IPL briefs Iowa board on alternate rate design, distributed generation

Alliant Energy (NYSE:LNT) utility Interstate Power and Light (IPL) briefed the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) on March 15 on potential alternative rate design in the state and how it might affect distributed generation.

The briefing was held for the board by IPL President Doug Kopp and Vice President for Regulatory Affairs Joel Schmidt. Slides from the briefing were posted on the board’s website.

IPL remains short on energy in Iowa. Renewables can economically fill gaps, IPL said. Low gas prices and falling wind energy prices continue to reduce coal dispatch, the utility said. “Renewables, energy efficiency and demand response are priority to fill future needs.”

IPL also noted that it is engaged with both wind and solar power requests for proposals (RFPs).

While IPL accommodates distributed generation customers the utility is wary about any net metering rules that shift costs to non-DG customers.

IPL said of distributed generation that:

•Peak demands are not going away, but are moving to later in the day—investment costs in the grid are not diminished

•DG is different than energy efficiency since customer load is not diminished but just temporarily displaced by generation

•Individual customer demand substantially unchanged, impact on system unknown.

As of January of this year, IPL estimates that it has 1,700 customer-owned DG-type projects (residential, certain farms, school districts, small commercial, municipalities and so forth). This accounts for about 24 MW of capacity, of which about 20 MW is solar. IPL also said that it is receiving about 30 DG interconnection applications per month. “Current estimated annual subsidy that would be collected from other customers at IPL’s next rate case ~$2 million,” the utility said.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.