Duke Energy Indiana Contribution for Battery Storage Due to OUCC Settlement Agreement

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   March 31, 2015  /   Posted in Duke Energy, Edwardsport IGCC Plant, Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC)  /   No Comments

solar panels wind turbines

The research will include installing energy storage systems at two schools served by Duke Energy in Indiana, probably schools that already have renewable-energy installations on site.
 

Duke Energy gives $1M to Indiana battery center for energy storage research

 UPDATED: Mar 30, 2015, 11:34
, Senior Staff Writer-Charlotte Business Journal
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IndianaDG: As Paul Harvey used to say, here is the rest of the story. Just in case you read the News Release we posted here on this story and wondered about the background on this announcement. 

Duke Energy is contributing $1 million for research at the Indiana Battery Innovation Center on using battery storage with rooftop solar and small wind turbines.

The funding makes good on an agreement Charlotte-based Duke (NYSE:DUK) made with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor in 2012 as part of a settlement of cost overruns at Duke’s Edwardsport gasified coal plant.

The research will look at ways battery storage can be used with smaller sun and wind installations to maximize the power available from such projects and integrate them more easily with the power grid.

School storage

The effort will include installing energy storage systems at two schools served by Duke Energy, preferably with renewable-energy sources already on site. The systems will test the benefits of energy storage and serve as a learning lab for students. The schools have not yet been selected.

“Through this new partnership between the OUCC, (the innovation center) and Duke Energy, Indiana will continue to grow the public/private partnerships necessary to bring together the talent and resources to make our state a leader in energy storage,” says Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, who announced the grant Monday.

Testing through 2016

Duke Energy Indiana President Doug Esamann says the research is aimed at resolving an inherent problem with distributed generation from small independent sources.

“Electricity is a unique commodity because it must be produced at the exact time it’s needed,” he says. “Technology that can store energy is a way to advance renewable energy sources such as wind and solar which are clean, but not always available when power is needed.”

The innovation center expects to begin testing the benefits of storage with small solar and wind projects this fall. The school programs will begin in the winter. Testing will continue through 2016.

Settlement deal

Cost overruns at the Edwardsport plant raised the operation’s total cost from the initial $2 billion estimate to about $3.5 billion.

In 2012, Duke worked put an agreement with the state’s consumer counselor to limit the portion of the plant construction charged to customers to $2.6 billion.

As part of that agreement, Duke agreed to with the counselor’s office to fund $1 million in clean-energy research. That is the money being given to the battery center.

Mother Jones: Are Solar-Powered Homes Jacking Up Everyone Else’s Electric Bills? True or false?

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   March 30, 2015  /   Posted in Net Metering, solar, Uncategorized  /   No Comments

Solar power is cheaper than ever—but utilities are trying to discourage people from using it.

Power companies’ beef with solar boils down to a clever payment system that was largely responsible for bringing about the solar boom in the first place—a practice known as net metering. Most solar homes aren’t actually “off the grid”: They stay connected to transmission lines, using regular power when their panels aren’t operating (like at night). But they also feed electricity into the grid when they produce more than they can use.

Sounds great, right? Not really, say the power companies. They pay solar homeowners for their excess kilowatts—but argue homeowners aren’t paying their fair share for grid maintenance. That has utilities in revolt, and the fight has reached a fever pitch in Northern California, where the state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric, serves more residential solar homes than any other.

Like many utilities, PG&E charges customers on a multitiered price scheme—the more electricity you use, the more you pay per unit. That can incentivize power hogs to conserve, but it can also mean that a poor family of four in California’s AC-dependent Central Valley can end up paying rates far above the national average (and what it actually costs PG&E to serve them), while a Google-employed bachelor millionaire gets a bargain. If that tech dude decides to install solar panels, he pays even less—even though he still uses the grid.

From PG&E’s website:
PG&E’s standard Tiered Base Plan has four pricing tiers. As you use allotted electricity for each tier during your bill period you move to the next, higher priced tier.
To save on your bill, you’ll need to conserve energy to stay on lower price tiers as long as possible, as well as once you’ve reached higher price tiers.

