Eagle Point Solar Attorney Summarizes Iowa Supreme Court decision on solar PPAs

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   August 22, 2014  /   Posted in Uncategorized  /   No Comments

Iowa Supreme Court Rules on Solar Power Purchase Agreement

Posted by Jonathan Gallagher James Pray Philip Stoffregen on Sunday, August 03, 2014

On July 11, 2014, the Iowa Supreme Court issued a long-awaited ruling on the legality of a power purchase agreement (“PPA”) between Eagle Point Solar and its customer, City of Dubuque, for the sale of electricity from solar panels. The case was handled by Phil Stoffregen, who argued the case at all levels, and James Pray and Jonathan Gallagher, who also worked on the District Court and Iowa Supreme Court briefs. Leanna Whipple assisted with the brief filed with the Iowa Utilities Board (“IUB”).

In summary, the Court held that the “behind the meter” direct sale of electricity generated from solar power (photo voltaic) arrays and using a power purchase agreement that sold the electricity on a cents-per-kWh basis did not automatically render the seller a “public utility.” SZ Enterprises, LLC, d/b/a Eagle Point Solar v. Iowa Utilities Board, ___ N.W.2d. ____ (July 11, 2014). The Court issued its ruling in a 4-2 decision and affirmed a district court decision by the Polk County District Court that had overruled an earlier decision by the IUB.

The immediate and most narrow impact of the decision is that companies offering solar power installations can use this decision to help fashion their contracts to sell the power from those solar power installations directly to a customer “behind the meter” as a way to finance the array. Prior to this decision, buyers had to either buy the systems outright or enter into long term leases. In either case, the efficiency of system was not certain, and this caused problems for buyers that were unsure if the cost of the system might outweigh the value of the electricity that would be generated. This was especially true for buyers who could not offset the cost with tax credits, such as non-profits.

By structuring the transaction as a sale of electricity, a buyer can rest assured that the cost will not exceed what has already been budgeted for the purchase of power — unless of course the buyer agrees to pay more per kWh than the existing utility charges.

In the Eagle Point Solar decision, Eagle Point Solar was in the business of providing design, installation, maintenance, monitoring, operational, and financing services with respect to solar electric generation systems in Iowa. The City of Dubuque was interested in pursuing the development of a renewable energy resource in the form of an on-site solar power system to satisfy a portion of the electric power needs of a single city building. Dubuque sought to enter into a long-term financing agreement with Eagle Point Solar to accomplish that goal. Eagle Point Solar proposed to finance, install, own, operate, and maintain the solar system and to charge the City on a cents-per-kWh basis for the electrical output. Under the proposed PPA, Eagle Point Solar would be entitled to the incentives associated with the solar power system, including tax credits and accelerated depreciation, and would credit Dubuque with one-third of any revenues received from the sale of the credits. The city-owned building is located within the exclusive electric service territory of Interstate Power and Light Company (“IPL”). The building would continue to remain connected to the electric grid, and Dubuque would continue to purchase electricity from IPL to satisfy some of the electric energy needs of the building.

Eagle Point Solar petitioned the IUB for a declaratory order determining that under Iowa law Eagle Point Solar was neither a “public utility” subject to regulation by the IUB under Iowa law nor an “electric utility” subject to the exclusive service territory provisions of Iowa law. On April 12, 2012, the IUB issued an order finding that Eagle Point Solar would be a “public utility” subject to regulation by the IUB and an “electric utility” subject to the exclusive service territory provisions of Iowa law. This decision was based on a “bright line test” developed by the IUB that prohibited all sales of electricity from any entity other than regulated utilities. The IUB ignored Eagle Point Solar’s argument that the IUB was bound by prior Iowa case law in Northern Natural.  Based on these findings, the IUB order declared that Eagle Point Solar would be prohibited by Iowa law from offering the services described in its petition because it had no right to sell power to customers in IPL’s exclusive service territory.

On judicial review of the IUB’s decision, the Polk County District Court agreed with Eagle Point Solar and held that the IUB erred by applying an incorrect legal standard in determining whether Eagle Point Solar would be a “public utility” under Iowa law. In lieu of the “bright line test” that prohibited all sales of electricity from any entity other than regulated utilities, the district court held that the proper standard was whether the transaction was “clothed with a public interest” under the statutory definition of a public utility. To determine whether the public interest was involved, the court looked to the eight-factor test from Natural Gas Service Co. v. Serv-Yu Cooperative, Inc., 219 P.2d 324, 325–26 (Ariz. 1950) that had been approved by the Iowa Supreme Court in Iowa State Commerce Commission v. Northern Natural Gas Co., 161 N.W.2d 111, 115 (Iowa 1968).

