IURC Contemporary Issues Technical Conference on Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs) on 9/1/15

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   July 07, 2015  /   Posted in Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC)  /   No Comments

IRP Contemporary Issues Technical Conference

You are invited to participate in a Contemporary Issues Technical Conference regarding Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs), hosted by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

When: Tuesday, September 1, 2015, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Where: Conference Room C, Indiana Government Center South, 302 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana. 

To register for the technical conference, please click here. Registration closes on August 24, 2015.

Attendees should provide suggested speakers and/or topics to be included on the agenda by Monday, July 20, 2015. Additional information about the technical conference is attached. 

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the IURC’s Electricity Division Director Brad Borum at bborum@urc.in.gov or (317) 232-2304.  

 

Indiana IRP-EEP Rule Development Workshop on 7/30/15 in Indianapolis

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   July 07, 2015  /   Posted in Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC)  /   No Comments

 Integrated Resource Plan- Energy Efficiency Plan  Rule Development Workshop

You are invited to attend and participate in the rule development workshop for the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) – Energy Efficiency Plans (EEP) rulemaking (IURC RM #15-06), held by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).

When: July 30, 2015, 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Where: Indiana Government Center South, Auditorium, 302 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana. 

To register for this workshop, click here. Registration closes on July 27, 2015.

Please come prepared to provide input into the issues that you think should be addressed by the IRP-EEP rule.  Additional opportunities will be available to provide written and oral comments as we move through the rule development and rulemaking process, which you can follow on our website at http://in.gov/iurc/2673.htm

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact the IURC’s General Counsel Beth Krogel Roads at bkroads@urc.in.gov or (317) 232-2092

Solar panels: Students aim to lessen Purdue’s energy burden

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   July 05, 2015  /   Posted in Uncategorized  /   No Comments

Image result for purdue university

Solar panels: Students aim to lessen Purdue’s energy burden

Posted: Monday, June 29, 2015 10:00 am

A group of Purdue students and faculty are pursuing a noble cause: introducing a solar

array to the University’s campus.

Sam Landry, a graduate student in engineering technology, is leading an energy initiative

on campus with the help of William Hutzel, a professor in the school of engineering

technology. The project – dubbed the Purdue Solar Endowment – is about cutting the

University’s total energy cost by placing solar panels at the Purdue Airport, similar to what

has been done at the Indianapolis International Airport.

The idea of the project is based around a natural syncing of the University’s energy usage

and the sun.

“The reasoning behind this is that universities are most active during the middle of the

day, which matches up with the intensity of the sunlight, thus creating solar energy at

times when we are consuming the most energy,” Landry said.

Landry and Hutzel first paired up for a project in Landry’s undergraduate days when they

were part of a project to build a house which produced more solar energy than it used.

Since the building of the solar-powered house, the price of solar power has decreased by

almost 50 percent. Hutzel said where solar panels used to be $4 per watt, they are now just

above $2 per watt. So this fact will be a huge boost to the group’s case when the Purdue

Solar Endowment makes its request for funds to the Office of Investments.

Now, instead of dealing with a few solar panels like they did with the house, the Purdue

Solar Endowment will require the installation of a few thousand panels.

Landry believes the group will be successful in their bid to not only obtain the proper

funding, but to also one day get the solar array up and running at the Purdue Airport.

“The project will ultimately answer whether large scale solar investment is a possibility for

the university or not, and if not, when does it become a possibility. I would say that I am

about 100 percent confident that we will get what we want out of this project,” Landry

said. “We are in the very early stages of this project and there is still a lot to discover and a

lot of moving targets. With this in mind, I know how motivated everyone involved is and

that gives me a great deal of confidence that this may just become a reality.”

As key of a role as Hutzel plays, the Purdue Solar Endowment is student-driven.

“Professor Hutzel pulls our individual efforts together in the context of the whole project

and puts us in contact with the stakeholders involved in the project’s progression,” Landry

said. “That being said, we have had students who work specifically on analyzing the

finances, site selection, engineering, case studies and market projections. Having access to

a multidisciplinary team allows us look at each step in this project with great insight.”

However, despite the fact that the group aims to cut Purdue’s energy requirement by a full

2 percent, Hutzel knows that solar energy isn’t the key to all energy problems.

 

Hutzel said, “I don’t want to give you the wrong idea: Solar panels are not the cure for

energy concerns worldwide, but it’s one smart strategy that we’re going to see more of.”

Apex wind project in jeopardy following Rush County (IN) BZA vote for moratorium

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   July 05, 2015  /   Posted in wind  /   No Comments

apex_web_logo

7/3/2015 6:55:00 PM
Apex wind project in jeopardy following Rush County BZA vote for moratorium
Kevin L. Green, Courier-Times

Apex Clean Energy’s plans to place as many as 90 wind turbines in Henry and Rush County may be scrapped following a vote by the Rush County Board of Zoning Appeals Wednesday.

A very large crowd packed the Root Building at the Rush County Fairgrounds as the BZA considered a special exception request that would have paved the way for an estimated 66 turbines in northeastern Rush County. The plan, known as the Flat Rock Wind Project, included placement of as many as 29 turbines in Henry County’s Dudley and Franklin Townships.

