Ft. Wayne Newspaper Editorial Says Benefits of ‘Energizing Indiana’ will be hard to top

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   September 25, 2014  /   Posted in 2014 Indiana General Assembly  /   1 Comments

Benefits of Energizing Indiana will be hard to top

Published: September 25, 2014 3:00 a.m.
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Illustration by Gregg Bender | The Journal Gazette

 

Who could be against energy conservation? Certainly not the Indiana General Assembly, or Gov. Mike Pence. Legislators who fought to terminate the highly successful Energizing Indiana program at the end of this year promised that this was just a “pause” to make the state’s conservation efforts more effective.

Pence let that bill become law without his signature to signal that despite his concerns about Energizing Indiana, he was solidly behind the idea of helping Hoosiers make their electric power use more efficient.

But being for conservation isn’t enough, especially when you’re letting a program die that was getting results. Lawmakers who were willing to see the program die have so far been vague on how it will be replaced.

Last week, a legislative study committee heard the results of a study by the respected Energy Center of Wisconsin, which had helped the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission set up the ambitious energy conservation program that began in 2012.

The study confirmed that Energizing Indiana had been a success. The program offers energy audits and assistance for residences and businesses, helping homeowners weatherize, insulate and use lighting more efficiently, and encouraging commercial and industrial operations to upgrade to more-efficient equipment. The efforts have reduced electricity use by hundreds of millions of kilowatt-hours and saved individuals and companies millions of dollars.

According to the report, produced under the auspices of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, every dollar invested in Energizing Indiana’s efforts has produced more than $3 in benefits. The commercial and industrial efforts have been even more successful, yielding more than $5 worth of benefits for every dollar invested.

Those figures refer to the general benefits of energy conservation – separate from the immediate savings that residents or business operators may realize.

“If you reduce the amount of electricity that’s used in your home, there’s less demand on the system,” said Natalie Derrickson, communications manager for the IURC. If homes and businesses are reducing energy consumption, “there’s less need for energy to be created.” Reducing the need for new production capacity helps hold down the price of energy as well as benefiting the environment.

According to the IURC, commercial and industrial customers alone saved 294,986 kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2012 directly because of Energizing Indiana programs. In 2013, that savings increased by 72 percent, to 508,178 kilowatt hours, Derrickson said.

Some on the legislative study commission did not seem impressed with the savings in money and energy.

State Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, who wrote the bill to kill the program, contends that the costs of Energizing Indiana would have continued to go up, but further benefits would have been harder and harder to achieve. Merritt said he wants to work with constituents, power companies and the administration to replace the program with something that’s less costly and more helpful to all consumers, Brandon Smith of the Indiana Public Broadcasting System reported.

Merritt’s approach sets a very high goal – to construct a successor to Energizing Indiana that works even better than this demonstrably successful program. Let’s hope the effort proves serious and sincere.

USDA Announces Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants; 13 Indiana projects funded for $353,533

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   September 25, 2014  /   Posted in Uncategorized  /   No Comments

USDA REAP grants in Indiana total $355,533 with $73,984 or 21% going to solar projects.

Image result for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

Thomas James “Tom” Vilsack is an American politician who has served as the United States Secretary of Agriculture since 2009. A member of the Democratic Party, Vilsack served as the 40th Governor of Iowa from 1999 to 2007.

September 19, 2014

News Release

BUNN, N.C. — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is investing in 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide.

“These loan guarantees and grants will have far-reaching impacts nationwide, particularly in the rural communities where these projects are located,” Vilsack said. “Investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency will continue the unprecedented increase in home-grown energy sources and American energy independence we’ve seen in recent years. This is creating jobs, providing new economic opportunities and leading the way to a more secure energy future.”

Secretary Vilsack made the announcement while in North Carolina to highlight USDA’s investments in rural renewable energy projects, as part of the Obama Administration’s ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy. It is the most recent of a series of USDA actions to strengthen the country’s energy sector. Two weeks ago, Vilsack announced a $105 million loan guarantee to a company that will produce jet fuel from municipal solid waste.

Today’s funding is being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP was created by the 2008 Farm Bill and was reauthorized by the recently passed 2014 Farm Bill.