The IUB and IPL appealed the district court decision to the Iowa Supreme Court. They were joined in their appeal by MidAmerican Energy Company and a consortium of other utilities. On appeal, the IUB argued that any sale of electricity on a cents-per-kWh basis, even if it was not on the utility “grid,” automatically qualified the seller as a regulated utility. Because any such utility would not have an approved sales territory, the sale would therefore be illegal. The utilities trotted out a parade of horribles should Eagle Point Solar be allowed to sell electricity directly to the City of Dubuque, even if the transaction was wholly “behind the meter.” Eagle Point Solar argued that the statute defined a “public utility” and that Eagle Point Solar did not meet that definition. Eagle Point Solar also argued that the District Court was correct in applying well-established Iowa law and that before a company can be deemed to be a “public utility,” its actions must be “clothed in the public interest.”

The Iowa Supreme Court agreed with Eagle Point Solar and the district court. First, it held that the IUB was entitled to no deference in defining the term “public utility” as that the definition was already set out in Iowa law. This holding struck down the IUB’s own bright line test. This test ignored prior Iowa Supreme Court precedent that dealt with the clear statutory definition of a public utility.

Indeed, under the IUB approach, a behind-the-meter solar generating project built by an engineering class at Iowa State University that furnished electricity on a per kWh basis to a nearby farm would be considered a public utility subject to a wide gamut of regulatory requirements. Even if the students obtained a waiver of the territorial exclusivity of the local electric utility, students would be required to stay after class to handle the paperwork associated with filing tariffs with the IUB.

By eliminating the IUB’s bright line test, the Supreme Court opened the door to the more nuanced analysis based on the Serv-Yu eight-factor test that had been urged by Eagle Point Solar and adopted by the district court and used in previous Iowa Supreme Court cases.

The first factor requires an assessment of “what the corporation actually does,” or, as the Court put it, “what is actually happening in the transaction.” The Court noted that the transaction was an arms-length transaction between a willing buyer and seller. The Court also found that the IUB would not try to argue that behind the meter installations owned by a host or subject to a lease would not by itself be regulated. It was, therefore, the method of financing that was at issue, and utilities are not in the business of financing renewable energy. Accordingly, it held: “From a consumer protection standpoint, there is no reason to impose regulation on this type of individualized and negotiated transaction.”

With respect to the second factor the Court agreed with the district court that it cannot be said that the solar panels on the city’s rooftop involves a “dedication to public use.” “The installation is no more dedicated to public use than the thermal windows or extra layers of insulation in the building itself. The behind-the-meter solar generating facility represents a private transaction between Eagle Point Solar and the city.”

The Court, like the district court below, ignored the third factor as inconclusive. The fourth factor is whether the activity is “[d]ealing with the service of a commodity in which the public has been generally held to have an interest.” Here, the Court found that it “seems clear that the provisions of on-site solar energy are not an indispensable service that ordinarily cries out for public regulation and behind-the-meter solar equipment is not an essential commodity required by all members of the public.”

The fifth factor is whether the transaction is “[m]onopolizing or intending to monopolize the territory with a public service commodity.” The Court held that this factor “clearly cuts against a finding that Eagle Point Solar is a public utility.” “There is simply nothing in the record to suggest that Eagle Point Solar is a six hundred pound economic gorilla that has cornered defenseless city leaders in Dubuque.” The Court held that the nature of the third-party PPA suggests the opposite, “as the city has entered into what amounts to be a low risk transaction—it owes nothing unless the contraption on its rooftop actually produces valuable electricity.”

The Court treated the sixth and seventh factors together. The sixth factor is an “[a]cceptance of substantially all requests for service” and the seventh is that “[s]ervice under contracts and reserving the right to discriminate is not always controlling.” The Court found that both factors relate to the ability to accept all requests for service and, conversely, the ability to discriminate among members of the public. The Court held that these twin factors cut in favor of finding that Eagle Point Solar is not a public utility. The Court noted that Eagle Point Solar was “not producing a fungible commodity that everyone needs” and that it is “not producing a substance like water that everyone old or young will drink, or natural gas necessary to run the farms throughout the county.”

