EIRP Timeline Adjustments
May 12, 2020 Update: Thank you to everyone who has engaged in OUC’s Electric Integrated Resource Plan (EIRP). Due to the impact of COVID-19, we are temporarily pausing the EIRP process. We feel it is in the best interest of our customers, employees and community to redirect our focus to recovery, reentry and hurricane preparation activities. This will also allow time to hold the EIRP Commission Workshop in public as planned.
Another update will be posted here after our August 11, 2020, Commission meeting.
If you have any questions or comments about this announcement, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Consolidated Community Forum Questions
The following includes responses to common questions asked by attendees during OUC’s EIRP Community Forums held at various locations in December 2019 and January 2020. If you have additional questions not answered below, please email email@example.com. Thank you for your continued participation in the EIRP process.
- 1. Who is on the Advisory Council and how were they selected?
The OUC EIRP Advisory Council is 12-member volunteer group – nominated by elected City and County Commissioners from Orange and Osceola counties and the Cities of Orlando and St. Cloud – who represent a cross-section of our community. The role of the Advisory Council, as advisors, educators and a connection point to the communities they represent, is to serve as a voice for all stakeholder groups.
- 1. How will the four attributes (reliability, affordability, sustainability & resiliency) be weighted?
The attribute rankings from all community and online forums will be compiled, analyzed and included in the final report. All community forum responses will be kept separate from online responses. The results will be shared with the Advisory Council who will each vote on weighting of the four key attributes of reliability, affordability, resiliency and sustainability that will be used as an input to the EIRP modeling.
- 2. What are the impacts of comparing affordability and sustainability?
Both are important to our customers and we strive to balance these attributes as they can impact rates and OUC’s ability to deliver on all of the utility’s tenets.
- 3. Why would OUC set a goal of zero net carbon if they’re concerned about affordability?
A goal of net-zero carbon by 2050 will provide a glide path that will bridge the current gaps in technology and allow OUC to implement a range of clean energy options like efficiency and demand response programs to meet goals which help keep rates affordable.
- 4. What costs are being considered in the affordability attribute? Who pays for these changes?
The affordability attribute will consider the recovery of costs to produce and deliver energy, all of which have different life cycle costs and timing and are recovered through all customer bills.
- 5. Are performance indices considered when looking at reliability and resiliency?
Yes. Performance metrics will be used for both attributes.
- 6. Does the EIRP include provisions to limit power outages related to natural disasters?
Yes. The resiliency attribute will be modeled using natural disasters and analyses of other potential emergencies such as cyber-attacks.
- 7. How will the EIRP impact individuals in low-income areas?
Providing value to all OUC customers is always a priority. As such, affordability is one of the four attributes we are weighing through our EIRP in an effort to balance it with sustainability, resiliency and reliability.
- 8. How does OUC plan on increasing sustainability?
As part of our goal to reach zero net carbon by 2050, we are currently evaluating different pathways which will increase sustainability and will leverage a range of options such as energy efficiency, solar, storage, wind, demand response, increased customer conservation education, and more. Additionally, OUC’s Board of Commissioners recently approved carbon emission reduction goals for 2030 and 2040.
- 1. What are carbon offsets? Are there any specific carbon offsets being considered by OUC?
A carbon offset is created from a project that reduces greenhouse gas emissions like tree planting or electric vehicle adoption. These carbon offset credits can be sold and used by another entity to support emission reductions. The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) is a prominent standard for creating and documenting offsets. More information on the VCS can be found at https://verra.org/project/vcs-program/.
- 2. How long would it take for the carbon offset pathway to actually reverse pollution, if OUC doesn’t retire the coal units, or invest into a new gas plant?
OUC already meets all state and federal guidelines regarding pollution. Carbon offsets can enable OUC to meet carbon reduction targets while retaining a diverse generation portfolio including fossil fuels to support affordability and reliability.
