IBJNews

IPL moves to drop coal from Harding Street power plant

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indianapolis' electricity utility plans to convert its aging Harding Street power plant entirely to natural gas by 2016, after facing growing pressure to do so from environmental groups and politicians.

Indianapolis Power & Light Co. said Friday that it soon would file plans with state regulators to convert the Harding Street plant's coal-fired Unit 7 generator to natural gas.

In May, IPL received approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to convert the plant’s two other coal-powered units to natural gas. Unit 7, the largest boiler, was expected to keep burning coal until at least 2034.

The move will add about $1 to the average customer’s monthly bill, an IPL spokewoman told IBJ. The utility serves more than 470,000 customers in Marion and surrounding counties.

CEO Kelly Huntington told the Associated Press that the switch was the “least cost option” for the utility in light of new federal environmental regulations.

“IPL has a commitment to provide affordable electricity, and converting Harding Street Unit 7 to natural gas is the best plan for our customers because it is the reasonable, least cost option,” Huntington said in prepared comments. “Compliance with current and future EPA standards will continue to increase the cost of electricity for our customers.”

As a result of converting Unit 7 to natural gas, the Harding Street coal pile and ash ponds will be closed, IPL said.

Local environmental and citizens advocacy groups hailed the decision after making public demands that IPL cease burning coal at the Harding Street plant on the city’s southwest side.

“We applaud IPL for recognizing the costs and risks that would have accompanied the continued use of dirty coal at Harding Street,” said Kerwin Olson, Executive Director of Citizens Action Coalition. “Ending the use of coal not only benefits the health and environment of our community, but will go a long way in protecting the pocketbooks of ratepayers.”

Environmental groups have quoted EPA statistics saying that Harding Street’s coal-fired operations were responsible for 88 percent of the toxic industrial pollution released in 2012 in Marion County.

In July, City-County Councilors Zach Adamson and Wlliam “Duke” Oliver introduced a resolution calling on IPL to work with the council and the Indianapolis Office of Sustainability to shift away from coal.

Jodi Perras of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign says more than 55 local groups passed resolutions urging IPL to retire the plant that's long been Indianapolis' biggest industrial polluter.

She says "today, those calls have been answered." But Perras says the Sierra Club and other groups will now focus on ensuring coal ash around the plant is cleaned up.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Misinformed
    I read a post from another misinformed person that probably sees a large plume coming out of a stack and assumes it is smoke. It is steam from a very expensive scrubber system that removes 97% of the sulphur. I feel sorry for people who don't understand the power industry and the huge benefits of this natural resource
  • Not Smart
    Customers do not understand the costs! Coal has been priced out of the market by the regulations. Sierra Club received a 26 million dollar donation from one of the US largest gas drillers. It's too late now. IPL has to follow the new laws passed illegally through executive orders. EPA are not supposed to create laws. They were put in place to enforce them. It's all political! Don't be fooled!
  • "at the mercy of the 'man'"
    Believe what you wish. I believe: Anytime you give money for a product you are at the mercy of the man. The man, either a small business or a large corp. They are all "the man". Coal, Natural Gas, Gasoline, oil and your daily bar of soap. You are at the mercy of the man. If you don't like the product or the price. Make it yourself or get it from another source.
  • Evidence
    http://noharm.org/lib/downloads/climate/Coal_Literature_Review_2.pdf
  • I'm outraged
    How dare they stop burning coal and convert to burning a cleaner energy source? This is terrible! If we didn't want to live with coal being burned in our city, we'd move somewhere else. Right, everyone?
  • Environmental groups
    This article is reporting that IPL made this decision based on pressure from environmental groups and politicians. I think we all know better and shame on the IBJ for not reporting any other side. If I remember correctly, the politician's plan was solely to conserve more energy and we all know this isn't workable. If it was up to the Sierra Club, we would somehow magically have enough wind to power the entire state. I think this article is so one-sided it is laughable.
  • facts and perpsective, please?
    Scott, when your 90 year roof was built more than half of Indianapolis actually burned coal in their home furnaces to stay warm and alive, and many of the downtown buildings still burned coal back then, without it Indy wouldn't be what it is today. Even the Perry K steam plant downtown burned coal until +-10 years ago. This is a progression of change, and should not be an idealistic indictment of power companies. Unfortunately Indyman is probably right, watch now as we all move to gas and we are more or less at the mercy of the 'man', or even worse a couple of pipeline breaks or terrorist acts, and 87% of have no heat.
    • Or........
      you could just reduce waste and over-use of our resources and the cost would be at or below your current rate.....
    • How about some facts, please?
      Lee, Before you go spewing some soot of your own about how breathing the air around this plant is "equivalent to smoking 2 packs of cigarettes per day", I would appreciate seeing some supporting documentation from an independent lab and not one funded by 'envirosocialists.' As for the rest of you lauding the announcement, mark this day as the day you approved a significant increase in your electricity rates. It may be a dollar a month now, but with so many plants changing over, the natural gas industry will soon have us over a barrel and set the rate at whatever they please and rest assured it won't be less than they are charging now. It looks like it is time for responsible citizens to form a coalition to fight against environmentalist organizations like Citizens Action Coalition and the Sierra Club before they spend us into bankruptcy.
      • pollution, lung cancer
        One has to only pass by the exits in that part of town to realize that people living and working there are breathing a sea of toxic pollutants such as sulphur and others. Wouldn't want to work at any of the trucking companies or other companies at those exits. The combination of pollutants in the air and water from the plant as well as traffic pollution are probably equivalent to smoking 2 packs of cigarettes per day. Anyone running a trucking company right off those exits is putting their employees at risk of breathing and lung issues, even working in offices and warehouses.
        • Hurrah.
          I once replaced a 90-year-old cedar shake roof on a house on Indy's north side. Perhaps the most amazing part was the sheer amount of coal dust and ash locked into it. The house literally groaned with relief of all its weight.
        • $1 is a small price to pay until the price of Nat Gas goes up. If everyone is switching to it, the supply will drop and the price will rise. If there is a disruption in pipelines, especially in the winter, it could get ugly. Take what happened last winter with propane and multiply it many times over. 44% of homes heat with gas, 43% heat with electricity. If we get a shortage, that means 87% of homes will have trouble being heated.
        • $1
          $1 a month is a small price to pay to breath clean air! Thank you to all those that stood up and pushed IPL to do this.

        Post a comment to this story

        COMMENTS POLICY
        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
        ADVERTISEMENT

        facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

        Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
        Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
         
        Subscribe to IBJ
        1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

        2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

        3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

        4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

        5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!

        ADVERTISEMENT