How Tiers Work

Tier 1: Each monthly billing period begins at the lowest rate. While you want to stretch as far as possible, average customers use all of Tier 1 in about 15-20 days.
Tier 2: With about one third the allotment of Tier 1, Tier 2 costs slightly more (+2¢). If your Tier 1 lasts 15-20 days, Tier 2 could last another 5-6 days.
Tier 3: The rate increases dramatically (+9¢) in this tier. Customers who enter Tier 3 are consuming significant amounts of electricity.
Tier 4: Finally; if you enter tier 4, you are using more than twice your Tier 1 total, and the rate increases by an additional 6¢.
How Tiers Work Graph.

NOTE: This chart represents an above average usage customer.
The length of time in each tier depends on monthly energy usage.

To be fair, customers who generate their own electricity also save the utilities money, causing less wear and tear on transmission lines and less power lost along the way. But a study commissioned by California’s Legislature found that in the Golden State at least, these benefits do not fill the hole left by lost revenue. Net metering cost the state’s privately owned utilities $254 million in 2012, a price tag estimated to jump to $1.1 billion per year by 2020 as an estimated 500,000 more homes go solar.

The solar industry shot back with a study of its own, arguing that those costs are minor compared with the roughly $32 billion that California’s major utilities earned in 2013 and that, for PG&E, the problem is not really caused by solar but by the huge gap—about threefold—between the company’s lowest and highest rate tiers. Since solar is attractive to high-tier customers, who stand to save the most money, each one who saves by installing a system is a big blow to the utility’s bottom line. Smooth out the rate tiers, the study suggests, and the problem disappears.

In the future, utilities will have to act more like grid managers, connecting power from a host of sources—like data flowing into a server from many places.

In 2013, California lawmakers told the state’s utilities to do just that. PG&E’s proposed solution, set to be voted on by state regulators in the spring, would reduce the number of price tiers and add a fixed monthly grid maintenance surcharge. The problem is that the fixed charge will erode the cost advantages of going solar, since you can’t avoid it just by using less power from the grid. Sanjay Ranchod, a policy analyst for the solar installer SolarCity, sees the change as a sneaky way for the utilities to kneecap the competition. Imposing a fixed monthly charge, he says, is “one way you can inhibit the growth of distributed solar.”

Similar battles are playing out from Utah to Wisconsin, as utilities fight to roll back net metering, restructure their rate systems, or impose special fees for solar users—and it’s easy to see why power companies are sweating. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that the gap between the cost of maintaining the US grid and the available funds will grow by $11 billion per year through 2020, since the revenue streams utilities have traditionally relied on to pay for those costs—investments in big power plants they can recover through increased sales—are drying up.

John Farrell, a program director at the Minneapolis-based Institute for Local Self-Reliance, argues that to succeed down the line, utilities will have to act more like grid managers, connecting power from a host of sources (much like data flowing into a server from many places) and investing in technology that helps consumers use power more efficiently. “There’s no outcome 10 or 20 years from now that looks anything like what utilities have been before,” Farrell says. “It’s going to happen anyway, and you just have to choose whether you’re gonna like it or not.”

Indiana to take leadership role in energy storage technology

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   March 30, 2015  /   Posted in Duke Energy, Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC)  /   No Comments

Indiana to take leadership role in energy storage technology

  • Duke Energy, Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, Battery Innovation Center partner on clean energy initiative
  • Duke Energy to contribute $1 million to fund project
  •  Indiana’s Battery Innovation Center positioned to become a global center on energy storage technology

INDIANAPOLIS, March 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Can renewable energy be available when customers need it as opposed to only when the sun shines or wind blows?

Storing energy from the sun and wind and using it efficiently on the electric grid will be the focus of new research at Southern Indiana’s Battery Innovation Center (BIC) near the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center.

Duke Energy and the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) are partnering with the Battery Innovation Center to advance energy storage research, particularly as it applies to homes and communities. The initiative is part of a 2012 regulatory settlement between the OUCC and Duke Energy.

