Utilities, Commercial, Industrial, Regulation, Sourcing Renewables  -  November 22, 2017

Kansas utility proposes new tariff for C&I customers

In response to increasing demand from corporate customers, Westar Energy and Kansas Gas and Electric recently filed a proposal with Kansas regulators for a new renewable energy offering aimed at commercial and industrial customers. 

Utility Dive reported Nov. 20 that the utility's Direct Renewable Participation Service tariff proposes to allow large customers to purchase wind capacity from a new, local wind farm that would be owned by the utility or secured through a power purchase agreement. If approved, the tariff would be available for customers with average monthly peak demands of 500 kW or more. 

In the company's filing with the Kansas Corporation Commission, it noted that many of its larger customers have a growing interest in obtaining new renewable power generation to meet their electricity needs and are looking for: 

  • More cost-competitive renewable options;
  • long-term contracts to avoid fuel price volatility;
  • renewable additionality - meaning their investment results in new renewable power generation, including bundled energy and RECs;
  • procurement of local renewable energy;
  • purchase of renewable energy that reflects the net costs and benefits to the system, without impacting other non-participating utility customers; and
  • the opportunity to work with utilities and regulators to expand choices for buying renewable energy.

Westar also noted that because of the business interest and focus on those needs, its proposed tariff would provide significant value to the state as an economic development tool. 

"Businesses are placing a high priority on these principles when selecting a location to locate new facilities or expand existing facilities," the utility said in its filing. "As a result, Westar's ability to procure local, low-cost bundled renewable energy and offer that product to businesses considering locating or expanding in Kansas will help set Westar and Kansas apart from other utilities and other states."

Utility Dive reported: 

Westar has three renewable energy offerings right now, but one of them has zero customers enrolled. The wind energy it offers is significantly higher-priced than current PPAs, leading the utility to seek new ways to meet growing corporate demands for green energy.

Don Ford, director of renewable business solutions at Westar Energy, spoke about the company's work with large customers on meeting their sustainability goals earlier this month in a Smart Energy Decisions webinar sponsored by EDF Renewable Energy; a replay of that webinar is available here

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