Hoosier Energy’s competitive advantage rests on flexibility, speed

EnergyLines May 2020

 

Working alongside member-cooperatives, Hoosier Energy is creating competitive advantages for the industries, farms and residences that make up the communities that depend on us to meet their power needs. Every conversation, every project, every pilot program is executed with one question in mind — How will our collective efforts benefit our members and theirs?

 

The 2019 annual report shows how the power network that makes up Hoosier Energy will see a changing energy landscape powered by consumer preference, technology and sustainability.

 

Much is on the horizon, from electric fleets to battery storage. Consumers increasingly want assurance that the energy they use comes from economical, reliable and sustainable resources. Most of all, they want energy options that fit their lifestyle.

 

This is the future of the grid.

 

Diversified generation portfolio

 

Hoosier Energy recognizes the value of flexible grid operations and understands the overall emissions impact of the generation source. The generation and transmission’s (G&T) diversified generation portfolio harnesses the power of the sun, turns landfill waste into energy and supplies economical natural gas to heat homes and businesses in the communities served by our  member distribution cooperatives. Market opportunities supplement those efforts, keeping the cost of the power supply down.

 

Emerging technologies

 

The G&T is reviewing new technologies that will help provide greater value and quality of life for the 695,000 people in member service territory. When plug-in vehicles and battery storage became more than a passing fad, co-ops began exploring emerging technologies and their role in bringing the benefits of those technologies to co-op communities.

 

That conversation led to the formation of an emerging technology committee, which is exploring how battery storage, consumer incentives and renewables can work together to make up the power  network’s future generation portfolio. 

 

Superior service, low costs

 

The execution of a disciplined financing plan helps us maintain stable rates and allows the G&T to return operating margins to our members year after year—$6.5 million in 2019. Solid A credit ratings and timely credit actions support a very competitive cost of capital reflected in the company’s low borrowing costs.

 

Hoosier Energy’s rate design is transparent, and above all, promotes fairness. In 2020, members will sit down with Hoosier Energy to review the wholesale rate design. This review will focus on modernizing tariffs, as we have done with our generation fleet, to ensure we are meeting future member needs.

 

At-cost service, in turn, helps our members maintain a competitive advantage for the communities that depend on us to meet their power needs, provide economic opportunities and create jobs.

 

Economic development efforts

 

An economic development rider offers significant discounts on a commercial consumer’s electric bill for the first six years of a project. The incentive has become a key factor in members’ ability to attract new or expanding businesses. In 2019, members landed more than 60 projects in 16 member system territories representing $485 million in investment, adding more than 2,500 new jobs and 23 MW of demand.

 

Power delivery and grid resiliency

 

Dedication to a programmatic approach keeps costs down, always with reliability of the electric system in mind. If a tornado tosses poles and energized lines across a field in a flash of fury, co-ops are ready. Substations at various member system locations house pieces of equipment essential to restoring power quickly if power lines go down. Driving 10 miles instead of 30 means we can respond faster and more safely.

 

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