A better sun?

August 18, 2012

In the [July 30] “On the Record” section, there was a story about Indianapolis Power & Light Co. awarding a 15-year contract to buy 30 megawatts of solar power from Sunrise Energy Ventures. Not mentioned is that Sunrise won a “reverse auction.” In other words, Sunrise came in at the lowest price per kilowatt hour, at an average rate of 9.9 cents. It is reasonable to say IPL has established the market rate for generation of solar-powered electricity in its territory by outside developers.

Later in the story, reference is made to the much-publicized 80 megawatt “solar farm” to be built at Indianapolis International Airport. Not mentioned is that IPL is poised to pay approximately 20 cents per kilowatt hour for the same kind of electricity flowing from this project. Twice the rate.

This should be contrasted against IPL’s published tariff showing that it will only pay in the range of 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity generated outside of “renewables” programs.

Since the premium that IPL pays for renewable energy is passed on as a surcharge to all IPL ratepayers, why is IPL paying twice as much for airport solar energy versus that from Sunrise? And why are regulatory authorities allowing this?

Is the airport project using a better, more efficient sun?


Stephen Woodrow

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