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Duke Energy seeks less for study related to Edwardsport plant

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Duke Energy, which asked state regulators permission to have customers pay $121 million for a geological study related to a controversial generating plant under construction, now seeks one-third the amount.

Duke now seeks $42 million to cover only study costs through 2010 after learning it would not receive a federal grant to further study the suitability of deep underground rock formations for storing carbon dioxide generated by its Edwardsport power station.

Injecting deep underground the carbon dioxide produced by an electric generating plant has not been conducted on a mass scale in the United States.

In early 2009, Duke asked the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission for permission to charge customers up to $121 million to study additional locations to inject carbon after the rock beneath Edwardsport was found not as promising as first thought.

Though carbon sequestration was never factored into the coal gasification electric plant’s $2.4 billion price tag, sequestration was from the start hailed by Duke as a logical future complement to the 630-megawatt plant.

Duke’s 2009 filing with the commission anticipated asking for $42 million in the event the North Carolina-based utility failed to obtain federal funding, said Duke spokeswoman Angeline Protogere.

“While disappointed, we continue to pursue the [sequestration study] project,” she said.

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