase nearly 44%, largely as a result of the costs associated with burning coal.  It’s long past due for IPL to shift gears and invest aggressively in energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy so Hoosiers can save energy, save money, and breathe easy.”

IPL can decide to retire some of its outdated, polluting coal burning units to prevent premature death and asthma in the Indianapolis community and invest in clean, renewable energy solutions. Instead, IPL wants to charge customers $606.1 million to upgrade their aging coal burning units at Harding St. and Petersburg. With the cost of coal rising and clean energy prices plummeting, utilities across the country move to add diversity in their energy mix.  Despite this growing trend, IPL has no plans to invest in clean energy solutions in the foreseeable future. These upgrades could mean IPL would continue to burn dirty coal in Indianapolis for decades to come.

Many Indianapolis residents feel they have paid the price for coal plant pollution in Indianapolis for far too long.  IPL’s Harding Street coal plant has two smaller units that lack pollution controls, and the company has no specific retirement date set.

“My son has had asthma since he was 7 weeks old, and with a baby on the way, cleaning up in the air in Indianapolis is even more urgent,” said Niesha McKinley, a concerned parent in Indianapolis. “Everyday IPL’s coal plant operates is another day my children are exposed to toxic pollution;  IPL needs to retire it’s old dirty coal burning power plant as soon as possible, and move toward clean energy.”

These upgrades will fail to address dangerous carbon pollution and coal ash. IPL already has eight coal ash ponds located near the plant and the White River. The Environmental Protection Agency ranked some of these ponds as “high hazard” meaning that a failure could cause loss of life and/or property damage.

“All the major faiths affirm the intrinsic worth of the planet and the call to cherish and keep it; they likewise call us to love our neighbors and act for the welfare of the vulnerable among us, who consistently suffer first and foremost when we abuse the environment,” said the Rev. T. Wyatt Watkins, Co-Pastor of Cumberland First Baptist Church in Indianapolis and Board Chair for Educational Programming for Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light.

The group, who is partnered with CREDO Action, will continue gathering comments and petitions until January 28th calling on IPL to move beyond coal.

#  #  # 

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.

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.

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

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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.

Feed-in Tariff (FIT) contract for Indianapolis Airport solar PV farm under IPL Rate REP scheduled for approval by IURC September 5, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Feed-in Tariffs (FiT), Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), IPL Rate REP.
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The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) has on its agenda today (9/5/2012) for its weekly conference final approval for the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) contract with Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) for a 15 year feed-in tariff under Rate REP. The weekly conference by Indiana regulators is expected to approve the 30 day filing.

Details will be available later this afternoon. Contact Laura Ann Arnold at Laura.Arnold@indianaDG.net for a copy of the approved contract.

Morgan County Council offering Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) incentives for Combined Cycle Gas Turbine plant September 5, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), Uncategorized.
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Dear IndianaDG Readers:

I wrote about the RFP IPL issued for this plant on 7/9/2012. See http://wp.me/pMRZi-L9 for the details on the RFP. The Moorseville-Decatur Times reporter 9/1/2012 that Morgan County is one of three sites being considered for the new IPL plant. I don’t recall seeing an IPL news release saying who had the winning proposal or bid. If anyone else knows, please tell me. When I find out, I will post the information here on this blog.

Laura Ann Arnold

Morgan County Targeting IPL Project

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

The Morgan County Council is offering Indianapolis Power & Light Co. an economic incentive package if the utility chooses the area for a new energy project. IPL is considering several locations for a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine energy plant.

August 31, 2012

News Release

Martinsville, Ind. — The Morgan County Council today introduced an economic benefits package for Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL), contingent upon IPL building a significant new energy project north of Martinsville. The proposed energy project could yield an estimated $1.1 to $1.6 million in annual economic tax benefits to Morgan County over the next ten years. Tax revenues would be used to benefit Morgan County schools, roads and other county infrastructure.

To meet new EPA standards, IPL is investigating a variety of new electricity generation and energy efficiency programs, and one of the many options under consideration is building a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) energy plant in Morgan County on IPL’s existing North Martinsville property.

If built, the new energy plant will replace about 600 megawatts (MW) of energy that will likely be lost as IPL retires several of its coal-fired, smaller and older energy generating units due to new environmental regulations. IPL issued a request for proposals for a CCGT this past June.

“Morgan County has a long, positive history with IPL, and we look forward to working with IPL on this next project, should it occur,” said Kenny Hale, President of the Morgan County Council. “We have also been contacted by other energy groups proposing projects.”

“While building a CCGT in Morgan County is just one of several options IPL is considering, a tax abatement would lower the project’s cost and make it a more competitive energy replacement option,” said Fred Mills, IPL Director of Government Affairs. “IPL appreciates Morgan County’s support of our proposal.”

About one-third of Morgan County residents and businesses are served by IPL.

“We hope to see IPL’s CCGT project come to fruition in Morgan County,” said Hale. “Bringing cleaner energy generation to customers and economic benefit to the county is a win-win.”

Source: Morgan County Economic Development Corp.