Edwardsport plant rebounds in March after flat February

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Duke Energy Indiana’s controversial Edwardsport power plant produced almost no electricity in February due to repairs and maintenance, before rebounding in March, the utility said Monday.

The $3.5 billion coal-to-gas power plant generated 1,125 megawatt hours of power in February, or 0.3 percent of its maximum capacity, company officials reported in a monthly filing with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

The extended pause in power production was rooted in mechanical issues that also caused meager output in January. That sparked deeper scrutiny from the state’s agency for utility consumers, as well as outside consumer groups.

With machinery down in February, Duke decided to bump up a maintenance shutdown scheduled for March. The work kept Edwardsport offline for most of the month, Duke spokeswoman Angeline Protogere said.

“In February, when we realized we needed to make equipment repairs and we were close to the spring [maintenance] outage, we decided to go ahead and take the spring outage early,” Protogere said. Doing so was more efficient than restarting the plant before shutting it down again a few weeks later.

Edwardsport’s production returned in March to 230,000 megawatt hours, according to preliminary figures the company provided to IBJ. About 80 percent of the electricity came from synthetic gas, with traditional natural gas making up the remaining 20 percent, Protogere said.

March’s production was about 50 percent of the plant’s capacity, which is more in line with where Duke says the plant should be as it ramps up to full production.

Duke declared Edwardsport commercially operational in June. Its strategy is to gradually step up production over 15 months, officials said.

Longtime project critic Kerwin Olson, executive director of Citizens Action Coalition, said he was “not at all” won over by the improved production numbers in March.

“This is something that was supposed to be operational in October 2011,” said Olson, whose organization lobbies on behalf of ratepayers in utility matters.

He referred to Duke customers as “involuntary investors” because they have to cover $2.6 billion of the project's cost through rate increases.

The costs have resulted in 14-percent rate increases since 2009, with another 2 percent to come.


  • Except natural gas prices . .
    Except for natural gas prices (fallen by 50% during this time frame)and coal prices (flat). The ratepayer costs for power would have gone down during this period except for the Edwardsport disaster.
  • Costs
    "The costs have resulted in 14-percent rate increases since 2009, with another 2 percent to come." So, annualized, we're talking about rates going up roughly by the rate of inflation each year. Not trying to discredit the pain felt by ratepayers, but this fact should be kept in mind. Most other things in life have increased in price over that same period of time.
    • Thanks Duke!
      Good thing we didn't need electricity at all during the winter months!

    Post a comment to this story

    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
    Subscribe to IBJ