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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!!

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.

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.

As Indiana utility ends feed-in tariffs, some question motive | Midwest Energy News August 23, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Feed-in Tariffs (FiT), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), IPL Rate REP, Uncategorized.
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As Indiana utility ends feed-in tariffs, some question motive | Midwest Energy News.

As Indiana utility ends feed-in tariffs, some question motive

Posted on 08/23/2012 by

Workers install solar panels on the roof of an Indianapolis home in 2009. Indianapolis Power & Light may soon have more solar power installed in its service area than any other utility in the Midwest. (Photo courtesy EcoSource, Inc., used with permission)

Last month, Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL), an investor-owned utility that provides electricity to 470,000 customers in central Indiana, put out a press release boasting about its support of 30 MW of new solar developments.

The new developments would make IPL the leading provider of solar power among Midwestern utilities, the company claimed, citing Solar Electric Power Association’s 2011 utility solar rankings. IPL also touted the 300 MW of wind power already in its portfolio.

The utility’s claims were repeated in glowing news reports around central Indiana.

But what the company did not say was that the 30 MW of new solar was all that remained of an innovative feed-in tariff project that would have incorporated up to 100 MW of renewable energy into their generating mix, and is now ending—over the protests of both renewable energy developers and environmentalists.

“They did a 180-degree turn on the program,” said Laura Arnold, the president of the Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance.

“It’s really disappointing,” said Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, an Indianapolis-based environmental group. “Just three years ago, IPL was part of a broad coalition of utilities that were rightly calling public attention to climate change and the need for a comprehensive national policy,” he added. “Now IPL is withdrawing one of its only existing policies to begin the long process of cutting carbon.”

IPL did not respond to several phone calls and emails requesting comment.

Voluntary policies

Unlike many other states, Indiana does not require utilities to incorporate increasing amounts of renewable energy into their generating mix via a renewable portfolio standard, although it did institute modest voluntary goals in 2011 that aim for 10 percent renewable energy in the state by 2025. The state also has no law mandating a renewable feed-in tariff—a policy that requires utilities to provide customers that provide electricity to the grid from solar, wind or biomass a long-term rate high enough to justify their initial investment.

As a result, any feed-in tariff program by an Indiana utility is voluntary. The state’s public utility commission, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, approved IPL’s pilot feed-in tariff program, which it calls its Rate Renewable Energy Production (Rate-REP) program, in March 2010.

Under the program, as originally proposed, solar, wind and biomass developers would apply to IPL to participate, and the winning companies would build projects providing up to 100 MW of power—about 1 percent of IPL’s generating mix. In exchange, IPL would contract with the companies to pay them between 7 cents per kilowatt-hour for wind and 24 cents per kilowatt-hour for solar over a 10-year period. (IPL’s current contract terms guarantee a fixed rate for 15 years rather than ten.) IPL would charge slightly higher rates to its customers to cover the cost difference.

The policy worked: Within a year, solar and wind developers applied to build 170 MW of projects, Arnold said.

Then IPL pulled the plug.

‘Considerable return’ on investments

In a June 28 letter to the chair of the IURC explaining the company’s reasoning, William Henley, IPL’s vice president of corporate affairs, first lauded the pilot program, saying that it “had generated benefits for both customers and the Company.”

Customers, Henley wrote, would be paid for 15 years at rates high enough to cover costs and generate a “reasonable return on their investments.” IPL and its customers would benefit by “sourcing renewable energy from within IPL’s service territory at a set cost for 15 years to hedge against the potentially higher cost to comply with future renewable energy purchase mandates and to help keep the investments local.”

If it was so successful, then why did IPL terminate the program? In his letter to IURC chairman James Atterholt, Henley listed several reasons.