Apex, represented by Rob Propes, presented a great deal of information in an effort to convince the board the company has met all the requirements for a special exception set forth in Rush County’s ordinance. Propes had a number of experts testify on the company’s behalf. They addressed common concerns like noise, property values, shadow flicker and ice thrown from the turbine blades in the winter time. Several people also spoke in support of the project, noting it represented a large increase in the county’s tax base and additional revenue for the county, schools, other organizations and citizens.

Even more people spoke against the idea of the turbines coming to the area, citing many of the concerns Apex and its experts had already brought to the BZA’s attention, but with different takes on the effects the turbines would have on nearby residents. The biggest concern appeared to be the 1,400-foot setback requirement, although Rush County’s ordinance only calls for 1,000-foot setbacks.

After nearly five hours of testimony, a motion was made to approve Apex’s request. It died for lack of a second. A motion was then made to change the setbacks from 1,400 to 2,640 feet, and to measure from any given turbine to a non-participating landowner’s property line rather than his residence. That motion died for lack of a second. A third motion, to increase the setbacks to 2,300 feet from non-participating landowners’ property lines, was made and seconded. It passed on a vote of 3 to 1.

Propes said such a requirement will likely kill the project.

“It was clearly a disappointing vote,” Propes said. “There were a lot of landowners who came out to support the project and it’s a shame all of the benefits didn’t come through clearly. I think it was clear that we met all the requirements of the ordinance because the plan was approved by the board with the condition of very aggressive setbacks that will jeopardize the project.”

He also said the company may pursue other avenues.

“We will be weighing our legal options as to whether or not we should file an appeal. This does put the Henry County portion of this project in jeopardy. Certainly, we’ll have to take a look and reassess what the overall impact of this will be.”

Henry County Commissioner Ed Yanos, who was among those who spoke in support of the wind farm, was disappointed in the outcome.

“I believe Henry County made a good decision in supporting this. I believe Henry County made a decision for future economic development in the area, and I’m sorry that Rush County didn’t see it the same way,” Yanos said.

New Castle-Henry County Economic Development CEO and President Corey Murphy also spoke in favor of the project at Wednesday’s meeting and following the vote said, “It didn’t go the way I had hoped, but the process was worked through. I don’t think it’s a move in the right direction in terms of leveraging a natural resource for the growth of our economy.”

Indianapolis attorney Stephen Snyder, who spoke against the wind farm on behalf of 19 property owners, had a different take on the outcome.

“The decision was somewhat surprising, but I have to assume the board considered all the evidence they had in front of them and made a determination that we needed a greater setback to protect the public,” Snyder said.

David Hiner, who owns property in the proposed wind farm area, said he was happy with the board’s decision but predicted, “This thing isn’t over yet.”

The 29 turbines being considered for Henry County alone represented a capital investment of approximately $100,000, Murphy said earlier this year.

The Rush County BZA also voted 3-1 to recommend to the county commissioners that a moratorium be placed on all wind projects for the next six months.

Related Stories:
• Tax analysis from proposed Rush County wind farms
• Whitewater Wind Farm wins Henry County’s OK
• Whitewater Wind Farms closer to reality in Fayette County thanks to commissioners
• Questions about wind farms in Rush County? Ask APEX

 

Wisconsin Supreme Court: No ‘direct’ link between wind farm locations, housing sector

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   July 03, 2015  /   Posted in wind  /   No Comments

State of Wisconsin seal

Wisconsin Supreme Court: No ‘direct’ link between wind farm locations, housing sector

By

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on June 30 upheld state rules for siting wind farms, rejecting a challenge from realtors and homebuilders who argued that the requirements are invalid because the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin did not request a housing-impact report from the state Commerce Department.

In a 5-2 decision, the court said the rule, which includes setback requirements from residences, does not “directly or substantially” affect housing, trigger language that determines when agencies must formally consider the impact of a proposed rule.

“The court of appeals explained that ‘a housing impact report is not required simply because the subject matter of a proposed rule relates to housing, or because the rule tangentially affects housing in some way,'” Justice Shirley Abrahamson wrote for the majority. “We agree.”

The Legislature in 2009 directed the commission to draft rules setting restrictions that municipalities could impose on wind project developers. Lawmakers were concerned about the potential health effects of wind turbines, Abrahamson said. “There is no mention … of protecting housing generally or of protecting property values specifically.”

Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, in a dissenting opinion joined by Justice Annette Kingsland Ziegler, said human health and property values are intertwined. “As health effects caused by wind turbines also affect the real estate market, the legislature required the Commission to obtain a housing report while it was in the process of promulgating” the rule, Roggensack wrote.

That line of reasoning mirrored an argument from the Wisconsin Realtors Association, the Wisconsin Builders Association and others that the court’s majority rejected as an “expansive interpretation” of state statute.

The state’s Wind Siting Council, which was created by the legislature to advise the commission, determined that there is no “causal relationship” between the location of wind turbines and “a measurable change” in property values.

The assessment lines up with a 2014 report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that found, on average, wind turbines do not depress homes values or sales rates. Also in 2014, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said wind farms do not threaten the health of people living nearby.

Roggensack said Wisconsin does not require housing reports only for proposed rules that would negatively affect the sector.

Wisconsin has about 634 MW of installed wind capacity, according to SNL Energy. At the end of 2014, neighbors Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota each had more than 3,000 MW, with Iowa registering 5,688 MW of installed wind capacity, the American Wind Energy Association, an industry trade group, said in a market report. Michigan had around 1,500 MW of installed wind capacity at the end of 2014.

Garrett Devine contributed to this article.

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