IPL gets green light for Harding Street, Martinsville projects

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Indianapolis Power and Light Co. received the state’s go-ahead Wednesday for two major power projects at a cost of more than $600 million.

The larger piece will be a new plant near Martinsville that will convert natural gas to electricity. IPL has estimated the plant will cost about $631 million.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission also signed off on IPL's plan to spend $36 million on converting two generators at its Harding Street plant in Indianapolis from coal-burning to natural gas-powered.

“We are pleased that the IURC approved IPL’s plans as the most cost-effective and reliable solution to replace generation that will retire as a result of increasing environmental regulations,” IPL President and CEO Kelly Huntington said in a prepared statement.

In Martinsville, IPL will retire six coal-fired units at its Eagle Valley Generating Station and replace them with a 650-megawatt combined-cycle gas turbine in effort to reduce emissions and meet federal environmental mandates.

IPL promotes the plant as a more efficient and environmentally friendly way to generate electricity for its 470,000 retail customers in the Indianapolis area. The project is supposed to create 660 construction jobs and 25 permanent ones. The plan is expected to produce $1.6 million per year in tax revenue for Morgan County.

Critics have challenged the merits of natural gas as a fuel source.

Kerwin Olson, executive director of the Citizens Action Coalition, contended in IURC filings that gas, despite some advantages over coal or nuclear power, carries concerns due to the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing.

He also pushed for moving customers away from “declining block rates,” which decrease costs for customers as their consumption increases. Reversing the system to inclining rates would reduce electricity consumption overall, he argued.

The group urged IPL to consider more wind energy, but the utility retorted that the energy source could not produce enough electricity to meet demand.

Attempts to reach Olson for comment Wednesday afternoon were unsuccessful.

A representative for the Sierra Club's Indiana Beyond Coal Campaign on Wednesday also called for more renewable energy sources.

“Our city and our state possess enormous potential for clean, renewable energy that will power our homes, create jobs, and attract investments that will benefit our communities," said representative Jodi Perras. "Instead of jumping from one expensive and unsustainable fuel to another, IPL should be investing in more wind, solar, and energy efficiency solutions that will put our city on a cleaner and stronger path."
The IURC will rule on any changes to IPL customers’ rates as a result of the projects, a spokeswoman for the state agency said. Wednesday’s ruling did not contain any specific rate projections.

The state approval follows up on a separate approval last August on $511 million in IPL upgrades to an existing plant in Petersburg, as well as another unit at Harding Street.



    Solar alone will not provide enough, consistent energy to power Indy's electrical needs. If you want to go all solar and wind then you will need to live with rolling blackouts. As far as being ripped off, nobody is stopping you from installing your own solar panels for your personal electrical needs. In addition, solar would not be "FREE" energy. What about the infrastructure to support the solar farms? Somebody would have to pay for it i.e. the consumer.
  • Simple Reason Mikey
    There's a simple reason no entity/business, other than the government, invests in solar energy, it doesn't pay for itself, especially here in Indiana. All you have to do is look at the major solar projects here locally, Army Finance Center Roof at Fort Ben and the Airport Solar Fields both subsidized by government money. Private business will usually not invest in anything without it being able to pay for itself, decent return on investment.
  • solar
    it would be nice if they started to invest in solar energy...unlimited FREE energy!!! oh wait, that will never happen bc we have to get ripped off

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    1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

    2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

    3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

    4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

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