With 300 MW of utility-scale wind farms under contract and several MW of solar, IPL had enough renewable energy in its generation portfolio to promote clean energy and hedge against future renewable energy purchase mandates, he wrote. But today’s higher costs of renewable energy, as compared to “traditional forms of generation” such as coal, “must be balanced against other expected cost increases such as those necessary to comply with Environmental Protection Agency mandates,” Henley wrote.

Henley also maintained that costs for solar panels may soon rise, causing demand to fall.

And he said that “Rate REP has not generated the interest among customers that IPL originally expected.”

That’s highly misleading, say renewable energy advocates.

Afraid of competition?

By 2011, a year after the pilot program was launched, the company had 170 MW of proposed projects, more than the program could accommodate. Then IPL moved to end it.

“We believe they withdrew the program because the program would have been quite successful,” said Olson. “Utilities have fought solar PV for decades, especially rooftop PV. You’re generating your own power. It’s competition and loss of business,” Olson explained.

At the time of IPL’s announcement in late June, IPL had contracts for 2 MW in solar projects, and in their July 19 press release, they announced that Sunrise Energy Ventures, had won a reverse auction to supply 30 MW of solar energy to IPL’s mix. (In the reverse auction, the contractors proposed a price at which to sell electricity, and IPL chose the lowest bidder.

Dean Leischow, managing director of Sunrise, told Midwest Energy News the company plans to build three 10 MW, 70-acre solar farms in fields on the outskirts of Indianapolis. IPL has agreed to pay the company a fixed rate for 15 years.

As a result, IPL could lead all Midwest utilities in the amount of solar power generated in their service territory, according to Solar Electric Power Association’s 2011 utility solar rankings, IPL maintained in its press release.

That sounds about right, said Leischow, of Sunrise Energy Ventures.

“The Midwest is not a hotbed for renewable energy, so that would make it fairly easy for IPL to take a lead position. I think IPL going out with 30 MW puts them in the lead,” he said. “It’s an exciting project for Indiana and an exciting project for us, and I’m looking forward to getting it rolling.”

And Ken Zagzebski, IPL’s president and CEO, also touted the deal.

“IPL’s interest in solar energy is part of our commitment to a more diversified portfolio of power generation that includes appropriate renewable sources that allow us to provide safe, reliable energy at some of the most affordable residential prices in the nation,” Zabzebski said, according to the company’s July 19 press release.

But Olson had a very different take on the situation. “There’s lots of greenwashing going on,” he said.

IndyStar: Indianapolis International Airport solar farm awaits final approval; Project to use IPL Feed-in Tariff (FIT) called Rate REP July 21, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), IPL Rate REP, Uncategorized.
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9:15 PM, Jul. 20, 2012 | 5 Comments

Written by Julie Sickel

Original story at: http://www.indystar.com/article/20120720/BUSINESS/207200351/Indianapolis-International-Airport-solar-farm-awaits-final-approval?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|IndyStar.com|p

Plans to make Indianapolis International Airport home to the largest solar farm of any airport in the country took a definitive step forward Friday morning.

The Indianapolis Airport Authority approved entry into a 30-year land lease agreement with ET Energy Solutions for a 75-acre solar farm to be located at the airport entrance.

Eric Anderson, director of properties, said there were eight firms that submitted bids during the request for proposal process that began in July 2011, and ET Energy Solutions won out.

But before the company can begin the construction process, the solar farm must gain final approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

Kurt Schneider, president of ET Energy Solutions, said he expects approval to come within the next 45 days.

Eric Anderson, properties director, said the solar farm is a chance for the airport to gain extra revenue, give purpose to otherwise unusable land and make a statement about green energy.

“It is our objective, as well as others, to become more green,” Anderson said. “This is far and above a community statement, having this large solar array strategically located in a very visible area that anyone can see coming to and from the airport.”

The 52,400 solar panels would generate 17,500,000 kilowatt hours per year — enough to power 17,050 homes.

“There’s not too many times when you have a win-win-win situation,” Schneider said. “But the airport wins, jobs win and the economy wins.”