The announcement comes on a day when President Obama is announcing new executive actions to further advance the development of solar technologies across the country. These new investments in solar will reduce America’s energy consumption, cut carbon pollution by nearly 300 million metric tons – equivalent to taking more than 60 million cars off the road for a year – and save businesses nearly $45 billion on their energy bills. The renewed effort to invest in solar energy also includes commitments from a broad coalition of 50 public and private sector partners, including leading industry, community development organizations and housing providers in 28 states. To learn more about this new Obama Administration initiative to increase the use of solar power, visit the White House website.

“USDA is proud to play a key role in Obama Administration’s efforts to promote the use of solar technologies,” Vilsack said. “Of the REAP projects funded today, 240 projects are for solar investments of $5.2 million in grants and $55.3 million in loans.”

During Secretary Vilsack’s trip to North Carolina, he visited Progress Solar in Bunn, N.C., which received a $3.4 million REAP loan guarantee in 2012 for installation of a solar array. Progress Solar now produces enough solar energy to power 540 average-sized homes each year. The 4.5 megawatt array was developed by North Carolina-based O2 Energies, Inc. The Progress Solar site is a dual-use solar power plant and a working farm where a 10th generation farming family raises free range sheep and lambs. The project serves as a test site for herd management best practices on a solar farm, and the goal is to model future collaborative efforts that marry solar-energy production with agriculture production. This is the seventh solar farm venture that O2 Energies has developed in North Carolina.

In North Carolina alone, Vilsack announced $55.3 million in new REAP program loan guarantees and grants for 22 solar energy projects. For example, USDA is awarding a $3 million loan guarantee to Broadway Solar Center, LLC to help finance a 5 megawatt solar array in Columbus County, a $4.9 million loan guarantee for a similar project in Hertford County and a $2.1 million guarantee for a project in Warren County.

In total, Vilsack announced $68 million in REAP loan guarantees and grants today. Funding is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.

Eligible agricultural producers and rural small businesses may use REAP funds to make energy efficiency improvements or install renewable energy systems including solar, wind, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), small hydroelectric, ocean energy, hydrogen, and geothermal.

Since the start of the Obama Administration, REAP has supported more than 8,800 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide. During this period, USDA has provided more than $276 million in grants and $268 million in loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small business owners.

President Obama’s historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities.

Indiana:

-AFFORDABLE ASPHALT PAVING, LLC | $14,125 | SOLAR | SOLAR PANELS TO GENERATE ELECTRICITY

-BRAD STARR FARMS, INC. | $32,323 | ENERGY EFFICIENCY | GRAIN DRYER

-CREEKSIDE FARMS, INC. | $11,200 | SOLAR | SOLAR PV – 24,000 kWh/yr

-D&D MEAT PROCESSING, LLC. | $10,450 | SOLAR | SOLAR PV – 13,800 kWh/yr

-DUCK IT FARM, LLC. | $49,761 | ENERGY EFFICIENCY | UPGRADE LIGHTING, VENT, HVAC FOR POULTRY HOUSE

-KBS FARMS, LLC | $49,978 | ENERGY EFFICIENCY | GRAIN DRYER

-LOWES PELLETS & GRAIN INC | $28,477 | ENERGY EFFICIENCY | HVAC, INSULATION, ETC.

-MARTIN, DARRELL | $38,209 | SOLAR | SOLAR – 76,937 kWh/yr

-MCCORMICK FARMS, INC. | $8,653 | ENERGY EFFICIENCY | IRRIGATION

-NEWLIN’S WELDING & TANK MAINTENANCE | $7,049 | ENERGY EFFICIENCY | LIGHTING

-SHEL-MAR FARMS, INC. | $21,312 | ENERGY EFFICIENCY | GRAIN DRYER

-SPEAR CORPORATION | $49,875 | GEOTHERMAL | UPGRADE HVAC SYSTEM TO GEOTHERMAL

-STEVENSON FARMS | $32,121 | ENERGY EFFICIENCY | GRAIN DRYER

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Link to complete listing of USDA REAP grant awards:

http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/supportdocuments/rdREAPProjectsSept2014.pdf

 

Indiana State Sen. Jim Merritt Stands by SEA 340 (2014) and Elimination of Energizing Indiana Program

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   September 24, 2014  /   Posted in 2014 Indiana General Assembly, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Uncategorized  /   No Comments
David Ziegner_IURC_2014-09-23
Indiana Utility Regulatory Commissioner David Ziegner testifying to state legislators in Senate Chambers.