The eighth Serv-Yu factor, “[a]ctual or potential competition with other corporations whose business is clothed with public interest” was found to be “perhaps the most interesting” by the Court. However, the Court found that: “There is nothing in the record of this administrative proceeding, however, to gauge the likelihood or degree of material impact, and there was no suggestion that the integrity of the grid or economic health of regulated providers has been adversely affected in states such as California, Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado, where third-party PPAs are not considered public utilities for purposes of regulation.” The Court added that Eagle Point Solar “does not seek to replace the traditional electric supplier but only to reduce demand.”

The Court added that behind-the-meter solar facilities offered positive impacts in keeping with Iowa’s mandate that utilities support customer programs to use renewable energy sources:

Behind-the-meter solar facilities tend to generate electricity during peak hours when the grid is under the greatest pressure. Further, Iowa Code section 476.8 requires regulated electric utilities to provide reasonably adequate service, and such service must “include programs for customers to encourage the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.” Thus, third-party PPAs like the one proposed by Eagle Point actually further one of the goals of regulated electric companies, namely, the use of energy efficient and renewable energy sources.

The Court concluded by holding:

In the end, whether an activity is sufficient to draw an entity within the scope of utilities regulation is a matter of assessing the strength of the Serv-Yu factors on a case-by-case basis. The weighing of Serv-Yu factors is not a mathematical exercise but instead poses a question of practical judgment. See Northern Natural Gas II, 679 N.W.2d at 633. In our view, in this case, the balance of factors point away from a finding that the third-party PPA for a behind-the-meter solar generation facility is sufficiently “clothed with the public interest” to trigger regulation.

The decision by the Iowa Supreme Court will provide buyers of electricity new options when weighing whether to try renewable power. In addition to lease or outright purchase arrangements, they may be able to consider buying renewable power by the kilowatt.  Again, the details of the deal will matter. Regardless, the broad holding of this decision will allow new buyers more options to better budget electrical costs and to support renewable energy at the same time. By buying power by the kilowatt, the risk actually shifts to the seller, because if the array does not work as advertised, then the buyer will pay less.

From a more practical standpoint, the decision is a rebuke to the IUB and its regulated utilities and signals that the Iowa Supreme Court will not be swayed by unsupported arguments based on the fears of monopolies worried about losing their iron grip on their service territories. Also, the decision did not open the door completely to all forms of power. The Iowa Supreme Court applied the Serv-Yu factors to this specific set of facts. The Iowa Supreme Court looked to the proposed agreement in particular when making its decision. Not every new power source will necessarily qualify under the Serv-Yu factors analysis.

For more information, please contact BrownWinick, whose attorney Philip Stoffregen argued the case before the Iowa Supreme Court on behalf of Eagle Point Solar. James Pray and Jonathan Gallagher were on the briefs as co-counsel.

Contact information:

Phil Stoffregen
515-242-2415 direct
stoffregen@brownwinick.com

James L. Pray
515-242-2404 direct
pray@brownwinick.com

Jonathan Gallagher
515-242-2422 direct
gallagher@brownwinick.com

A copy of the case can be found here:http://www.iowacourts.gov/About_the_Courts/Supreme_Court/Supreme_Court_Opinions/Recent_Opinions/20140711/13-0642.pdf

 

Iowa Supreme Court Decision on Eagle Point Solar expected to grow solar installations

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   August 21, 2014  /   Posted in Uncategorized  /   No Comments

Solar panels have been installed on the roof of apartment buildings at Kirkwood Courts Apartments adjacent to Kirkwood Community College in southwest Cedar Rapids. Photographed on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Read more at http://thegazette.com/subject/news/business/solar-installations-expected-to-grow-in-iowa-20140816#JqW4CuPDXrEFhuV1.99 Also more photos.

Solar installations expected to grow in Iowa

Falling cost, court ruling seen boosting sector

By George C. Ford, The Gazette
Published: August 17 2014 | 12:15 am in BusinessBusiness Rotator,

 

When Mike Bates was seeking to reduce operating costs for his Washington County farm, 400-foot turkey sheds provided the perfect fit for installation of a 100-kilowatt solar array.

“I already had the existing buildings at the right angle to the sun to take advantage of all of that energy from the sun,” Bates said. “For me to take better care of my turkeys, I needed to use more fans and more electricity.

“With the solar panels, I feel really comfortable that I can have a lot of fans running to keep those birds comfortable during the heat of the summer.”

Ankeny-based CB Solar installed the solar array on Bates’s farm in June 2013. The photovoltaic modules convert the sun’s energy to electricity through an inverter, which changes the direct current to alternating current.