The airport will receive $315,000 in annual revenue from the land lease agreement. The solar energy produced will be sold to Indiana Power & Light through a 15-year power purchase program.

Schneider said pending a green light from the IURC, construction would begin in early winter, creating 140 temporary jobs. There will be 12 permanent positions once the solar farm is operational.

ET Energy Solutions is made up of renewable energy contractor Johnson Melloh Solutions and computer and electronic firm the Telemon Corp.

The solar farm would be a $30 million investment for the company with a 10 to 15 percent internal rate of return.

Other airports, like Denver International and Fresno, Calif., already have placed solar farms on unused land.

But Schneider said if the IAA’s solar farm grows into a second and third phase, as he anticipates it will, “No one will be able to touch us.”

Follow Star reporter Julie Sickel on Twitter at twitter.com/JulieSickel. Call her at (317) 444-6184.

Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) awards solar power projects for 30 MWs to Sunrise Energy Ventures July 21, 2012

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

I think we are all trying to digest the impact of this announcement by IPL. You might also be interested in the Distribution of Bids IPL received from this reverse auction. See IPL Reverse Auction-Distribution of Bids.

CONGRATULATIONS TO SUNRISE ENERGY VENTURES!

Laura Ann Arnold

Download a copy of News Release HERE: Indianapolis Power Light awards solar power projects (2)_letterhead

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 19, 2012

Contact:
Brad Riley
Indianapolis Power & Light Company
(317) 261-8093, pager (317) 393-7584
brad.riley@aes.com

Indianapolis could lead all Midwest utilities in solar power generation by end of 2013

Indianapolis – Solar power will grow by another 30 megawatts (MW) in Indianapolis, as Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL) announces today that it is awarding Sunrise Energy Ventures the opportunity to furnish solar power at three 10 MW sites in the IPL service territory. The power generated at the Sunrise sites would be purchased by IPL at a fixed price for 15 years, subject to approval by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

In an effort to have a more diversified portfolio of power generation resources, IPL issued a request for offers inviting companies to submit bids for up to 30 MW of renewable energy via a “reverse auction” favoring lowest rates. Qualifying renewable energy sources matched those outlined by the Renewable Energy Production (REP) program, including solar photovoltaic (PV), wind and bio-mass.

“IPL’s interest in solar energy is part of our commitment to a more diversified portfolio of power generation that includes appropriate renewable sources that allow us to provide safe, reliable energy at some of the most affordable residential prices in the nation,” said Ken Zagzebski, IPL’s President and CEO.

In addition to the planned Sunrise projects, a 60-acre 10 MW solar project at the west end of the Indianapolis International Airport plus other pending solar projects in the Indianapolis area under development could net as much as 70-80 MW of solar energy by the end of 2013. As a result, IPL could lead all Midwest utilities in the amount of solar power generated in their service territory, according to Solar Electric Power Association’s 2011 utility solar rankings.

In addition to solar, IPL also maintains 300 MW of wind power in its portfolio.

About Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL): Indianapolis Power & Light Company provides retail electric service to more than 470,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Indianapolis, as well as portions of other Central Indiana communities surrounding Marion County. During its long history, IPL has supplied its customers with some of the lowest-cost, most reliable power in the country. For more information about the company, please visit www.IPLpower.com.

About Sunrise Energy Ventures: Sunrise Energy Ventures (SEV) develops, owns and operates commercial to industrial scale solar photovoltaic (PV) equipment. SEV uses beneficial tax incentives (state and federal tax credits and accelerated depreciation) and utility production incentives to provide a revenue stream to its customers. SEV has a range of opportunities and will construct a custom program based on client-specific needs and desires.

SEV develops systems that can either send energy directly to a source of on-site consumption, directly to the utility, or a combination of both. Typically energy used on-site is done so through a netmetering arrangement with the utility, allowing for excess generation to be distributed back to the grid if necessary. SEV typically uses fixed multi-year standard utility programs to mitigate risk to its customers. For more information about the company, please visit www.sunriseenergyventures.com.  

