The Northern Indiana Public Service Company has reached a settlement
agreement with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor and other
stakeholders which provides for the creation of a “feed-in” program allowing
customers with renewable-energy facilities to connect to NIPSCO’s grid and
sell their power to the company.
The agreement would also expand NIPSCO’s current net metering program giving
more customers with solar, wind, or hydro generating facilities the
opportunity to earn credits applicable to their monthly bill.
The settlement is subject to review and approval by the Indiana Utility
The first program—a pilot dubbed the Renewable Feed-in Electric Tariff—would
permit customers to connect solar, wind, or bio-mass generation sources up
to 5 megawatts (MW) in nameplate capacity, or a hydro source up to 1 MW, to
NIPSCO’s grid and sell their power to the company.
“Purchase power agreement rates for these projects are based upon the
generation technology and the capacity size of the project,” NIPSCO said in
a statement released on Wednesday.
The feed-in program would be capped at 30 MW, which NIPSCO said is
equivalent to 1 percent of last year’s projected summer peak demand of
around 3,000 MW. The program would remain in effect through 2013 and will
then be evaluated to determined if it should be extended, modified, or
The net-metering program, on the other hand, would allow customers with
solar, wind, and hydro facilities up to 1 MW in nameplate capacity—not just
those in certain categories—to earn credits. Approximately 30 customers
participated in the net-metering program last year, NIPSCO spokesman Nick
Meyer told the Chesterton Tribune on Thursday.
“This settlement represents a collaborative effort aimed at promoting
further renewable generation opportunities in Northern Indiana and
responding to our customers’ interest in powering their homes and businesses
with such projects,” NIPSCO CEO Jimmy Staton said.
“We are pleased to be a part of the negotiations that led to the settlement
now before state regulators,” said Grant Smith, executive director the
Citizens Action Coalition. “We hope residential and business customers take
full advantage of the renewable energy incentives provide by NIPSCO. The
proposed net-metering and feed-in tariffs are certainly an important step
for the renewable energy sector in Indiana.”
“Feed-in tariffs have been very successful in other countries in rapidly
implementing cost-effective renewable energy projects,” noted Steve Francis,
chair of the Hoosier Chapter of the Sierra Club.