- 3. What parameters/restrictions are placed on carbon offsets? Will these be local offsets? How will they be verified?
Offsets are subject to third-party independent certification to ensure the integrity of the defined offsets. Sourcing these locally will be prioritized however, market conditions may limit the availability of these attributes.
- 4. How do you define zero net carbon?
By a certain date, in this case, 2050, all of OUC’s CO2 emissions will be offset by clean energy sources such as renewable energy, efficiency measures, electrification, etc.
- 1. Does the EIRP take into consideration the expected growth of the Orlando area?
Yes. Orlando’s growth is included in the planning assumptions used for energy demand.
- 2. What is the scope of the EIRP?
To develop a baseline generation planning roadmap for a 30-year planning horizon balancing the four attributes of affordability, resiliency, sustainability and reliability. This baseline will be the foundation for future EIRP’s which will be revisited approximately every five years to ensure we remain current with technology, regulations and other variables as they change. Included in the scope of the plan is determinations for the retirement of generation assets and what fuels/technologies will be leveraged to meet customer demand.
- 3. How and when will the final results be released? What information will be included?
The results, including an energy roadmap for the next 30 years, will be released in June 2020 during a public workshop. Given the recent COVID -19 outbreak, this schedule could change, though we are currently still on track with this timeline.
- 4. How is OUC being held accountable in reaching the 2050 goal?
Management is held accountable and will report progress to the OUC Board of Commissioners along with engaging the community periodically as the EIRP is revisited approximately every five years as technology, regulations and other variables change.
- 5. How are you taking into account health impacts on the surrounding area?
OUC vigilantly complies with federal, state and local laws and is a committed environmental steward of the community.
- 6. How does the EIRP account for the additional costs related to fossil fuels?
Total life cycle costs are included in the EIRP for all technologies and fuels.
- 7. Does the EIRP consider potential environmental impacts related to climate change?
The zero net carbon pathways addresses climate change by measuring CO2 and reducing it to net zero.
- 8. If the stated goal is 2050, why does the EIRP only consider the next 20 years?
When we started the EIRP process, we were on a 20-year horizon, typical with the industry. As part of OUC’s support of the City’s goal of 100% renewable by 2050, we extended the roadmap out to 2050. It should also be noted that the EIRP process is iterative and will be conducted approximately every five years as technology, regulations and other variables change and as we progress towards 2050.
- 1. What is the difference between the current and 2025 portfolio mixes? Are the percentages considered caps (i.e. 3% nuclear, 1% landfill gas) or are they all subject to change in the final EIRP?
These percentages are indicative percentages based on anticipated customer loads, availability of generation (including retirements of assets and addition of new assets), cost of fuel and environmental impacts. These are not caps.
The EIRP findings will provide OUC with several scenarios that will be used as a key reference in the strategic decision making process. This is an ongoing process and, like the rest of the utility industry, OUC will conduct EIRP’s approximately every five years to assure that future decision making takes into account changes in technology, regulations and other variables.
- 2. What generation sources are being considered in the EIRP? Will other sources be considered?
Based on a technology assessment, a broad range of candidate generation technologies are being considered including the following:
- Advanced and conventional gas-fired combined cycle gas turbines
- Conventional, and small and large aeroderivative combustion turbines
- Various sizes of tracking solar generation
- Contracted solar generation (Independent Power Producers)
- “Wind-by-wire” (imported wind generation)
- Combined solar and storage (hybrid systems)
- Small modular nuclear reactors
- Coal-to-gas conversion
- 3. Is OUC planning to build new nuclear plants as a part of the EIRP?
Results of the EIRP will provide a basis for determining the source of new generation resources.
- 4. Since solar costs are decreasing, why are fossil fuels still being considered? How is OUC taking advantage of the decreasing costs to increase power production?