IBJ: IPL pulling plug on renewable-energy effort; IndianaDG disappointed Feed-in Tariff (FIT) or Rate REP not to be extended after 3/30/13 July 7, 2012

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

This is the follow-up to our blog post with the News Release and Letter sent to Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) President and CEO Ken Zagzebski. See http://wp.me/pMRZi-Kb. It is interesting to note that the letter sent to Ken Zagzebski by Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance, Citizens Action Coalition and the Sierra Club has yet to receive a response. Instead, IPL VP William Henley sent a letter to Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) Chairman Jim Atterholt. 

Click here to read the letter IPL sent to the IURC: Letter from William Henley to Atterholt_2012-06-28

Henley’s letter also indicates that parties to the proceeding in Cause No. 44018 would also be contacted but as far as I know that also has not happened as of this blog post.

Please watch for additional blog posts on IPL’s Rate REP for further updates and analysis.

Laura Ann Arnold

P.S. A big “THANKS” to IBJ Report Chris O’Malley who wrote this story.

————————————————————————————-

Chris O’Malley July 5, 2012, Indianapolis Business Journal

Indianapolis Power & Light says it will stop buying electricity from customers who generate it from renewable sources—a blow to advocates of wind, solar and other clean forms of energy.

The 6,152 solar panels atop the Maj. Gen. Emmett J. Bean Federal Center generate about 1.8 megawatts of electricity that’s sold to Indianapolis Power & Light. (AP photo)

The utility’s 3-year-old Renewable Energy Production program, or REP, expires next March 30. Proponents of renewable energy, who’d praised IPL for creating the program, in recent months implored the utility to extend and expand it.

So far, IPL has agreed to purchase 2.2 megawatts of power generated by a handful of customers under contracts of up to 15 years. IPL estimates it will pay about $567,000 for that power.

Projects providing another 30 megawatts are pending, including a 10-megawatt solar farm slated to be built this summer at Indianapolis International Airport.

An additional 30 megawatts will be obtained through a “reverse auction,” which favors the applicant offering to sell power to the utility at the least unit cost.

“IPL anticipates more projects proposed before the program expires in March,” said Crystal Livers Powers, spokeswoman for the utility serving 470,000 customers, principally in Marion County.

A letter IPL sent June 28 to Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Chairman James Atterholt cites several reasons for not continuing the pilot.

IPL said it already has contracts to purchase 300 megawatts of electricity generated by utility-scale wind farms to promote clean energy and as a hedge against high costs that might result from a federally mandated renewable energy program in the future.

“However, in the current energy environment, increasing the amount of renewable energy, which now costs more than traditional forms of generation, must be balanced against other expected cost increases such as those necessary to comply with Environmental Protection Agency mandates.”

IPL said earlier this year it may have to spend upward of $900 million to equip its power plants with scrubbers to reduce harmful emissions.

IPL’s ratepayers will pay for those upgrades through higher electric bills.

The utility also cited rising costs for photovoltaic solar panels, in part due to higher levies on panels from China, and the phaseout of federal tax incentives for renewable projects.

Thus, customers proposing renewable energy projects might find their costs rising unless IPL pays them more for power under the long-term contract.

IPL pays anywhere from 7.5 cents per kilowatt-hour for large wind turbines to 24 cents per kilowatt-hour for solar projects.

IPL ratepayers shoulder the cost of buying renewable power under the REP program, and paying more for power under the program would “put pressure on customers’ rates at a time when rates are expected to increase due to the new environmental compliance costs,” IPL wrote.

Finally, IPL told the commission the REP program has not generated the level of interest among customers that it originally expected.

IPL theorizes that part of the problem may be the economic downturn. The greatest interest has been from developers interested in creating projects that are eventually sold to third-party investors, the utility said.

