The Latest on Our State’s Evolving Energy Profile

The Latest on Our State’s Evolving Energy Profile

Electricity providers in Indiana sure have been busy lately. The state’s major electric utilities all have big projects taking shape in their service territories. Each one represents a step toward conversion to renewable energy, with each company making their own commitments to cleaner generation.

We’ve gathered an overview of what the big players in Hoosier electricity have been working on.

 

NIPSCO

Early in the year, NIPSCO announced it would be retiring two coal-fired units at the R.M. Schahfer Generating Station in Wheatfield by the end of 2021. This represents about half of the facility’s generating capacity. NIPSCO’s goal is to become completely coal-free by 2028.

Throughout the state currently, NIPSCO has a whole bunch of energy projects underway. In Sullivan County, the company signed a build transfer agreement with Invenergy, a developer and operator, to build the new 250-megawatt (MW) Fairbanks Solar project. The facility is expected to begin commercial operations by 2023.

NIPSCO has another such agreement with Capital Dynamics, a private asset management firm, with the Elliot Solar project in Gibson County. This project is also expected to begin operations in 2023 and will be a 200-MW facility.

Additionally, NIPSCO is working with EDP Renewables, a developer, to build two new renewable energy projects. One will be the 204-MW Indiana Crossroads II Wind Farm and the other will be the 200-MW Indiana Crossroads Solar Park. Both will be in White County. The wind farm should be operational in 2023 and the solar park in 2022.

 

CenterPoint Energy (Vectren)

CenterPoint Energy, which merged with Southwestern Indiana’s Vectren a few years ago, is planning to enter into an agreement with Capital Dynamics to build a 300-MW solar project in Posey County. Additionally, CenterPoint Energy is also planning to purchase additional solar power from Clēnera, which is developing a 100-MW solar project in Southwestern Indiana.

Both new projects are scheduled to be in service in 2023. Together, they have the potential to meet the power needs of about 68,500 homes and will support large customers as well. CenterPoint’s goal is to reduce operational emissions by 70% by 2035.

 

Indiana Michigan Power

The University of Notre Dame is now purchasing about 40% of the power generated by the recently completed St. Joseph Solar Farm built by Indiana Michigan Power. Located in in St. Joseph County, the new solar farm began operations this year. The location is Indiana Michigan Power’s fifth and largest solar facility, generating 20 MW of energy.

The farm features 57,720 solar panels that track the sun from east to west with other optimizing features to boost generation. Company officials said the facility now serves as a flagship for sought-after green technology and growth in the Michiana area.

Indiana Michigan Power’s goal is to reduce its carbon footprint by 70% by 2030.

 

AES Indiana (Indianapolis Power and Light)

AES Indiana, which was formerly Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL), announced an agreement to acquire a 195-MW solar project located in Clinton County. The project is being developed by Invenergy and will create 200 temporary construction jobs and other local economic benefits. Construction on the project is expected to begin in the fall of 2021 and reach commercial operation in 2023.

AES Indiana plans to retire 630 MW of conventional generation by 2023 and transition to cleaner, more affordable resources.

 

Duke Energy Indiana

Duke Energy Renewables Solar LLC, which is a division of multi-state utility provider Duke Energy, is planning to build a $180 million solar farm in the western part of the state. The project is called the Hoosier Jack Solar farm and it is planned to have a 175-MW capacity.

Preliminary designs call for the farm to be located on 1,500 acres that was ironically a former coal strip mine. The project will sit in two counties – the southern part of Vigo County and northern part of Sullivan County. Construction could begin in 2023 and operation could start in 2024.

Duke Energy is working toward net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

 

Not Slowing Down

It’s clear that Hoosier utility providers are not slowing down in their march toward greater electric sustainability. Looking at all of this activity from a purely business perspective, this transformative time in electricity generation is likely going to create a lot of positives for Indiana. We’re going to be seeing new jobs, big investments, and hopefully cost reductions for end users. All that will definitely add a spark to our economy.

 

 


Powerful Context

  • 1 MW of solar power is enough to power about 164 average U.S. homes.
  • A 1.5-MW wind turbine is enough to power about 332 average homes.

Source: SEIA, Lewis and Clark Law School, National Wind Watch