Although Florida is known as the Sunshine State, it is more accurately the “partly-cloudy” state. Nearly 40% of the electricity consumed by OUC’s customers occurs at night when solar generation is unavailable. To provide reliable electricity at night, when it is raining, and when clouds are blocking the sun, customer demands require OUC to continue to invest in a diverse portfolio of generation and technologies. The EIRP is designed to ensure all generation asset life cycle costs are evaluated in the process.
- 5. Why is OUC focusing on transitioning to renewable energy instead of improving current generation sources?
OUC is focusing on both transitioning to renewable energy and improving current generation sources to maximize customer value.
- 6. How does OUC define renewable energy?
Renewable energy is generated from non-depleting resources such as solar and wind. OUC also considers landfill gas, tidal/wave driven generation, and biomass as renewable sources of energy.
- 7. Where will OUC build future generation sources? Who will it impact?
Future generation sites have not been determined as these are dependent on the EIRP results.
- 8. Is rooftop solar considered in the EIRP? How are customers being incentivized to participate?
Yes, rooftop solar penetration is represented in the EIRP analysis. Working with National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), OUC is assessing the full potential of rooftop solar in our service territory over the next 30 years.
- 9. Why is OUC waiting until 2050 to use 100% renewable sources?
While today it is not feasible to reliably and cost-effectively meet customer load with 100% clean energy, OUC is not waiting until 2050 to invest in renewables. We have several large-scale solar projects that will be part of the generating fleet before 2025. Additionally, OUC, along with our Board of Commissioners, set interim carbon reduction goals for 2030 and 2040.
The goal of the EIRP is to develop a roadmap to 2050 – a time period that allows OUC to balance the attributes of affordability, reliability, resiliency and sustainability through advances in renewable and storage technologies.
- 10. Will OUC purchase renewable energy from Independent Power Producers/redevelopers?
Renewable energy from Independent Power Producers is a potential resource being considered in the EIRP.
- 11. Who will make determinations for the plan for future energy programs?
The EIRP process is a collaborative and periodic process to determine future energy programs. In June 2020, the current EIRP will be presented and in July 2020 voted on by the OUC Board. The EIRP process will be revisited approximately every 5 years as technology, regulations, and other variables change.
- 12. Is there enough energy potential to warrant trying to extract it from sewer treatment plants?
Energy from sewage treatment plants is not a viable option at this time.
- 13. How will you address price elasticity for renewable energy?
Energy demand is independent of the technologies used to generate electricity. However, the EIRP does consider the decline in renewable energy costs as adoption spreads. The EIRP model will test a broad range of renewable energy costs in a structured way, using the conditions and probabilistic simulations.
- 14. EV is the unpredictable wildcard – how do you account for this?
The EIRP takes into account a forecast for electric vehicle (EV) adoption using data and models from numerous sources including the penetration of light-duty and commercial vehicle usage.
- 15. What is the potential effect of retiring the Stanton coal unit in 2020, as the synapse study recommended? Does this recommendation have any practical basis?
The EIRP evaluates this Pathway consistent with the other Pathways being evaluated.
- 16. How much will it actually cost to shut down coal plants 1 and 2?
There are many variables that need to be taken into account to answer this question in the context of the entire generation portfolio.
- 1. How are the conditions related to the pathways?
“Pathways” and “Conditions” are separate and complimentary ways to determine the optimal candidate technologies. “Pathways” assume that net zero carbon or other environmental objectives will be achieved. “Conditions” analyze the impact of external drivers (also called states of the world) such as increasing regulation, technological innovations and economic downturns to understand the impacts on customer demand and available supply resources.
- 2. How does OUC’s approach compare to other utilities?
OUC’s approach is consistent with industry standards and best practices including identifying objectives/attributes, developing portfolio candidates/pathways and conditions, and rigorously testing each candidate/pathway and conditions across a broad range of market and regulatory conditions. Leading utilities are using net-zero as an approach to reduce emissions while reliably serving customers.
- 3. What does OUC expect to be included in the final portfolio mix?