That powers the ventilation systems in Bates’s turkey barns, feeders, lights and waterers, as well as his grain dryer. He also added a solar array to the roof of his machine shop to further reduce his electric bill.

Solar arrays, while not as well known as the wind turbines that have dotted Iowa’s landscape in recent years, are steadily growing in numbers and size across the state. Apartment complexes, farmers, electrical equipment suppliers, beer distributors, cities, school districts, rural electric cooperatives and many other energy consumers are embracing the technology as a clean, renewable source of electricity.

A report by the Iowa Environmental Council contends that 20 percent of the state’s annual electricity needs could be met using rooftop solar installations. Iowa’s overall potential for solar energy production ranks 16th nationally, according to the report.

Changes

The competitive cost of solar energy continues to be a barrier to widespread adoption, but that is changing. From an average of 21.4 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2010 for a utility grade photovoltaic project, the cost had fallen to 11.2 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

 

The federal agency has set a target of 6 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2020. By comparison, the average U.S. electricity cost is 12 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

On July 30, Farmers Electric Cooperative in Kalona marked the completion of the largest solar farm in the state. The 2,900 solar panels on four and half acres of land are expected to generate up to 1.1 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year — enough energy to power about 120 homes.

Eagle Point Solar of Dubuque constructed and owns the Kalona solar farm. Farmers Electric will purchase the power and take possession of the array after 10 years.

Earlier this summer, what is believed to be the largest private solar energy system in Iowa was installed at the Kirkwood Courts Apartments in Cedar Rapids.

Haverkamp Properties of Ames, the owner of the 400-unit student housing complex, invested $1.8 million to have All Energy Solar of St. Paul, Minn., install 2,000 solar panels on 27 buildings and interconnected with 247 electric meters,

Brent Haverkamp, CEO of Haverkamp Properties, said the 502-kilowatt system is expected to generate some 14 million kilowatt hours of electricity over the next 25 years.

“We pay 100 percent of the utilities for our tenants at Kirkwood Courts Apartments. As such, we are a heavy electrical user,” Haverkamp said. “With the federal and state incentives as well as a lucrative Alliant Energy rebate, we were able to make the project work for us.”

Haverkamp said the Kirkwood Courts solar array produces more electricity than the complex consumes each day.

“Alliant Energy essentially has a bucket, and when you overproduce, the company gives you a credit to your account,” Haverkamp said. “At night, when you are not producing electricity, the company works off the credit on a one-to-one basis.”

Haverkamp would like to pursue solar energy installations at student apartment complexes he owns in Ames. However, a number of details need to be worked out, including the pricing structure for surplus electricity sold (wholesale) versus electricity consumed (retail) during nighttime hours.

Lack of uniform utility interconnection, solar planning, zoning and permitting processes across Iowa have slowed the development of solar energy installations. The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) received a $1 million, three-year grant in November from the U.S. Department of Energy to help meet its goal of reducing barriers to solar installation and, as the department said, “evaluate policy options at the local and state jurisdictions to reduce soft costs” that make installation more expensive.

In January, Mark Douglas, president of the Iowa Utility Association — which includes Alliant Energy and MidAmerican Energy — wrote to IEDA general counsel Rita Grimm to suggest that the grant not be used to evaluate solar energy policies. When the change was submitted to the federal agency, it was rejected as “deviating beyond the original intent of the award” — to promote solar energy adoption.

The IEDA contended that it needed to revise the grant proposal because “it would be premature and inappropriate” to evaluate solar energy policies while the Iowa Utilities Board was investigating those issues.

The agency also said it did not want to appear to be taking sides in an Iowa Supreme Court case involving utilities seeking to prohibit solar energy businesses from selling electricity to customers.

IEDA Director Debi Durham in April approved a decision to negotiate terminating the grant.

On July 11, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that Eagle Point Solar of Dubuque was not acting as a utility when it entered into a third-party purchase power agreement with the city of Dubuque. The company wanted to install, own and operate solar panels on a city-owned building.

The city would purchase the electricity that the panels produced.

The Iowa Utilities Board ruled that the company was acting as a public utility and violating Iowa code because the city was located within the exclusive service territory of Alliant Energy. A district court ruled that Eagle Point Solar’s proposed arrangement did not constitute acting as a utility.

In a 4-2 ruling, the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s decision.