Lawmakers Stand By Elimination Of Energy Efficiency Program

By 

Posted September 23, 2014

Energizing Indiana provided financial incentives for Hoosiers to make their businesses and homes more energy efficient in a variety of ways, including by installing solar panels.

Lawmakers say the decision to eliminate the state’s energy efficiency program known as Energizing Indiana was the right way to go, despite a report presented to a study committee Tuesday that says the program was providing millions in benefits.

Indiana Utility Regulatory Commissioner David Ziegner says the report shows that for every one dollar spent on the state’s energy efficiency programs, there were three dollars in benefits.

Ziegner says if the program continued, the benefits wouldn’t be as large but notes in 2019, the state would spend more than $500 million on energy efficiency, while still creating more than $900 million in benefits.

Ziegner says there are also rate increases that go along with energy efficiency.

“But what’s important to customers is there bills. The average bill decreases because usage declines more than rates increase,” he says.

Jim Merritt

Indiana State Senator Jim Merritt

State Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, says he’s concerned about the impact of rate increases on customers who can’t take advantage of enough energy efficiency measures to see a significant decline in usage.

He says creating a new program that’s pro-ratepayer is the focus of the legislature.

“I think that we have a great opportunity for the utilities and for the administration and for the public to come together and have a good program that means something for everyone and also is achievable,” Merritt says.

The five largest utilities in the state have already submitted plans to use their own energy efficiency programs for 2015.

 

HelioSage Announces 40 MW solar PV Project to Duke Energy; Where is Duke Energy Indiana Solar RFP?

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   September 24, 2014  /   Posted in Duke Energy  /   No Comments

Duke Energy

Who Knows the Status of Duke Energy Indiana (DEI) Solar RFP?

Does anyone remember that Duke Energy Indiana (DEI) issued a solar RFP earlier this year? See http://www.indianadg.net/duke-energy-indiana-seeks-proposals-for-solar-energy-indianadg-helped-with-draft-rfp/

Just in case you forgot the details:

Duke Energy Indiana, Inc. (Duke Energy Indiana) is interested in purchasing energy, capacity, and renewable energy certificates from a new or existing solar generating facility or facilities totaling up to 5 MW (AC). The solar resources will be utilized to further develop Duke Energy Indiana’s renewables portfolio and diversify the resource mix.

Duke Energy Indiana is soliciting proposals with the following characteristics:

  1. Minimum size of 1 MW (AC) with a maximum size of 5 MW (AC) per proposal. Solar sites may be aggregated to meet the minimum proposal size by combining individual projects with a minimum size of 250 kW (AC) or greater per site.
  2. Projects must be capable of providing energy as quickly as feasible after Duke Energy Indiana receives regulatory approval with a preference for projects to be in-service no later than 12/31/15.
  3. Contract term of all proposals must be 20 years
  4. Proposals must include energy, capacity, and renewable energy certificates, “RECs” (inclusive of all environmental attributes and reporting rights).
  5. Preference for projects located in Duke Energy Indiana’s service territory.
  6. Solar projects may originate from either new (to be developed) or existing facilities that are not currently under contract with Duke Energy Indiana.
  7. The respondent must be financially stable and have good credit.

This RFP is not open to offers of tax equity partnerships, net metering, energy efficiency, demand side management, affiliate company proposals, acquisitions, REC-Only proposals, or use of Duke Energy Indiana property for the siting of facilities.

Duke Energy Indiana Solar RFP

  • Release of RFP: 02/02/14
  • Proposal Submittal Date: 03/28/14
  • Selection of Short List: 07/18/14
  • Complete Negotiations: 10/17/14

IndianaDG wants to know:

  1. Did you submit a proposal to the Duke Energy Indiana RFP?
  2. Are you on the Short List?

Email me Laura.Arnold@IndianaDG.net or call (317) 635-1701.

HelioSage Announces 40 Megawatt Project Sale to Duke Energy

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. and ELM CITY, N.C., Sept. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire

HelioSage Energy, a national developer of utility scale solar projects, has announced the sale of a 40 megawatt AC (MW) solar PV project to Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), the largest electric holding power company in the United States.

The project, known as the Elm City Solar Facility, is presently under development in Elm City, North Carolina. When commissioned, it will be one of the largest solar PV facilities east of the Mississippi and will be owned and operated by Duke Energy.