The EIRP is taking into consideration a wide variety of candidate generation technologies. The results of the EIRP will help determine the final portfolio mix.
- 4. How will the EIRP take into account unforeseen circumstances and technological advances?
Uncertainty in future natural gas prices, energy demand, environmental costs, technology advances and prices, and other “conditions” will be quantified in the EIRP analyses by rigorously testing Pathways across a broad range of market and regulatory conditions. Additionally, the EIRP will be revisited approximately every five years as technology, regulations, and other variables change.
- 1. How is Siemens Energy Business Advisory related to Siemens AG?
Siemens Energy Business Advisory is a subsidiary of Siemens AG with a fiduciary responsibility to its clients to remain independent of Siemens AG. Siemens Energy Business Advisory has executed a client confidentiality agreement with OUC and as such is bound by these terms including disclosure of OUC EIRP information with other parts of Siemens AG.
- 1. How is OUC collecting input from all stakeholder groups? How will that input be incorporated into the EIRP?
Information is being collected through a diverse engagement approach that includes community forums, an on-line education and survey and the establishment of an Advisory Council. The online survey and community forums serve as open platforms for community members and customers to be educated and provide direct input. Both groups are given the same baseline level of education about the EIRP and the objectives that will impact the final portfolio.
The Advisory Council serves as the connection point to OUC’s stakeholder groups and ensures we are getting representative feedback from those groups. The Advisory Council will make a final recommendation to OUC on the four attribute weightings that represent all stakeholders.
- 2. How can community members help OUC achieve the 2050 goal?
Each and every member of our community plays an integral role in helping OUC achieve its energy goals. Beyond participating and contributing in the EIRP process, each and every resident can do their part by following very simple conservation tips, such as turning off lights when you leave a room, setting your thermostat at 78 degrees, as well as shifting energy usage to non-peak hours. More tips like these are available at https://www.ouc.com/residential/save-energy-water-money/energy-conservation-tips.
- 3. How were the community forums publicized?
The EIRP community forums were publicized through a variety of channels, including the customer newsletter, Connections, OUC and City of Orlando social media channels, the OUConnect blog, OUC eNews, City of Orlando eNews and various media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel.
Based on the popularity of the first round of community meetings held in December, 2019, two additional forums were publicized through the same channels excluding media outlets and held in January 2020.
- 4. Will there be additional community forums to ensure other impacted communities have a chance to learn about the EIRP and share their feedback?
There are no additional community forums planned. However, the June EIRP Commission Workshop will be noticed and open to the public.
OUC General Questions
- 1. Are the current generation of customer meters equipped for potential changes related to the EIRP?
Yes, OUC has fully deployed Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) throughout our service territory. These digital or “smart” meters lay the foundation for current and future OUC programs.
As part of OUC’s ongoing sustainability efforts, we have been working to build the technical capabilities to support customer participation in our upcoming time-of-use program. This program will provide customers an opportunity to partner with OUC in reducing peak demand by shifting energy usage to non-peak times. Additionally, OUC is exploring future programs that will provide more targeted opportunities for customers to help share the load on critical peak days by curtailing their energy demand.
- 2. How does net metering work?
Information about net metering can be found here on OUC.com: https://www.ouc.com/environment-community/ouc-solar-solutions/other-solar-programs
- 1. What services and programs are available to OUC customers?
OUC provides electric, water, chilled water, roof-top solar, community solar, in-door and out-door lighting services and vehicle electrification services to customers. Information about all services and programs can be found at OUC.com.
- 2. Will OUC be able to scale their service without negatively impacting customers?
OUC has been growing to meet the needs of Orlando and Central Florida since our inception in 1923. To respond to increasing demand, OUC remains committed to constantly seeking ways to enhance offerings while maintaining the attributes of affordability, resiliency, sustainability and reliability.
- 3. How does OUC maintain cyber security?
As a critical infrastructure provider, cyber security is a high priority and is directly correlated to system resiliency. OUC maintains compliance with federal regulations and works to ensure best practices are leveraged throughout all operations.
