On September 2, 2011, the Board issued an order opening a notice of inquiry (NOI) on utility coal plant planning. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new regulations concerning discharges into water, coal fly ash, and air regulations regarding ozone, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, mercury, carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases. These regulations likely will require the upgrading of some coal plants and the retirement of others, while converting some plants to natural gas.
This inquiry requests regulated utilities to prepare several scenarios describing how they could comply with the new regulations (such as upgrade all coal, convert some to natural gas, etc.), what the rate and other impacts are of each scenario, and "sensitivity" studies exploring the impact on these projections if the price of natural gas or the interest rate, demand, cost of construction, etc. is lower or higher than anticipated. For complete information about the NOI, please view or download the "Order Opening Inquiry on Utility Coal Plant Planning and Soliciting Comments."
On November 3, 2011, Alliant/Interstate Power and Light Company (Alliant/IPL) and MidAmerican Energy Company (MEC) provided the requested information; North Iowa Municipal Electric Cooperative Association, Ames Municipal Electric System, and Muscatine Power and Water filed comments.
On November 8, 2011, the Board issued an order soliciting comments on reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE) standards and from non-utilities owning coal-fired generation, which are both topics not addressed in the original order. Alliant/IPL and MEC were to file responses on or before December 15, 2011, regarding the RICE standards. Municipal utilities and electric cooperatives owning generation subject to these standards were invited to respond to the Board's questions. The participants in this NOI docket that are subject to the EPA regulations discussed in this order were to file responses to questions about their coal-fired plants no later than December 15, 2011.
Mack Thompson, acting manager of the Board's Policy Development Section, is the inquiry manager for this docket. Questions regarding this docket should be addressed to Mr. Thompson, (515) 725-7325, or via e-mail at Mack.Thompson@iub.iowa.gov.