Barry Shear, president of Eagle Point Solar, said the ruling will clear the way for other third-party purchase power agreements, speeding the installation of more solar energy projects across the state.

“Solar energy is part of distributed power generation, which is happening and should happen, regardless of your belief in climate change,” Shear said. “Expanding solar options means jobs — the kind of jobs that can’t be outsourced to another state or country.

“Some of the billions of dollars we now send to other states to buy coal to generate electricity will stay in Iowa instead, developing and generating clean, local solar power. With distributed solar generation we are keeping the economics local within the state, not sending our energy dollars elsewhere.”
Read more at http://thegazette.com/subject/news/business/solar-installations-expected-to-grow-in-iowa-20140816#JqW4CuPDXrEFhuV1.99

 

Legislature Receives Report Detailing Success of Energizing Indiana

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   August 19, 2014  /   Posted in 2014 Indiana General Assembly, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Uncategorized  /   No Comments

signature

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :  August 19, 2014

Contact: Kerwin Olson, Executive Director 317-702-0461

OR Jennifer Washburn, Counsel 317-735-7764

Legislature Receives Report Detailing Success of Energizing Indiana

Programs Delivered over $3 in benefits to Ratepayers for every $1 spent

 On August 15th, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) submitted the Demand Side Management (DSM) Report to the Indiana General Assembly.  The report, completed by The Energy Center of Wisconsin, was filed pursuant to the highly controversial Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 340 which will end the Energizing Indiana programs by the end of 2014.

“The report all but confirms that the passage of SEA340 and the ultimate cancellation of Energizing Indiana was a shortsighted decision and a monumental mistake that will cost ratepayers more money in the long run.  This is in addition to the thousands of Hoosiers likely to lose their jobs as a result of the legislation,”stated Kerwin Olson, Executive Director of CAC.  “If SEA340 was indeed a ‘pause’ to evaluate the programs, then we ask our elected officials to hold true to their promise and reinstate the programs during the 2015 session.”

 Highlights of the report include:

 

  • ·         The report states on page 5:  “The Core programs provided positive net benefits for the Hoosier state. In the aggregate, these programs returned as much as $3.00 in benefits for each dollar spent from 2012 through 2013. The Core program for commercial and industrial customers provided the most benefits—as much as $5.49 for each dollar spent.”

 

  • ·         On page 21, the report noted that in future years when energy efficiency savings may be more difficult to find, that “…programs are expected to produce overall positive net benefits to Indiana through 2019…programs are expected to return $1.65 in benefits for every $1.00 spent [on average, from 2015-2019].”

 

  • ·         On page 23, the report points out that “So if the objective is to keep utility bills low, efficiency programs are essential.”

 

The IURC will present the report to the Interim Study Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications on September 2nd.   The complete IURC report is attached and can also be found at: http://www.in.gov/iurc/files/DSM_Report_to_General_Assembly_w_Cover_Letter_8-15-2014(1).pdf

Listen to Kerwin Olson HERE>

http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/video-player.asp?id=14495

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 Kerwin Olson

Executive Director

Citizens Action Coalition

(317) 205-3535 office

(317) 735-7727 direct

www.citact.org

www.cacefindiana.org

Do We Want Third Party Solar PV Purchase Power Agreements (PPAs) in Indiana? YOUR state? Sign-up for Webinar 8/20/14

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   August 15, 2014  /   Posted in Uncategorized  /   No Comments

Brad Klein

Brad Klein, Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC)

Travis Lowder

Travis Lowder, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) 

Do We Want Third Party Solar PV Purchase Power Agreements (PPAs) in Indiana?

 See http://www.dsireusa.org/documents/summarymaps/3rd_Party_PPA_map.pdf

Since the Iowa Supreme Court issued its order in the Eagle Point Solar case, there has been increased discussion amongst solar and renewable energy advocates about what the next move might or should be to advance third party purchase power agreements (PPAs)  for solar PV in Indiana.

Webinar: Rooftop Solar Financing: Wins, Trends and What Comes Next

New webinar scheduled by Vote Solar — please join, and share as appropriate.

Rooftop Solar Financing: Wins, Trends and What Comes Next

Wed, Aug 20, 2014

1:00 PM to 2:00 PM EDT; 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM PDT

Registration: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2336174497130411266

Join us for a first-hand account of the recent Iowa Supreme Court decision in favor of solar power purchase agreements, from Environmental Law & Policy Center‘s Brad Klein, who argued the case. This case has been closely watched across the country. Learn how it unfolded, key takeaways from the Court’s decision, and implications for other states. Then hear from National Renewable Energy Laboratory‘s Travis Lowder, who works on the lab’s Renewable Energy Finance Tracking Initiative, about the status of distributed solar financing across the country – current & projected relevance of third party ownership, securitization and yieldco’s, and other emerging solar finance solutions.

