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

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

TUSK: North Carolina Utilities Hijack Well-Intentioned Solar Legislation

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   March 27, 2015  /   Posted in Net Metering, solar  /   No Comments

Help us stand up to utility monopolies to ensure solar energy remains strong in America.


TUSK: North Carolina Utilities Hijack Well-Intentioned Solar Legislation

Utilities Bolster Public Opposition to ‘Energy Freedom Act’ with Hidden Poison Pill

 RALEIGH, N.C., March 26, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — North Carolina utilities including Duke Energy Carolinas and Dominion North Carolina Power have laced a well-intentioned North Carolina solar bill with a poison pill that would unravel the fundamental solar policy net metering.  Publicly, the utilities are opposing the bill to prevent the innovative third-party-owned solar business model from taking off in the state.  At the same time, behind the scenes they have slipped in language that would pave the way for stifling the solar market if the bill passes.

Net metering, the policy that gives solar customers full, fair credit for their excess solar energy, is critical to energy choice and competition. Utilities don’t like it because they want to get rid of the competitive solar market.  If passed, the “Energy Freedom Act” HB 245 would give the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) the authority to approve a separate, discriminatory tariff for net metering customers.  A separate tariff paves the way for stripping Tar Heels of the credit they deserve for investing in solar for their own roofs.  The bill would also allow utilities to create a separate rate class for rooftop solar customers, a vehicle for solar taxes.

“This bill has a hidden poison pill that would undermine the solar industry,” said TUSK Chairman Barry Goldwater Jr. “The state Legislature should recognize this utility deception and strike the anti-solar language.”

Solar choice and competition are the conservative way, and should remain the North Carolina way. Utilities have launched attacks across the country to stomp out competition from rooftop solar, and North Carolina is just the latest example.  Don’t be fooled by the utilities’ tricks.

About Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed TUSK was formed to create a united front through which the public can tell utilities that solar is right for conservatives and right for America.

CONTACT: Mike Scerbo, (602) 615-6523


To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

SOURCE Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed (TUSK)

Why This Tea Party Leader Is Seeing Green on Solar Energy; Interview with Debbie Dooley

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   March 26, 2015  /   Posted in solar, Uncategorized  /   No Comments


Why This Tea Party Leader Is
Seeing Green on Solar Energy

As a founder of the Tea Party movement, Debbie Dooley may be an unlikely advocate for renewable energy. But in an e360 interview, she explains why she is breaking ranks with fellow conservatives and promoting a Florida ballot initiative that would allow homeowners to sell power produced by rooftop solar.

by diane toomey

Debbie Dooley’s conservative credentials are impeccable. She was one of the founding members of the Tea Party movement and continues to sit on the board of the Tea Party Patriots. She also serves as chairperson of the Atlanta Tea Party.

But on the issue of solar power, Dooley breaks the mold. To the consternation of some of her fellow conservatives, she has teamed up with the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations, first in

Debbie Dooley

Debbie Dooley

Georgia and now in Florida, to form the Green Tea Coalition. It’s an unlikely mix of conservative, environmental and other groups whose focus includes campaigning against the maintenance fees that utility companies charge solar customers. In Florida, the group is working to get an initiative on the ballot that would allow individuals and businesses to sell power directly to consumers.

In this interview with Yale e360, Dooley explains her motivations behind the solar energy campaign and why she’s willing to go up against conservative organizations when it comes to this issue.

Yale Environment 360: How did solar energy come to be such a priority for you?

Debbie Dooley: My foray into becoming a strong advocate for decentralized energy began with a fight with a government-created monopoly in Georgia, Georgia Power. I believed that they had far too much power. They received permission that would allow them to bill me, a utility customer, in advance for two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle in south Georgia that might never come online. Then I found out that there were massive [construction] cost overruns predicted on these two nuclear reactors. So, to add insult to injury, not only was I paying in advance for nuclear reactors that I may never see the benefit of because I could move out of state or drop dead or whatever, I was also paying for the cost overruns and [Georgia Power was] making a guaranteed profit off of the cost overruns. So it was a fight with a government-created monopoly that led me to do a lot of research into decentralized energy. Now, I support all decentralized energy.

The reason I am so focused on solar now is because I believe that solar empowers the people. I believe that solar equals energy freedom. The average person cannot go out and construct a new power plant, they can’t put a nuclear reactor on their rooftop, they can’t go out and build a big windfarm. But they can install solar panels on their rooftop and become energy independent. Also, during my research I found out that there is nothing more centralized in our nation nor at risk of a terrorist attack than our power grid. The National Energy Regulatory Commission found that a terrorist would just have to take down nine key substations out of more than 54,000 and it would cause a blackout from coast to coast. So that made it even more important and even more vital for me to push for decentralized energy and, in particular, solar.

e360: Describe how the Green Tea Coalition came about, and some of your member organizations.

