CenterPoint Building Two Natural Gas Combustion Turbines, $334M

CenterPoint Building Two Natural Gas Combustion Turbines, $334M

CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CNP) announced its Indiana-based electric utility business, CenterPoint Energy Indiana South, received approval for the construction of natural gas generation from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), a key step in the company’s long-term electric generation transition plan. CenterPoint Energy intends to construct two natural gas combustion turbines (CTs) to replace portions of its existing coal-fired generation fleet. The company’s generation transition plan will significantly evolve the way the company generates power for its 150,000 customers across southwestern Indiana by combining a cleaner portfolio of renewables and complementary natural gas.

The estimated $334 million natural gas facility will provide an output of 460 megawatts (MW), sized appropriately to reliably support the anticipated electric generation needed upon the retirement of A.B. Brown units 1 and 2 in late 2023. The CTs will be constructed at the current site of the power plant in Posey County, Ind., and will assist CenterPoint Energy in delivering on its commitment to provide a cost-effective, well-balanced energy mix.

The company’s 2020 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) illustrated a preferred portfolio including nearly two-thirds of energy generated from renewable resources as well as natural gas generation, which is projected to ultimately save electric customers an estimated $320 million over the 20-year planning period. Through the IRP process, CenterPoint Energy performed significant analysis and considered public input to arrive at the most reliable and cost-effective solution for customers.

“Although the majority of the proposed generation outlined in our plan comes from renewable resources, there remains a need for reliable, resilient and fast-ramping generation to operate around-the-clock when the sun and wind are insufficient to power the renewable resources,” said Steve Greenley, Senior Vice President, Generation Development. “While the combustion turbines may not run constantly, it is very likely they will operate several hours each day in order to supplement our renewable generation with a lower carbon solution, when renewable facilities are not at peak generating levels.”

In addition, the company recently filed for securitization of its A.B. Brown assets, which was contingent on the IURC approval of the natural gas CTs and may result in up to $60 million in additional savings to customers over the same time period.

“Today’s approval will have no immediate impact on customer electric bills,” added Greenley. “The recovery of the investments associated with the CTs will be requested through a future electric rate case. When combining the savings to be realized through securitization and other bill reductions associated with the added renewable investments, the average residential customer is estimated to see a bill impact of less than $10 per month for the total generation transition.”

The replacement of most of the company’s coal-fired generation will help mitigate costs associated with compliance of ever-evolving environmental regulations and the higher operating costs of continuing to run the aging units. By replacing much of the coal-fired generation with significantly more efficient technologies like renewables, including a large percentage of universal solar, the replacement will move CenterPoint Energy significantly forward on achieving its goal of net zero on direct carbon emissions by 2035.

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