Separate dockets allow all parties to address primary issues

(Des Moines) – The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) today issued an order addressing overlapping issues in two pending dockets involving MidAmerican Energy Company’s (MidAmerican) electric generation resources and planning, determining that both dockets should remain open despite information that will be duplicative. Consideration of a consolidation followed an April 21, 2022 oral discussion the IUB scheduled with the parties. 

On May 13, 2021, the IUB opened Docket No. SPU-2021-0003 to evaluate and review MidAmerican’s electric generation options, environmental requirements, reliability, and economic development potential. On January 19, 2022, MidAmerican filed an application in Docket No. RPU-2022-0001, requesting approval of 11 advance ratemaking principles in support of its proposed Wind PRIME project to add up to 2,042 megawatts (MW) of new wind generation and up to 50 MW of solar generation in its fleet, at a combined cost of approximately $4 billion. Today’s decision notes that the issues in each docket will be more appropriately addressed by maintaining separate dockets and allowing each to move forward on a separate procedural schedule.

The IUB issued an order on April 4, 2022, requesting parties file proposals addressing overlapping issues in the two dockets and scheduling an oral discussion. The IUB stated that there are important issues regarding MidAmerican’s resource planning raised in both dockets and asked the parties to discuss three potential options: consolidate the two separate dockets and set one procedural schedule; stay docket SPU-2021-0003 until such time as the final order is issued in docket RPU-2022-0001 to allow the IUB to consider the overlapping issues; or proceed with both dockets simultaneously and address the overlapping issues separately in each docket.

The parties include the Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA), a division of the Iowa Department of Justice; the Environmental Law and Policy Center, the Iowa Environmental Council, and the Sierra Club (collectively, Environmental Organizations); Facebook, Inc., and Google LLC (collectively, Tech Customers); and the Iowa Business Energy Coalition (IBEC). 

IBEC, OCA, MidAmerican, the Environmental Organizations, and the Tech Customers filed responses to the April 4, 2022 order stating they intended to participate in the oral discussion. Also agreeing to participate were SSAB Enterprises, LLC (SSAB); Central Iowa Power Cooperative; Corn Belt Power Cooperative; and Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative (collectively, the Cooperatives). 

MidAmerican, SSAB, and the Cooperatives supported staying docket SPU-2021-0003 and proceeding with docket RPU-2022-0001 independently. OCA, the Environmental Organizations, IBEC, and the Tech Customers supported consolidation of both dockets.

In today’s order, the IUB determined that the dockets have overlapping factual issues; however, the dockets are open for different purposes and consolidation appears to raise procedural and other issues that could distract from the primary issues addressed in each docket. The IUB will address procedural issues and timing separately in dockets SPU-2021-0003 and RPU-2022-0001. 

The IUB issued an order setting the procedural schedule for Wind PRIME on May 6, 2022, establishing hearing dates of October 31 through November 4, 2022. Review frequently asked questions regarding the Wind PRIME docket.

Regarding Docket No. SPU-2021-0003, the IUB is reviewing outstanding issues and will address those in a future order. A scheduling conference date has not yet been established to facilitate finalization of a procedural schedule. Review the docket's frequently asked questions.