“Through this new partnership between the OUCC, BIC and Duke Energy, Indiana will continue to grow the public/private partnerships necessary to bring together the talent and resources to make our state a leader in energy storage,” noted Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann, who made the announcement from the Indiana Statehouse this morning.

Duke Energy is funding $1 million in research at the Battery Innovation Center to study how battery storage can maximize renewable power sources such as rooftop solar panels and small wind turbines and integrate them into the electric grid.

“Electricity is a unique commodity because it must be produced at the exact time it’s needed,” said Duke Energy Indiana President Doug Esamann. “Technology that can store energy is a way to advance renewable energy sources such as wind and solar which are clean, but not always available when power is needed. We believe the research we’re announcing today can pay dividends for our customers in the future.”

The project also includes installing energy storage systems at two schools served by Duke Energy, preferably with renewable energy sources already on site. The systems will test the benefits of energy storage and serve as a living learning lab for students. The schools have not yet been selected.

“At the heart of energy security is having renewable energy available based on demand as opposed to only when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing,” said Battery Innovation Center President David Roberts. “We’ll be able to simulate the electric grid with this project and evaluate hardware and battery options while improving the software that controls smaller-scale renewable generation.”

After the project lab is created, the Battery Innovation Center expects to begin testing this fall. The school programs will begin by winter, and testing will continue into 2016.

“The technology the center will study has the potential to benefit all electric consumers,” said Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor David Stippler. “Promoting the reliability of renewable resources into the energy mix when needed is a crucial element in enhancing the quality of everyone’s daily lives. The center’s research will put consumers a step closer to that reality, which will be good for residential customers, our schools and businesses alike.”

Some areas the project will study:

  • How renewable energy generated at homes and businesses can be stored and used at a later time to meet a home’s or community’s needs.
  • How energy storage can compensate for the effects of weather on renewable energy sources.
  • How storage systems can be a backup source of energy if there are supply shortages or disruptions on the electric grid.

The Battery Innovation Center is a unique public-private partnership and not-for-profit organization that incorporates leadership from world-class universities, commercial enterprises, and government organizations to focus on the rapid development, testing and commercialization of safe, reliable and lighter weight energy storage systems for commercial and defense organizations. Located adjacent to Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, the Battery Innovation Center provides both a virtual collaborative network of capabilities needed for development of next generation energy storage solutions as well as a new, state-of-the-art, $15.6 millionenergy research lab.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) is the largest electric power holding company in the United States with approximately $121 billion in total assets. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.3 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. Its commercial power and international energy business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets inNorth America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor 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. Follow the OUCC on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

Contacts:
Battery Innovation Center: Melissa Roberts, 317.532.4808
Duke Energy: Angeline Protogere, 317.838.1338
Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor: Anthony Swinger, 317.233.2747

 

Indiana Lt. Gov. Ellspermann to announce Indiana project to advance renewable energy storage

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   March 30, 2015  /   Posted in Duke Energy, Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC)  /   No Comments

Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann

Lt. Governor’s Office Media Advisory, March 27

Lt. Governor Ellspermann will host the announcement of a partnership between the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), Duke Energy and the Battery Innovation Center (BIC) for a new clean energy initiative which will position Indiana’s BIC to become a global center for energy storage technology. Duke Energy will also present a check for $1 million to fund the project and field tests at two Indiana schools.

 

 

What:              Announcement of Indiana project to advance renewable  energy storage

 

When:             Monday, March 30th @ 10:30a.m.

 

Where:            Lt. Governor’s offices Statehouse Suite 333

 

Who:               Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann

Indiana Senator Eric Bassler (District 39)

Indiana Senator Jim Merritt (District 31)

David Stippler, Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor

Duane Embree, Executive Director, Indiana Office of Defense  Development

Doug Esamann, President, Duke Energy Indiana

David Roberts, President, Battery Innovation Center

Paul Mitchell, President & CEO, Energy Systems Network

Environment America Report Lists Indianapolis No. 4 City with Installed Solar PV in US

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   March 28, 2015  /   Posted in solar  /   No Comments

LA leads the list of top 10 cities for solar PV capacity

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