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Troubled Indiana gasification plant begins operation

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A new coal-gasification power plant in southern Indiana that's been hounded by cost overruns and ethical scandals has started commercial operation, Duke Energy said Monday.

Duke Energy said that its $3.5 billion, high-tech 618-megawatt plant near Vincennes will produce 10 times as much power as a former plant but emit about 70 percent less pollution, The Indianapolis Star reported.

While Duke boasts the plant is one of the largest, cleanest coal-fired power generating facilities in the world, the project has drawn strong criticism as its price tag ballooned from its original 2007 cost estimate of $1.9 billion.

It has also been the focus of an ethical flap after company officials and regulators were found to be discussing the cost overruns in secret meetings, prompting several firings and resignations. Then-Gov. Mitch Daniels fired the state utility commission's chairman amid the fallout.

"Coal has powered Indiana for more than a century," said Duke Energy Indiana President Doug Esamann. "But today's air quality standards require us to use that fuel in a cleaner, more efficient way. Edwardsport turns coal into a cleaner-burning fuel and enables us to continue using an abundant local resource."

The plant is expected to build up to its long-term level of production over the next 15 months. It is expected to employ about 140 full-time workers. About 3,500 workers took part in the plant's construction.

Duke's 790,000 Indiana electricity consumers are expected to see an increase in their monthly bills of 14 percent to 16 percent by early next year, 9 percent of which has already occurred.

Duke is Indiana's largest electric utility, operating in 69 of the state's 92 counties. Duke has 4 million electric customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, along with 500,000 natural gas customers in Ohio and Kentucky.

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  1. I think the poster was being sarcastic and only posting or making fun of what is usually posted on here about anything being built in BR or d'town for that matter.

  2. Great news IRL fans: TURBO the IMS sanctioned movie about slugs running the Indy 500 has caught the Securities and Exchange Commission because Dreamworks had to take a $132MILLION write down...because the movie was such a flop. See, the Indy/IMS magic soiled another pair of drawers. Bwahahahahahaha! How's CARTOWN doing? HAHAHAHA...Indy is for losers.

  3. So disappointed in WIBC. This is the last straw to lose a good local morning program. I used to be able to rely on WIBC to give me good local information, news, weather and traffic on my 45 minute commute.Two incidents when I needed local, accurate information regarding severe weather were the first signs I could not now rely on WIBC. I work weekend 12 hour nights for a downtown hospital. This past winter when we had the worst snowfall in my 50 years of life, I came home on a Sunday morning, went to sleep (because I was to go back in Sunday night for another 12 hour shift), and woke up around 1 p.m. to a house with no electricity. I keep an old battery powered radio around and turned on WIBC to see what was going on with the winter storm and the roads and the power outage. Sigh. Only policital stuff. Not even a break in to update on the winter storm warning. The second weather incident occurred when I was driving home during a severe thunderstorm a few months ago. I had already gotten a call from my husband that a tornado warning was just southwest of where I had been. I turned to WIBC to find out what direction the storm was headed so I could figure out a route home, only to find Rush on the air, and again, no breaking away from this stupidity to give me information. Thank God for my phone, which gave me the warning that I was driving in an area where a tornado was seen. Thanks for nothing WIBC. Good luck to you, Steve! We need more of you and not the politics of hatred that WIBC wants to shove at us. Good thing I have Satellite radio.

  4. I read the retail roundup article and tried Burritos and Beers tonight. I'm glad I did, for the food was great. Fresh authentic Mexican food. Great seasoning on the carne asada. A must try!!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

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