Dooley: We’re made up of activists from different organizations. During my fight against Georgia Power, I was approached by Sierra Club’s Georgia chapter director, Colleen Kiernan, and some other activists from Sierra

The Sunshine State has policies put in place by these powerful utilities to stifle competition.’

Club, and it appeared that we both supported legislation that would cut the profits that Georgia Power makes on the cost overruns of their two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. So we began to work together on that bill. And Colleen Kiernan also came to me about a Public Service Commission race that was taking place in 2012. She knew that I did not like the Public Service commissioner who was up for reelection because I saw him as a puppet of Georgia Power. So we met for lunch, and we started working together to advocate for the Georgia Public Service Commission to add more solar to Georgia Power’s integrated resource plan.

So the Public Service Commissioners decided that they were going to ask Georgia Power to add more solar to their integrated resource plan. Americans for Prosperity [a conservative political advocacy group] called it a mandate. It was not a mandate. They [Americans for Prosperity] said that electricity rates would increase by 40 percent. That was absolutely not true. They called it their Keep the Lights On campaign, and they ran ads that said, ‘Hey, if more solar’s added, your small appliances may not work, you may have blackouts.’ So we pushed back very strongly against Americans for Prosperity.

e360: Why it was important to get more solar energy into the portfolio of that company. In this case, we’re still talking about the grid and a monopoly.

Dooley: The reason that was important is because solar is relatively cheap. Every time a monopoly, a utility has to go out and construct an expensive power plant or nuclear plant, they make a guaranteed profit off of the construction. With solar, there’s no incentive for these utilities to build solar farms and create jobs because they don’t make as much profit because solar farms are a lot more economical than building a new coal plant or a nuclear reactor [the cost of which is passed on to ratepayers]. Georgia Power has finally seen the light as far as solar because they’ve agreed and they supported a third party solar leasing deal that passed the Georgia House of Representatives without one dissenting vote. And it’s expected to pass the Senate. A few months later, Georgia Power wanted to add a tax on solar users. They called it a fee, but we called it a tax. And we worked with Sierra Club to defeat that.

e360: You’ve been working to get an initiative on the 2016 Florida ballot that would allow individuals and businesses to sell power directly to consumers and would also allow for power purchase agreements in which solar companies pay the solar panel installation cost and homeowners then just pay for the power they use. You’ve described Florida as ground zero when it comes to solar energy. Why?

Dooley: They have a lot of policies in Florida that actually effectively block the sun. So you have the Sunshine State that has policies put in place by these powerful utilities to stifle competition, and I just felt like something needed to be done. So I started working with the Southern Alliance for

The funny thing is we got to know each other, and we understood that the stereotypes did not fit all of us.’

Clean Energy, and we formed a coalition that includes a couple of environmental groups, the Florida Retail Association Federation, and Conservatives for Energy Freedom. That’s the group that I formed last summer that consists of conservatives such as the Christian Coalition, the Libertarian Party of Florida, the Florida Republican Liberty Caucus, and a statewide tea party group called the Tea Party Nation. We’re pushing a ballot initiative allowing you to sell up to two megawatts, so it’s not like you can go out and build a giant solar farm and power the city.

And I think this ballot initiative is going to win. Within five to six weeks’ time, we collected over 100,000 signatures, with left and right working together. You have people [in the coalition] who don’t like coal, who believe in climate change, and you have some who don’t believe in climate change but they believe in free market choice and competition. And we’re all working together to do something good for the people of Florida because Floridians deserve choice.

e360: What’s it like for you to work with the Sierra Club?

Dooley: We actually work together pretty well. There are things we disagree on, but we don’t talk about them. I have always believed that the real power is with the people. And there are a lot of the elite, whether the progressive elite or the conservative elite, that want to keep all the power. They really don’t like the fact that the people, the grassroots, are deciding…

We’re going to work together to accomplish something. Those on the left believe in climate change and coal’s bad. Those on the right don’t like government-created monopolies — we believe in free-market choice and national security. It doesn’t matter what your reasons are, as long as we work together to accomplish a common goal. That’s all that matters, and we’re much more successful when we’re able to do that.

e360: So I imagine climate change is one of those topics that you don’t discuss over lunch with your Sierra Club counterpart?