Though many developers have sought to partner with IPL customers so they can qualify for the REP program, such projects are a “financial play” that benefits tax investors “and only marginally benefits host customers who do not always understand the obligations and risks that must be assumed as a result of such a partnership.”

It’s true that some of the projects are complicated. The airport’s solar farm, for example, is being constructed through a joint venture of three local firms: architectural/engineering firm Schmidt Associates, telecommunications services firm Telamon Corp. and Johnson-Melloh Solutions, a contractor involved in several renewable projects around the region.

The Indianapolis Airport Authority expects to collect $316,000 annually from the solar-farm partnership, which will feed all the solar panels’ output into IPL’s grid.

Many IPL customers simply will not embark on renewable projects unless they have the long-term financial assurances the REP program provides, said Laura Arnold, president of the Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance, who said she’s disappointed in IPL’s decision.

“Even when the customer wants to do this, they often don’t have the cash upfront” for the investment, she said. “There’s not going to be as much interest” now.

“The idea of just abandoning the program—a program that had so much interest—is clearly wrongheaded,” said Dave Menzer, who heads the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign in Indiana.

If anything, Menzer said, renewable power now looks more cost-effective when factoring-in the hundreds of millions of dollars IPL will need to spend on additional pollution controls on its coal plants.

Those costs will soar further for future carbon dioxide emission caps, he added.

Ratepayers can pay for either those pollution upgrades or for renewable generation, “but if we had our choice, let’s promote new technology and clean energy and job creation,” he said of renewable generation.

On the other hand, some industry critics say a utility can generate a higher rate of return on a conventionally fueled power plant and that such a prospect is foremost in the minds of investor-owned utilities.

To that extent, IPL is looking to add additional generation in the form of natural-gas-fueled plants. Late last month, the subsidiary of Virginia-based AES Corp. issued a request for proposals for 600 megawatts of gas-fired generation, starting in 2017.

Such generation could replace a like amount of existing coal-fired generation at its Eagle Valley plant in Martinsville or its Harding Street facility.

IPL said it’s evaluating whether to build a natural gas unit in the Indianapolis area, as well as considering whether to buy existing power plants “or some combination of these options.”

IPL’s so-called net metering program will continue. Under net metering, IPL issues a credit on the bills of customers who generate excess power each month through renewable sources, up to 1 megawatt.•

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

Indianapolis Housing Agency creates a solar farm at complex; Future of IPL Rate REP or feed-in tariff in doubt April 16, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Feed-in Tariffs (FiT), Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), IPL Rate REP, Uncategorized.
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Dear Blog Readers:

This is a very nice article but it never mentions once what the program is that is being utilized by the Indianapolis Housing Agency (IHA). They are selling the electricity from the solar photovoltaic panels under a program offered by Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) called Rate REP which is a voluntary feed-in tariff (VFIT).

IPL’s Rate REP became effective on March 30, 2010, as a three-year pilot program approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC). The future fate of the program past March 30, 2013, however, is in doubt. The IURC has directed IPL to file a petition to extend and/or expand the pilot program nine (9) months before it expires. That means that IPL will need to file a petition with the IURC by June 30, 2012. Currently it is not clear whether IPL intends to request to extend and expand the program or if IPL will alllow this program to expire.

I urge blog readers to educate themselves about IPL’s Rate REP and to contact the company about extending and expanding the program. Rate REP faced a bit of a hiatus in February 2011 when IPL requested to suspend the program as it was originally approved. A case was filed before the IURC a year ago (Cause No. 44018) in which IPL requested to make a number of significant changes to the program. The IURC issued an order in that case 3/07/2012, however, IPL has still not made a compliance filing implementing the changes approved by the IURC. Why there has been such a delay is anyon’e guess.

Only a handful of projects have been approved thus far under Rate REP. For details see http://wp.me/PMRZi-Hv.