- 4. What rebates are available to customers?
- 5. How are my rates calculated?
Customer pricing is performed annually through a very structured, rigorous two-step industry standard process. The first step is a study of the revenues and expenses for a specific time period called a Revenue Adequacy Study. The second step is a Cost-of-Service Study, which allocates the revenues and expenses to the different classes of customers and the different pricing components (customer, energy and demand charges).
If the Cost-of-Service Study indicates a price change is necessary, management presents these changes to the Board of Commissioners for their approval.
A full listing of OUC’s prices can be found at: https://www.ouc.com/residential/service-rates-and-costs/electric-rates/
- 1. How will OUC scale their energy storage to match the increased use of renewables? What are the costs and impacts related to increasing storage capacity?
As part of the EIRP OUC will be developing plans to determine how best to scale energy storage to effectively pair and operate with our grid resources. While a number of advances have brought energy storage forward as a technical solution, the industry is still in the early stages of utility-scale applications that effectively support the attributes of reliability and affordability.
OUC will be piloting utility-scale battery storage in 2020 to better understand the capabilities of batteries in integrating more solar energy into the grid so we can mitigate the intermittency of solar, caused by rain, clouds, and nighttime and be able to dispatch the solar during times of consumption. This battery storage pilot will help OUC determine the cost, performance and sizing needed to determine how much battery storage is needed for new solar capacity that OUC adds to its portfolio.
Many factors impact the cost and performance of battery storage, including but not limited to battery chemistry, capacity, duration, roundtrip efficiency, number of charge and discharge cycles, and the depth of discharge.
- 2. What are the costs associated with solar energy? How will introducing more solar energy affect residential and commercial customers?
Costs associated with solar energy include capital costs for asset infrastructure along with operations and maintenance costs for land management and compliance.
Currently, solar needs to be paired with a secondary resource, like batteries or alternative generation to provide reliable electric services during nighttime and periods of rain and cloud cover. OUC is constantly working to mitigate reliability and cost impacts to customers as more solar energy is being added to our generation mix.
- 3. What materials are used in solar cells? What is their lifespan and how are they disposed?
Silicon is the primary component of crystalline PV panels which are predominately sold in the market today.
The life expectancy of PV panels is roughly 30 years, however, degradation does occur overtime and making the panel less efficient. Once they reach the end of their lifespan, most PV panel materials can be recycled. If recycling is not an available option, the panels would be disposed of in permitted landfills in accordance with state and federal requirements.
- 4. How does the residential solar program work? How the residential solar program related to OUC’s other energy generation sources?
OUC has two residential solar programs:
- The OUCollective Solar program leverages OUC’s buying power to help lower the installation cost of rooftop solar for its residential customers. The supplier selected to assist OUC customers with their own system-owned rooftop solar is ESA Solar. Customers that participate in this program purchase a rooftop solar system directly from ESA Solar. More information is available at www.ouc.com/solar
- The OUCommunity Solar program leverages economies of scale and provides residential and commercial customers an opportunity to secure solar energy even if they don’t have a suitable room or own a home or building. It works through a monthly subscription based-program. For more information about our community solar program, please visit: www.ouc.com/solar
Customer-owned solar systems generate electricity like any of OUC’s other generation resources. However, customer-owned solar systems are “behind-the-meter” and electricity that is produced is used to first serve the customer’s load – any excess is delivered back to the electric grid.
- 5. Is the City of Orlando planning to use only solar energy for all city owned properties?
The City of Orlando’s goal requires all City-owned facilities to meet specific solar benchmarks by 2030.
- 6. There are many high-rise buildings downtown: offices, apartments, condos, etc. Are solar panels cost-effective for the roofs? Is that technology presently reasonable?
The technology is available and while the cost of rooftop solar PV can be defrayed with the current federal investment tax credit, the valuation of cost effectiveness is dependent on the building owner’s value assessment.
