Indiana Representative Matt Pierce (D-61st, Bloomington) introduced AB 1190 into the Indiana General Assembly. The bill is the first comprehensive proposal for a system of feed-in tariffs in the current 2010 legislative sessions that have begun in states across the US.
The bill to create a system of what Representative Pierce calls “Advanced Renewable Energy Contracts” and incorporates two tracks: one track with U.S. federal subsidies, one track without. Some Indiana projects could qualify for U.S. federal subsidies. However, not all potential renewable energy generators in Indiana may be able to use the federal subsidies. For those who may not be able to use the federal subsidies, Representative Pierce has proposed the second track where the feed-in rates are proportionally higher.
Differentiating the rates for wind energy based on the wind resource is used by Germany and France both to spread development opportunity to more farmers and rural landowners than one, single rate for wind energy, but also to avoid the concentration of wind turbines in only the windiest regions. Such a proposal in Indiana would give farmers in central Indiana as much opportunity to develop their wind resource as farmers in northern Indiana where it is windier.
Representative Pierce has proposed specific tariffs for small wind turbines like those that would be used by individual households. While AB 1190’s proposed rates for small wind turbines are less than those that will likely go into effect this April in Great Britain, they are the first of their kind in North America.
In other provisions, the bill requires the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to review the renewable energy rates paid to new generators beginning in 2012. AB 1190 directs the IURC’s review to ensure the rates are sufficient for the rapid development of renewable energy without resulting in excessive profits for generators or excessive costs to ratepayers. The bill establishes an equalization program to spread the costs of the policy across all ratepayers so that no one utility or its ratepayers absorb more than their fair share of the costs of the program.
AB 1190 also creates a statewide registry of generators and requires the IURC to issue annual reports on the robustness of the program in meeting the bill’s objective of encouraging the rapid and sustainable development of renewable energy in Indiana.
Before it becomes law, the bill must pass the assembly, controlled by Democrats, and the Senate, controlled by Republicans, and be signed by Republican Governor Daniels.