The Independence City Manager Robert Heacock provided a preliminary report on a city council resolution concerning renewable energy by posting them on the city's website and discussing them at the Dec. 1 City Council meeting.
The resolution called for a report by Nov. 30th on three topics:
- Design of the remodeled office building for Independence Power & Light to incorporate energy efficiency measures and renewable energy generation;
- Study the feasibility of renewable energy at city-owned facilities;
- Study potential incentives and programs which could be offered to IPL customers for the use of renewable energy.
Detailed studies were posted by the City Manager on the city's website. Copies of the three reports are also available here.
- IPL Memo to City Manager (Nov. 25, 2014)
- Renewable Energy Options Evaluation (Burns & McDonnell) - Nov. 25, 2104
- Brightergy Solar Energy Proposal (Nov. 19, 2014)
The Burns & McDonnell study identifies 11 city-owned buildings which might be potential candidates for solar energy (rooftop, ground or car ports).
The two best solar options are the city-owned Water Pollution Rock Creek plant which is a major energy user where solar might a viable option with at 14.6 year payback if the city installed the solar panel - a perhaps quicker if solar power was provided by a third party.
The second solar option is the new IPL Administrative offices at the former Medical Center of Independence site which the city purchase. IPL is seeking Gold LEED certification and potential Platinum for the new administrative office.
The study concludes that wind and geothermal and solar are currently not a viable option for city-owned buildings because of capital costs and the limited energy produced.
A separate review of city-owned building was done by Brightergy and developed a list of 12 city-owned building for potential solar installation. This analysis said the Independence Event Center and the new IPL administrative offices might also be potential candidates for solar installations.
The 100-page Burns and McDonnell study includes a section on potential energy efficiencies based on reviewing programs 10 different utilities.
Four are in the region (Columbia, Springfield, Kansas City, Mo and Kansas City, Ks), three in Texas, two in California and Excel Energy which provides power in Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin.
The study recommends five potential approaches which might be of interest to the city:
- Utility Purchased Efficiency Program: LED Buy-Down Program where a utility buys equipment (i.e., LED light bulbs) in bulk at a reduced price and directly sells the equipment to customers.
- Community Solar Program: The utility has a purchase power agreement with a developer who installs, owns and operates a large scale solar farm. Customers have the option to purchase a portion of their energy needs from the solar facility by paying a 20-year fixed price on the energy.
- Home Energy Loan Program: Improving IPL's current Home Energy Loan Program ("HELP") that provides up to $15,000 loans to residential customers who undertake energy efficiency measures on their home.
- Increase program marketing efforts: Increase awareness of existing IPL programs as well as any new programs to increase participation.
- Rate Structure: Review the current IPL rate structure to eliminate or reduce any rate subsidization issues.
IPL has issued a Request for Proposal for a large-scale solar farm on IPL-owned property and wind energy.
Responses for the solar proposal are due Dec. 10th.
Three wind proposals have been received.
The City Council received an updated report at its Jan. 26th study session.