October 14, 2014
NEWS RELEASE: Indiana utility proposes expansion of its feed-in tariff program
Northern Indiana Public Service Company announces FIT 2.0 to support the development of local renewable generation
Merrillville, IN — On Thursday, Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), an investor owned utility serving nearly a half million customers, filed a proposal to expand its voluntary feed-in tariff (FIT) program.
The proposed program, known as FIT 2.0, is a renewable energy purchasing program that enables NIPSCO to procure 16 megawatts (MW) of electricity from small-scale, renewable electricity projects within its service territory. This program is the successor to FIT 1.0, which created 30 MW of market capacity for local renewables.
“Given the success of NIPSCO’s initial feed-in tariff, it is natural to see an expansion of the program,” said Craig Lewis, Executive Director of the Clean Coalition. “Feed-in tariffs are the world’s most successful policy for deploying local renewable energy in a straightforward and cost-effective manner. In addition, given that feed-in tariffs avoid critical issues associated with net metering, by maintaining customer loads and eliminating multi-tenant complexities, utilities and communities across the country should be implementing feed-in tariffs.”
FIT 2.0 is the result of a months-long settlement process between NIPSCO and numerous parties including the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, Sierra Club, Citizens Action Coalition, and Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance, which the Clean Coalition advised.
“Indiana is unique to have voluntary feed-in tariffs to promote the development of renewable energy resources,” said Laura Ann Arnold, President of Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance. “We worked very hard to develop a logical continuation of the NIPSCO FIT that is fair to everyone, including non-participating ratepayers. We are pleased with the outcome of the settlement and encourage other electric utilities in Indiana and elsewhere to pursue this type of collaborative process to develop additional voluntary feed-in tariffs.”
Under FIT 2.0, NIPSCO will offer 15-year contracts to solar, wind and biomass projects. The standard offer contract price varies by both technology and project size, as shown below:
|5 kW and ≤ 10kW||
|> 10 kW and ≤ 200kW||
|3 kW and ≤ 10 kW||
|> 10 kW and ≤ 200 kW||
|100 kW and ≤ 1 MW||
All capacity for Micro Solar, Micro Wind and Intermediate Wind will be made available when the program is approved. However, half of the Intermediate Solar and Biomass capacity will be reserved for a second allocation period, which will occur two years after program approval. Contract prices for the second allocation will decrease to $0.1380/kWh for Intermediate Solar, and the second allocation of biomass capacity will be contracted through a reverse auction with the purchase rate not to exceed $0.0918/kWh.
Projects submitted to NIPSCO within 90 days of the program launch date will be entered into a blind lottery. A Clean Coalition recommendation to require a non-refundable application fee of $25 plus $1 for each kilowatt of project capacity was adopted. This will ensure a more efficient program by deterring non-viable bids from clogging the lottery and project queue. However, other Clean Coalition and Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance recommendations regarding program capacity, project sizes, and pricing were not incorporated in the final settlement agreement.
A decision from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission on the FIT 2.0 settlement agreement is expected during the first quarter of 2015.
For additional details on the FIT 2.0 proposal, please see the settlement agreement.
John Bernhardt, Outreach & Communications Director
Laura Ann Arnold, President
Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance
About the Clean Coalition
The Clean Coalition is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and a modern grid through technical, policy, and project development expertise. For further information on the Clean Coalition, please visit www.clean-coalition.org.
About Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance (IndianaDG)
IndianaDG is a nonprofit coalition of businesses, individuals, elected officials, local units of government, colleges and universities, labor unions, economic development groups as well as environmental and consumer organizations joining together to promote renewable energy and distributed generation. For further information on IndianaDG, please visit www.IndianaDG.net.
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