Please join our campaign to extend and expand Rate REP. Email me at Laura.Arnold@indianadg.net to join the Rate REP campaign.

Laura Ann Arnold

Solar panels line the roof of a housing unit at Laurelwood Apartments. The Indianapolis Housing Agency, which owns the complex, expects to earn about $20,000 a year selling the energy created by panels installed on the roofs of eight units.  /  Charlie Nye / The Star

Original article: http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012204120347

Energy created by panels at complex will be sold to IPL under feed-in tariff called Rate REP

7:15 AM, Apr. 12, 2012  |

4 Comment

Written by Bruce C. Smith

A $10 million renovation of the Laurelwood Apartments has included the first urban solar farm in the housing system run by the Indianapolis Housing Agency.

Officials announced Tuesday that 248 solar panels have been attached to the south-facing roofs on eight apartment buildings in the complex.

Covering 4,340 square feet, the array is producing 59 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power several average-size homes. The power is sent to the Indianapolis Power & Light Co. grid.

The housing agency expects to earn about $20,000 a year selling the energy to IPL and plans to use the money for community maintenance and other purposes, said IHA director Rufus “Bud” Myers.

“This is another example of IHA utilizing green technology to both benefit the environment and improve the lives of our residents,” Myers said.

Another IHA housing project, 16 Park, on the Near Northside, opened last year with an innovative roof that features gardens and a water recycling system.

“We hope to show through this program that our communities are contributing partners in making Indianapolis more sustainable — all while generating critical revenue to reinvest in our neighborhoods,” he said.

Laurelwood residents don’t use the solar power directly, and the project didn’t affect their utility costs. But resident Janet Lawrence said the system is a rare feature in public housing.

“It is something that I take pride in. Wherever you live, you want it to be nice. It’s not so much where you live but how you live,” she said.

While solar panels may be installed in other housing agency developments, Lawrence suggested that other green technology might be considered. “Maybe there could be wind turbines at Blackburn Terrace, because they have lots of open space.”

She looked to the roofs of several nearby two-story Laurelwood buildings and noted how the solar panels extend only a few inches above the black shingled surface. From a distance, they’re barely visible.

IPL rejected a flood of solar energy projects proposed last year by out-of-state developers. Instead, it’s been waiting to buy power from local solar array sites such as Laurelwood.

At Laurelwood, the solar farm is a $350,000 portion of the $10 million in renovations that have been made at the complex over several years.

Some of the funding came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a federal program that Rep. Andre Carson, D-Indianapolis, said “is a critical first step toward an all-in energy approach that promotes solar, wind and nuclear energy alongside the resources we are already using.”

He called the Laurelwood solar farm “an inspiring example of Hoosier ingenuity and innovation.”

It also is a public-private partnership. Investors bought federal income tax credits.

Private money from institutional investors — such as banks and insurance company’s looking for green projects to support — was arranged by Indianapolis-based City Real Estate Advisors. CEO Jeffrey A. Whiting said City has arranged nearly $60 million in private investment over several years for agency projects.

Call Star reporter Bruce C. Smith at (317) 444-6081       

Congressman Andre Carson:   

“I joined the Indianapolis Housing Authority (IHA), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), and Johnson Melloh Solutions this week for the unveiling of a brand new Urban Solar Farm at Laurelwood Apartments on Indy’s south side.

This remarkable facility utilizes over 4,000 square feet of solar panels to capture and convert energy into usable power.  IHA is able to sell the energy generated to IPL, creating a new revenue stream with which the organization can strengthen the surrounding community. The project was funded, in part, by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.

For many families throughout the 7th District, energy costs are a significant financial burden. We need an all-in approach that promotes renewable resources alongside oil and coal. By increasing our energy profile, we not only step away from our dependence on foreign oil, we lower costs for Hoosier families.

The IHA Urban Solar Farm is a remarkable example of the Hoosier ingenuity and innovation that is leading the way for the rest of the country.”