The Northern Indiana Public Service Co. (NIPSCO), an investor-owned utility, 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 under which NIPSCO could procure 16 MW of electricity from small-scale renewable energy projects in its service territory. This program is the successor to FIT 1.0, which created 30 MW of market capacity for local renewables.
Under FIT 2.0, NIPSCO will offer 15-year contracts to solar, wind and biomass projects. Carve-outs for solar consist of 2 MW for ‘micro solar’ projects of at least 5 kW and less than 10 kW at a rate of $0.17/kWh and 4 MW for ‘intermediate solar’ projects of at least 10 kW and less than 200 kW at a rate of $0.15/kWh. Another 4 MW of intermediate solar will be made available two years after program approval at a rate of $0.1380/kWh.
NIPSCO developed FIT 2.0 as the result of a negotiation process with stakeholders, including the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, the Sierra Club, the Citizens Action Coalition, the Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance and the Clean Coalition.
‘Given the success of NIPSCO's initial feed-in tariff, it is natural to see an expansion of the program,’ says 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.’
Lewis says utilities and communities elsewhere should be implementing FITs because they avoid some of the problems associated with net metering by maintaining customer loads and eliminating multi-tenant complexities.
For more information on the FIT 2.0 proposal, see the settlement agreement here.