On 2/1/19, NIPSCO filed three wind petitions with the IURC as follows:
- Cause No. 45194 NIPSCO-Rosewater Wind
3/6/19 1:30 pm rm 224 IURC Offices Prehearing Conference & Hearing
- Cause No. 45195 NIPSCO-Jordan Creek Wind
4/12/19 9:30 am Rm 222 IURC Offices Evidentiary Hearing
- Cause No. 45196 NIPSCO-Roaming Bison Wind
4/12/19 10:30 am Rm 222 IURC Offices Evidentiary Hearing
IURC Approved orders:
On Aug. 7, 2019, the IURC issued a final order in the NIPSCO Rosewater Wind Farm case.
The following portions of the order may be of interest to IndianaDG members:
IMUG presented the testimony of Theodore Sommer, a
partner with the firm of LWG CPAs and Advisors. Mr. Sommer did not oppose NIPSCO's proposals in this Cause but recommended that going forward NIPSCO work hard to do more to create opportunities for renewable energy generation integration with its municipal customers, large land owning customers and community programs; thereby, increasing the economic and social benefits obtained from increasing reliance on renewable energy.
Mr. Sommer described the economic and social benefits to be gained from NIPSCO and its customers jointly participating in economy of scale renewable energy projects. He described
IMUG's suggested Municipal Solar Program ("MSP") wherein participating municipalities would select qualifying sites for possible installation of solar panels based upon "total value."
Considerations would include size, proximity to needed electric lines, use of vacant municipal 1-and, municipal rooftops, blighted land, brnwnfield sites and other appropriate locations.
Compensation to municipalities could include land lease payments, bill credits, payment for fi-rm energy sold to NIPSCO or other mutually beneficial arrangements. He explained that such an integrated NIPSCO / municipal MSP effort would create many economic, environmental, stakeholder, and social benefits.
The first MSP benefit Mr. Sommer described is new employment and job trammg opportunities. He suggested that contractors designing and installing the solar panel arrays would have to use personnel who reside in the NIPSCO service area, thus enhancing area employment and economic benefits. He suggested creating a "sidewalk to employment" whereby the chosen solar panel array designers and installers would be required to offer job training and employment to some area unemployed or under _employed people who have the talent and desire to learn solar design, equipment acquisition, and installation. He also described the Hoosier "homegrown grown" energy economic stimulus. MSP would have a focus on acquiring area made equipment when possible and employing a-rea workers so that the economic benefits when possible stay in the NIPSCO area or at least in Indiana. Keeping the resulting revenues in Indiana promotes the
financiar wellbeing of people in northern Indiana. He also described how the resulting lower municipal purchased power costs would free up capital to be used to improve municipal services and the public municipal facilities. He atso described how MSP would further enhance public convenience and necessity. He explained that municipalities are in essence closed loop public services businesses devoted to serving the public without profit. Municipal revenues generated or financial savings are used to improve the public wellbeing, not used to pay out dividends or profits. MSP would combine the public service mandate ofNIPSCO to provide safe, reliable, reasonable
cost renewable generation, with-the participating area municipality's mandate of providing reliable public services to its citizens. He described the environmental and public awareness benefits of MSP. He testified that there is public concern about environmental impacts from burning fossil fuel-s and interest in maintaining and improving the environment we leave our children and grandchildren. He explained that illlh'licipal solar installations-in NIPSCO's service area will send
a positive social and educational message about the availaoility, benefits and viability of renewable energy.
Mr. Sommer ,also-described community sorar programs, which often entail residential solar
programs that promote rooftop installations, area solar gardens or solar farms for residential
customer subscription. He testified that funding can differ but often includes utility investment
and/or customer subscription payments. He stated the focus is generally on residential customer
participation and sometimes entails low income participation. He suggested that NIPSCO integrate
its renewable energy efforts with such community solar programs. He explained that program type
details like solar garden or individual customer focus, are variables that can be considered and
accommodated to fit expectations, needs and performance.
Mr. Sommer also described opportunities for NIPSCO to increase wind generation
integration with area stakeholders. He documented that NIPSCO's service area includes areas of
the best wind speed characteristics in Indiana. He suggested that there may be opportunity for
NIPSCO to obtain wind generation rights from large farms in these areas under favorable terms,
perhaps-in exchange for electricity service to the land owner's farm facilities. Such agreement
might favorably reduce the cost of land leases for wind~ generation. He also suggested NIPSCO
may want to consider partnering with area rural electric membership cooperatives in joint
ownership a..l'ld operation of commercial size wi..11d generation.
Mr. Sommer also detailed how his proposed integration ofNIPSCO renewable generation
with area municipalities and customers would be consistent with and support NIPSCO' s customer
efforts and vision as espoused by NIPSCO's President.
Mr. Sommer concluded by stating his proposals are an opportunity to make Hoosier dollars
first create greater benefit in Indiana. Land lease payments, revenue, or electric credits to
municipalities from such joint renewable energy efforts could help pay for improved municipal
services in NIPSCO's service area. That helps. everyone living and working in those NIPSCO
areas. NIPS-CO obtaining wind lease rights in exchange for- biU credits provides economic
development benefits and potentially lower commercial wind development costs. The effort and
results would also be further justificati-on for Clean Energy Project rate incentives. An "Indiana
first" consideration in renewable energy: additi-ons is one of many reasonable design / benefit
criteria to review.