- 6. Does OUC provide financial incentives to retrofit roofs for solar?
OUC does not provide incentives to retrofit roofs for solar.
- 7. Can I purchase solar and have no rental fees?
Yes, similar to the decision to purchase or lease a vehicle, customers can purchase and own a solar PV system.
- 8. How is the (currently being built) solar farm going to benefit customers located in the 520 area?
All OUC customers will benefit from the lower cost clean energy produced from these solar farms.
- 1. Where is the Stanton plant? Does it include nuclear power?
The Stanton Energy Center is located in east Orange County on 3,200 acres with an approximate 2,000-acre nature preserve. Stanton Energy Center does not include nuclear power. It does generate power using a diverse mix of renewable and non-renewable resources – including solar, coal, natural gas and landfill gas.
- 2. How will Stanton transition to generating renewable energy? How will it affect employees?
The EIRP, to be released in June 2020, will outline how OUC will meet the 2050 renewable energy goals. The utility industry has been undergoing major transition as new technologies such as renewable energy production and energy storage resources become commercially available and more affordable. While these technologies do not offer a one-to-one transfer in skillsets, they do open up new career pathways that were not necessarily available previously as the managing of these grid resources becomes more complex. OUC’s leadership team is committed to training employees and is working to identify what those skill requirements are through our Workforce of the Future initiative.
- 1. Is OUC considering installing powerlines underground?
Approximately 65 percent of OUC’s electric distribution powerlines are underground. Since the early 1980s, it has been OUC’s policy to install underground utilities for new residential construction projects. For areas with existing overhead lines, OUC engineers can work with neighborhoods to determine the cost feasibility of installing underground lines. These costs are typically the responsibility of the area’s home and business owners.
- 1. What is the difference between commodity and capacity?
In regard to electricity, capacity is the amount of electricity a generation asset can produce or accommodate at one time. Commodity is the product that asset produces or the product used to create it. In OUC’s case, the term “commodity” can refer to either the electricity we produce or the fuel we utilize to produce it.
- 2. How is energy generated in Florida?
There are several generation sources in Florida, the most common include solar, nuclear, coal, natural gas, landfill gas and biomass.
- 3. Has anyone tracked the impact of ecological detriments from the coal units on wildlife?
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have oversight for these responsibilities. As a municipal utility and steward of the community, OUC is vigilant in monitoring emissions from the Stanton Energy Center to ensure it meets or exceeds federal and state standards that have been established as being protective of both human health and the environment.
- 4. Does your internal/executive team believe in climate change or believe it is a crisis?
As a municipal entity and a steward of the community, OUC and its management work to support the community as a whole. Similar to elected officials, our responsibility is to the community and not our own personal beliefs.
- 5. Where is the graveyard for old fire hydrants?
OUC does not own a graveyard. The old fire hydrants are recycled.
- 6. How does OUC partner with solid waste management?
OUC has partnered with Orange County to convert methane gas emitted from the landfill to its coal units to reduce coal consumption.
- 7. A variety of questions not specific to the Electric Integrated Resource Plan were submitted. Many answers to general questions can be found on www.OUC.com.
Below are useful links to answer a variety of questions received:
- Energy Conservation Tips: https://www.ouc.com/residential/save-energy-water-money/energy-conservation-tips
- Water Efficiency: https://www.ouc.com/residential/save-energy-water-money/water-conservation-tips
- Residential Rebates: www.OUC.com/rebates
- Solar Options: www.OUC.com/solar
- Online/In-home Energy Audits: https://www.ouc.com/residential/save-energy-water-money/online-and-in-home-energy-audits
- 2019 Community Responsibility Report: https://www.ouc.com/docs/community-documents/community_responsibility_report.pdf
- Ways to Pay Your Bill: www.OUC.com/waystopay
- Water Quality Reports: https://www.ouc.com/environment-community/high-quality-water-ouc/water-quality-reports