By - Jim Vess

Duke Energy Indiana looks to close 4,100 MW of coal-fired plants, adding natural gas and solar

Energize Weekly, July 3, 2019

Duke Energy Indiana has proposed 20-year plan under which it move up the retirement of more than 4,100 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired plants and make major investments in natural gas-fired and renewable generation.

Duke laid out its “roadmap” in its integrated resource plan filed with Indiana regulators June 20. It immediately drew criticism from environmental groups for dragging out the coal-plant closure and still relying heavily on burning natural gas.

“It’s as if Duke Energy Indiana lives on another planet – but here on Earth, climate change is impacting our communities,” the Sierra Club said in a statement.

The two units of the Cayuga Station Vermillion County, with a total of 995 MW, would close in 2028, seven to 10 years earlier than previously planned. Two units at the 280-MW Gallagher Station will shut down in 2020 as previously planned.

Closure of the Noblesville 300-MW combined-cycle natural gas plant would be moved up four years to 2034.

Duke said it will replace the Cayuga generation with a 1,240-MW combined-cycle natural gas plant, according to company overview of the plan. The company also projects adding 700 MW of wind power, 1,650 MW of solar generation and another 1,240 MW of natural gas.

A significant number of the coal plant shutdowns, even with new closure dates, will wait for as long as 19 years.

At the massive, 3,132-MW Gibson Station, the 622-MW Unit 4 would close in 2026, seven years ahead of earlier plans, and another 1,250 MW would close in 2034, but 1,260 MW of capacity will not be closed until 2038 – just two years earlier than previously planned.

Since 2005, Duke has decreased its carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent, its sulfur dioxide emissions by 95 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 63 percent, the company said.

“Duke is proposing small amounts of solar and wind, very little efficiency, and no energy storage. Sierra Club calls on Duke to reconsider this plan and propose an actual transition to clean energy,” the group said.

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