A fact sheet from the
Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
Consumer interest in “green power” - electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind, landfills, the sun, and hydroelectric generation facilities - continues to grow in Indiana and throughout the nation.
In Indiana, the electric utility industry is pursuing a variety of green power initiatives, including the development of renewable generation facilities, agreements to purchase renewable energy on the wholesale electric market, and green power billing options for customers. Initiatives and options vary among utilities.
A number of wind energy facilities are operating in and near Benton County, Indiana including the Benton County Wind Farm, the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm, the Hoosier Wind Farm, and the Meadow Lake Wind Project. Wind energy development projects are operating or have been proposed in a number of additional Indiana counties, including the Wildcat Wind Farm now operating in Madison and Tipton Counties.
Solar and methane energy production is also growing in Indiana, with examples noted below.
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) has supported various green power proposals before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) in recent years. This fact sheet offers a basic summary of renewable energy initiatives throughout the state and will be updated periodically.
IPL | Duke Energy | Vectren | I&M | NIPSCO
REMCs | Municipal Utilities | Net Metering
For more information | Energy efficiency
Indianapolis Power & Light
Indianapolis Power & Light Co. (IPL) offers an alternative billing option for Green Power. This option was created under an agreement among IPL, the OUCC and other parties.
- IPL purchases an amount of renewable energy certificates (RECs) equaling a percentage of the participating customer’s power from renewable sources such as wind, solar or biomass.
- This voluntary program does require an extra monthly fee. Consumers can cancel at any time at no cost.
- You choose the equivalent amount (25, 50 or 100%) of your power that is to come from green sources. Using the program's fees, IPL buys RECs which equal the portion of your electricity use you selected to supplement with renewable energy.
IPL's renewable efforts include:
- A 100 megawatt (MW) purchased power agreement with the Hoosier Wind Farm in Benton County.
- An agreement to purchase up to 200 additional megawatts from a wind farm in Minnesota.
- The development of solar projects totaling nearly 100 MW. The largest airport solar farm in North America is now operating at Indianapolis International Airport, with another large solar farm being planned near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
- Is proposing a 17 MW solar-powered generating facility at NSC Crane. This request is pending in IURC Cause No. 44734.
- Has received IURC approval for 4 solar energy facilities in Indiana (in Clay, Howard, Sullivan, and Vigo counties), including rate recovery for the costs. The OUCC filed testimony supporting the request, with recommended reporting requirements.
- Receives power from the Benton County Wind Farm under a 20-year, 100 MW contract.
- Operates the Markland Hydro Station on the Ohio River in Switzerland County.
“GoGreen Indiana” is a Duke Energy program that last received IURC approval in July 2009, under an agreement between the utility and the OUCC.
- Under this voluntary program, Duke Energy buys an amount equaling the designated amount of the participating customer’s power from environmentally friendly sources. The utility purchases renewable energy certificates (RECs) in order to do so.
- Customers purchase monthly “blocks” of Green Power for an additional charge. Program participants may cancel at any time by providing 30 days advance notice to Duke Energy.
Vectren Energy Delivery
Vectren Energy Delivery has contracts with two wind farms in Benton County to purchase up to 80 MW.
In addition, Vectren operates a 3.2-MW methane gas generation facility at the Blackfoot Landfill in Pike County. The OUCC filed testimony supporting this request before the IURC.
Indiana Michigan Power
Indiana Michigan Power's (I&M's) parent company - American Electric Power (AEP) - has entered into a contract to buy 100 MW from the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm in Benton County that will serve customers in Indiana and Michigan. I&M has also received approval to buy 100 MW from the Wildcat Wind Farm in Grant, Howard, Madison and Tipton counties.
I&M operates 2 hydroelectric stations on the St. Joseph River in Indiana and 4 hydroelectric stations in southern Michigan, with a combined capability of just over 22 MW.
On February 4, 2015, the IURC approved I&M's proposal for a 15-MW solar pilot project. The OUCC filed testimony in the case on September 17, 2014. A facility in Marion is operating, with facilities in Mishawaka, New Carlisle, and Watervliet, Mich. scheduled to be on line later this year.
Northern Indiana Public Service Co.
Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) operates 2 hydroelectric stations in northern Indiana and has received IURC approval to pursue up to 100 MW in power purchase agreements with wind farms in Iowa and South Dakota.
NIPSCO has offered a green power billing option since 2012, which the OUCC supported in IURC filings:
- NIPSCO purchases an amount equaling a percentage of the participating customer's power from renewable sources.
- This voluntary program requires an extra monthly fee. Consumers can cancel at any time at no cost.
- You choose the equivalent amount of your power that is to come from renewable sources. Residential customers can choose 25, 50 or 100 percent; 5 and 10 percent options are also available for commercial and industrial customers. NIPSCO buys RECs using the program's fees.
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Rural Electric Membership Cooperatives
Member-owners of rural electric membership cooperatives (REMCs) can purchase renewable energy credits (RECs) through the EnviroWatts program. A number of REMCs are involved in green power initiatives, especially the use of generation facilities fueled by methane gas at landfills.
- Wabash Valley Power Association (WVPA) - which provides electricity to REMCs in northern and central Indiana - operates facilities at 15 Indiana landfills that can generate 47 megawatts of power. The OUCC supported proposals allowing these plants to be built, purchased and operated. WVPA has also entered into agreements to purchase power from wind farms in Illinois and Iowa.
- Hoosier Energy - which provides power to REMCs in southern and central Indiana - operates a 3.5-megawatt methane gas-fueled generating plant at the Clark-Floyd Landfill in southern Indiana, an 11-megawatt methane-fueled plant at a Michigan landfill, a 14-megawatt methane-fueled plant in central Illinois, and the 13-megawatt Osprey Point Renewable Energy Station in Sullivan County, fueled by coalbed methane. Hoosier Energy also has a 25-megawatt purchase agreement from an Iowa wind farm, operates several solar pilot projects, and has a 20-year purchase agreement from a hydroelectric facility in northern Illinois.
Municipal Electric Utilities
The Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA) – which provides wholesale power to 52 municipally owned electric utilities in Indiana – has entered into an agreement to purchase 50 megawatts of energy from an Iowa wind farm that started operating in fall 2008. IMPA has purchased renewable energy credits for wind power since 2007 and is operating solar parks in 9 communities throughout the state.
Consumers who wish to reduce their electric bills by generating their own solar or wind energy can do so by installing generators and metering equipment to measure energy output. When you don’t need all of your self-generated power, your system can be designed to sell power back to the utility – running your meter backward. Net metering is available to customers of investor-owned electric utilities in Indiana.
- You must follow specific rules to ensure your safety and the safety of utility workers.
- Each utility has specific parameters for net metering, as approved by the IURC.
- If you are interested in installing such a system, talk to your utility and review the IURC’s net metering rule.
Some renewable energy projects may qualify for state or federal tax incentives. More information is available from the Indiana Office of Energy Development (OED).
For More Information
The OUCC offers free consumer fact sheets on managing your summer electric, winter energy and water bills. Conservation tips are also available from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Also, the OUCC strongly encourages qualifying customers to enroll in the voluntary direct load control programs offered by many Indiana electric utilities. These programs offer bill credits in return for letting the utility install a “switch” on your central air conditioning unit. This allows the utility to “cycle” the appliances for brief periods during peak demand times – resulting in little discomfort for the customer but helping the utility ensure reliable service. The OUCC consumer fact sheet on these programs offers more details.
Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Voice/TDD: (317) 232-2494
Fax: (317) 232-5923