Indiana URC approves Duke’s 17-MW Crane Solar Facility on Navy base

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission on July 6 approved a Jan. 7 application from Duke Energy Indiana LLC for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the proposed Crane Solar Facility.

The commission also approved the Crane Solar Facility as a "clean energy project" under Indiana code, authorized Duke to establish a new renewable energy project rider for utility-owned renewable energy facilities, authorized timely recovery of the Crane Solar Facility’s construction and operating costs through Duke’s newly requested renewable energy project rider; approved Duke to defer costs associated with the Crane Solar Facility until such costs are reflected in its rates and charges, and approved a new depreciation rate specific to the solar project.

Duke would construct the Crane Solar Facility on land leased to Duke Energy Indiana by the Naval Support Activity Crane (NSA Crane) base. The project will be approximately 17 MW (ac)/24 MW (dc) in size. The Crane Solar Facility will interconnect to Duke Energy Indiana’s 69-kV transmission line located nearby and will be bid into the Midcontinent Independent System Operator market in the same way as other Duke Energy Indiana-owned generation.

NSA Crane, one of Duke Energy Indiana’s largest customers, approached Duke to discuss the Department of Navy’s goals regarding renewable energy and energy security, which were compatible with Duke Energy Indiana’s goals for fuel diversity and the desire to add utility-owned solar to its resource portfolio. The Crane Solar Facility was the outcome of those collaborative efforts.

Duke Energy Indiana agreed to install a remote operable switch on the 69 kV line that serves NSA Crane and to study the feasibility of incorporating future grid-tied energy storage technologies for the purpose of maintaining electric services for critical loads, benefiting NSA Crane and other customers throughout the region during an outage. Also, under certain circumstances, such as a significant regional outage, NSA Crane could purchase the solar power at the Crane Solar Facility to the extent it has the technical ability to do so.

Duke’s construction schedule supports an anticipated Dec. 31, 2016, in-service date. 

Duke Energy Indiana is a unit of Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK).

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.