Clean Air Victory For Indianapolis As IPL Phases Out Coal At Harding Street Plant

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   August 15, 2014  /   Posted in AES, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), Uncategorized  /   No Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 15, 2014

Contact:

Jodi Perras, Sierra Club – 317-407-0148, Jodi.Perras@sierraclub.org

Shane Levy, Sierra Club – 201-679-9507, Shane.Levy@sierraclub.org

 Clean Air Victory For Indianapolis As IPL Phases Out Coal At Harding Street Plant 

Announcement marks 177th coal plant, 500th coal-fired boiler to be retired since 2010

INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL) today announced its plans to cease burning coal at the local Harding Street coal-fired power plant by 2016, marking an enormous victory for Indianapolis community groups and residents who have led a campaign to protect clean air and public health by urging IPL to phase out coal in Marion County.

“For the past two years, thousands of Indianapolis residents have demanded clean air for our community. They have signed petitions and postcards, rallied on the steps of Monument Circle and at the Indiana State Museum, and urged their City-County Councillors to call on IPL to stop burning coal at the Harding Street plant. More than 55 churches, neighborhood associations, student groups, and many other organizations have passed resolutions urging IPL to power our city forward with clean energy and put an end to toxic coal pollution in Indianapolis. Today, those calls have been answered and we’ll see an end to coal pollution in Marion County by 2016,” said Jodi Perras, Indiana Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign.

“We applaud IPL for recognizing the costs and risks that would have accompanied the continued use of dirty coal at Harding St.  Ending the use of coal not only benefits the health and environment of our community, but will go a long way in protecting the pocketbooks of ratepayers,” said Kerwin Olson, Executive Director of Citizens Action Coalition.

IPL’s Harding Street coal-fired power plant was responsible for 88 percent of the toxic industrial pollution released in 2012 in Marion County, according to information released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Harding Street power plant is also the largest source of dangerous soot and sulfur dioxide pollution in Marion County, contributing to Central Indiana’s failing grades for air quality announced earlier this year by the American Lung Association.

“Research has shown that air pollution from the Harding Street coal-fired power plant causes premature heart attacks, strokes, asthma attacks and deaths in our community. These diseases fall disproportionately on our inner city, including families with children who are medically underserved. IPL’s decision is a positive step for our community. I look forward to telling my asthma patients at a neighborhood free clinic that they will be breathing easier soon,” said Dr. Steve Jay, a local physician and Professor of Medicine and Public Health at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

 In July, City-County Councilors Zach Adamson (D-At Large) and William “Duke” Oliver (D-10th District) introduced a resolution urging IPL to develop a cost-effective plan to stop burning coal at the Harding Street plant and increase its clean energy investments. The bi-partisan measure passed the Community Affairs Committee 4-1 last month.

 “IPL has long been a strong corporate partner for the city, helping to build an Indianapolis we can all be proud of. I want to thank IPL for recognizing what the community has been saying for some time: part of being a first-class city is having clean air and clean water. Our children and people struggling with asthma will be breathing easier once IPL stops burning coal in Indianapolis,” said City-County Councilor Zach Adamson (D-At Large).

 “Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light is pleased that Indianapolis Power and Light has decided to not burn coal at its Harding Street plant by 2016.  This is a positive step forward for our city in helping us care for God’s good creation and improving the health of our people,” said Rev. Dennis Shock with Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light.

 “Today’s remarkable announcement means that the people of Central Indiana will breathe cleaner air and that our region will be contributing substantially less climate-disrupting pollution.   Our gratitude to the Sierra Club for its tireless leadership and to many partners.   And our appreciation to IPL for making a wise decision to move past coal burning in Indianapolis.   Now IPL has an opportunity before it to substantially strengthen its commitment to sustainability by converting its dirty, largely unlined coal ash waste lagoons to safe, monitored, and lined landfills,” said Jesse Kharbanda, Executive Director of the Hoosier Environmental Council.

 With today’s announcement, 177 coal-fired power plants across the country have been slated for retirement as coal continues its decline nationwide. The retirement of the sole remaining coal-fired boiler at the Harding Street plant also represents the 500th unit to be retired since 2010.

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