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State regulators approve NIPSCO renewable energy plan  

Credit:  By Keith Benman, www.nwitimes.com 14 July 2011 ~~

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has approved a settlement that should result in a quantum leap in the use of homegrown renewable energy such as wind, solar and hydro in NIPSCO territory.

The IURC on Wednesday approved “in its entirety” a settlement the utility concluded with consumer and environmental groups in April, which will allow customers to install renewable energy projects of up to 5 megawatts and sell the electricity produced back to the utility.

Five megawatts is the amount of power produced by two large, industrial-strength wind turbines. That would be enough electricity to power from 1,200 to 1,500 homes, according to the Wind Energy Development Program of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The new “feed-in tariff” program is a giant leap forward from NIPSCO’s net metering program, under which the utility gives customers bill credits for renewable energy sources with up to 10 kilowatts of capacity. That program would be expanded to projects of up to 1 megawatt of capacity under the IURC’s order.

“This is a program our customers have asked for and we have a number of customers lined up waiting for this order to go forward,” NIPSCO spokesman Nick Meyer said.

The utility still has to examine the order as to specific rates customers will be paid for electricity as well as other matters, Meyer said. The utility will be rolling out details on how customers can sign up and start projects within the next few months.

The feed-in tariff and the net metering programs would be limited to 30 megawatts each under the order, which equates to about 2 percent of NIPSCO’s peak summer demand.

Source:  By Keith Benman, www.nwitimes.com 14 July 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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