The project was originally developed by HelioSage Energy, who later partnered with First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR), a global leader in photovoltaic (PV) thin film solar module manufacturing and a provider of PV power plant services, to respond to a competitive RFP issued by Duke Energy in February of 2014. First Solar will provide approximately 500,000 FS Series 4 PV modules as well as provide construction management once the project is underway.

“Collaboration and hard work made this groundbreaking project possible,” said Matt Hantzmon, HelioSage COO. “We tip our hat to our project partners First Solar and Duke Energy – as well as the community in Elm City and Wilson County – in recognition of this shared achievement together.”

“First Solar is proud to partner with HelioSage on this project for Duke Energy,” said Roger Bredder, First Solar’s Managing Director of Business Development for the Southeastern United States. “The US Southeast is a strategic priority for us, and the Elm City project represents a significant collaboration with major industry stakeholders to meet the needs of regional consumers.”

The 40 MW facility is expected to generate an estimated 82 million kilowatt-hours annually – enough energy to power approximately 6,800 average North Carolina homes a year.

For further information on this announcement, please contact HelioSage atinfo@heliosage.com.

About HelioSage Energy. HelioSage Energy is a solar energy development firm with a national pipeline including more than 300 megawatts of executed Power Purchase Agreements. The principals of HelioSage have developed and financed 580 megawatts of renewable energy facilities, representing over $1 billion USD in invested capital. For more information about HelioSage, please visit www.heliosage.com.

About First Solar. First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems which use its advanced module and system technology. The company’s integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar’s renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visitwww.firstsolar.com.

Media contact: Daniel Van Clief, 1-434-442-4638, dvanclief@heliosage.com

SOURCE HelioSage Energy

Indiana’s use of renewable energy up over past decade; In 2002 < 2% and by 2012 > 5%

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   September 24, 2014  /   Posted in 2014 Indiana General Assembly, solar, wind  /   No Comments

TheStatehouseFile.com

Indiana’s use of renewable energy up over past decade

September 23, 2014  |   Filed under: Technology,Top stories  |   Posted by: 

By Lesley Weidenbener
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS – Hoosiers are using significantly more energy from renewable sources – including biofuels and wind – than they were just 10 years ago, a Purdue University expert told lawmakers Tuesday.

But the total amount of energy coming from those sources in the state remains small and less than the national average.

In 2002, less than 2 percent of the state’s energy use came from renewable resources. By 2012 – the last year for which objective statistics are available – the rate increased to more than 5 percent, said Doug Gotham, director of the State Utility Forecasting Group, which is housed at Purdue.

Nationally, more than 9 percent of energy comes from renewable sources.

“The major barrier to further growth in renewable energy continues to be the cost,” Gotham told the legislative Study Committee on Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications. “Most renewable energies have high capital costs.”

But, he said, the longer-term costs of most of those renewable sources are much lower.

The numbers include fuel consumption for vehicles as well as for power and heating. In Indiana, biofuels – including ethanol – the state’s use of renewable energy.

But wind now provides the largest share of renewable electric generation in the state. “We now have 3.5 percent of our electricity from wind,” Gotham said. “Historically, it’s only been 0.5 percent. In time we’ll start to see (solar) grow as well.”

In late 2012, developers installed 72 megawatts of solar photovoltaic equipment in Indiana, which has increased renewable energy use in the state. But that won’t show up in the data until the 2013 numbers are released, Gotham said.

The numbers were part of the State Utility Forecasting Group’s annual report to the legislative committee. The report shows that wind energy began growing in 2007, when several wind farms were installed in northern Indiana.

But the growth in wind has slowed down nationally and in Indiana, where only one wind farm has been commissioned in the last three years.

“The factors that have resulted in the substantial slowing down of wind energy capacity expansion include the reduced availability of capital after the 2008 global financial crisis and the reduced competitiveness of wind in the face of abundant low cost natural gas as a result of the hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling technological breakthroughs in the oil and gas extraction industry,” the report said.

Gotham said Indiana is not as well positioned as some states to take advantage of solar, wind and hydroelectricity – at least not at the low power rates Hoosiers have generally enjoyed.

“It depends on what you’re willing to pay,” Gotham said. “Germany has worse solar resources but they have 30 percent of electricity coming from solar. But their electricity rates are three times as high.”

Lesley Weidenbener is executive editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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