Dooley: No. I don’t. I do believe man is damaging the environment. Now whether or not it’s [through human-caused climate change] or whatever it is, that’s something I really haven’t taken a position on.

e360: Do you think that there’s a political price to be paid for aligning

We’ve been manipulated by groups with interests in fossil fuel into believing green energy is bad — and that’s wrong.’

with groups such as the Sierra Club?

Dooley: Well, in the beginning, there was. When we first formed the coalition the Sierra Club’s members said, “We can’t believe you’re working with the Tea Party.” And our Tea Party groups said, “Oh, you’re working with the tree huggers, these militant environmentals.” But the funny thing that happened is that we got to know each other and we understood that the stereotypes did not fit all of us. So we ignored that and we worked together.

e360: Your archenemy on the Florida initiative, the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, says the initiative is about propping up an industry that depends on taxpayer-funded subsidies. What’s your position on the solar energy tax credit that’s due to substantially decrease in a couple of years?

Dooley: I would say 85 to 90 percent of the conservatives do not realize that coal and and fossil fuel have been very heavily subsidized since the 1930s and they are still being very heavily subsidized. During the first 15 years of nuclear — nuclear subsidies from the federal government accounted for one percent of the federal budget. Despite all the talks about the subsidies solar has received, solar during its first 15 years has only accounted for one tenth of one percent of federal subsidy.

I believe that subsidies are the government’s way of picking winners and losers. But it’s wrong to subsidize one energy form and then you let tax credits or subsidies expire for another energy form. So, to these elected officials who want the solar tax credit to expire, I say let’s expire all of the direct and indirect subsidies and tax credits that coal, nuclear, and oil are receiving as well. If they want to continue with the fossil fuel tax credits and the nuclear tax credits, then they should continue with the solar and wind tax credits. For every Solyndra they can point to, you can point to a nuclear reactor that’s over budget.

Conservatives need to do their research. Do your research and you’re going to come to the same conclusion that I have, that we’ve been manipulated by groups with interests in fossil fuel into believing that green energy is bad — and that’s wrong. Unless they’re going to expire the fossil fuel tax credits and nuclear tax credits all at the same time, then they need to keep the solar tax credit. If you take away all these subsidies, everyone’s going to see the true cost of energy in this nation.

e360: The Washington Post recently published an investigative piece on the strategy utility companies are using to combat the boom in rooftop

What’s fair about me being told I must purchase my electricity from a government-created monopoly?’

solar power. Part of that offensive involves monthly maintenance fees for customers with solar panels. Utilities say that’s only fair since these customers still need the grid occasionally and what’s more, without these fees, it’s the less affluent, who can’t afford to install solar panels, who’ll be left to bear the brunt of paying for the upkeep of infrastructure. What’s your take on that point of view?

Dooley: Well, I think it’s a tax. It’s an attempt by these utilities to keep an outdated model afloat for a few years longer. They tried that in Georgia, and we successfully fought it back. What’s fair about me being told I must purchase my electricity from a government-created monopoly? What’s fair about me having to pay for power plants in advance and to subsidize these utility companies’ unwise investments? And solar benefits everyone, it doesn’t just benefit the ones that have it. If there’s less wear and tear on the equipment, that means that they’re not going to have to buy new equipment. If there’s less demand for the very expensive daytime peak hours, that means they’re not going to have to construct new power plants.

e360: You often refer to your infant grandchild and your hopes for his future. You say that you want him to be able to be self-sufficient when it comes to powering his own home, and live in a clean world where he doesn’t have to worry


With Rooftop Solar on Rise,
U.S. Utilities Are Striking Back

Rooftop Solar on the Rise

Faced with the prospect of a dwindling customer base, some U.S. power companies are seeking to end public subsidies and other incentives for rooftop solar. A heated public relations battle in Arizona could help determine the future of solar in the U.S.

about dirty air, dirty water, or dirty environment. That sounds like something any grandmother in the Sierra Club would say. So I’m wondering how much of your stance on solar energy has to do with energy independence and support of free markets versus creating a non-polluting source of power?

Dooley: Well, probably 75/25 — 75 percent free markets and national security, 25 percent I want clean air. I support all energy, I’m not anti-coal. I look at things from a fiscally responsible manner and any kind of cleanup or spill somewhere down the line … the taxpayers are ultimately footing the bill for it by virtue of tax credits, subsidies, etc. It’s a lot more fiscally responsible to stop the damage than it is to try to clean up and repair the damage.

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