I&M Going SolarPosted: Updated:
Fort Wayne-based Indiana Michigan Power says its planned $38 million first solar energy effort is a "historic" step in its long-term diversification efforts. The utility already projects that by year's end, more than 50 percent of its power-generation will be from non-carbon-emitting sources. The Clean Energy Solar Pilot Project includes four sites in Indiana and one in Michigan that are expected to have a combined capacity of 16 megawatts.
It has received approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.
February 5, 2015
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Indiana Michigan Power (I&M), an operating unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), will add solar energy to its generation fleet following the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission's approval of I&M's plans for five solar facilities with a combined capacity of nearly 16 megawatts.
Three of the facilities will be in the Michiana area, including two in St. Joseph County and one near Watervliet, Mich. A fourth will be in Marion, Ind., and a fifth location has not yet been determined.
"Our Clean Energy Solar Pilot Project is a significant step forward for Indiana Michigan Power," said Paul Chodak III, I&M's president and chief operating officer. "This historic utility-scale solar project will further diversify I&M's generation sources, creating flexibility to economically and reliably provide energy under a multitude of potential circumstances."
"Most importantly, I&M will own and operate these facilities and gain firsthand experience in the design and construction of utility-scale solar projects as well as integrating solar energy reliably into the grid," Chodak added. "This knowledge will be of great value to I&M and its customers as I&M moves toward adding more solar resources in coming years."
"It is important for I&M to lead this change toward solar energy in a logical, progressive and disciplined manner," Chodak said.
Approval of I&M's Clean Energy Solar Pilot Project plans comes at a time when solar technology is becoming increasingly efficient. The costs of solar resources are declining, and utility-scale solar is more cost-effective than rooftop systems. The addition of zero-carbon solar also meets the increasing interest of customers who want to use more renewable energy to meet their needs.
The four facilities where locations are final will be on property owned by I&M near existing and future I&M substations, which helps minimize the cost of delivering the energy to the transmission grid. The estimated cost of the project is $38 million. The overall impact on customer rates is expected to be about three-tenths of 1 percent, but the specific effect on individual rate classes such as residential or commercial will be determined once the actual costs are known.
I&M will also offer customers the opportunity to increase the amount of solar energy attributable to their energy consumption by subscribing to Solar Renewable Energy Certificates related to the new solar facilities. The revenues from subscribers to the certificates will go directly toward offsetting the cost of the solar project.
Here is information about the five facilities:
Name Capacity Location
Watervliet 4.6 MW East of Watervliet, Mich
Olive 5 MW Between South Bend and New Carlisle
Deer Creek 2.5 MW Marion, Indiana, on I&M Service Center grounds
Twin Branch 2.6 MW Mishawaka
To Be Determined 1 MW TBD (Indiana)
Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its 2,500 employees serve more than 582,000 customers. It operates 3,595 MW of coal-fired generation in Indiana, 2,110 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan and 22 MW of hydro generation in both states. The company also provides its customers 250 MW of purchased wind generation.
I&M is a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP's headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.
News releases and other information about I&M is available at IndianaMichiganPower.com