US emissions targets, as well as market conditions, could see an aging coal-fired power plant in Indianapolis converted to burn gas instead of coal.
Kelly Huntington, CEO and president of utility company, Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL), said that the company had asked the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission for approval to convert the 427 MW Harding Street complex from coal to natural gas was “the most reasonable, least-cost option” for customers.
Although the Harding Street plant was set to use coal until 2034, it will now cease to burn the black stuff in 2016, according to the Courier Journal.
The plant has come under pressure for its high emissions. In 2012, Harding Street released more than 1.6 million lbs of “toxic” pollution and accounted for about 88% of Marion County’s toxic industrial emissions, according to EPA data.
Huntington said the decision to convert the plant was primarily motivated by the need to offer customers a good deal, and was based on the impact of new US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on IPL’s monthly electricity bills. The conversion, along with closing the site’s coal ash pond, would likely add US$ 1/month more to the average IPL residential customer’s bills.
“We do listen to our stakeholders, but at the end of the day we have an obligation to evaluate these decisions in the framework set out by legislation and regulations so that it’s in the best interest of our customers,” Huntington said.
A review indicated that the plant’s cost of complying with a new EPA wastewater power-plant rule would have been about US$ 200 million, Huntington added, which would have been more than double the US$ 95 million an earlier analysis projected it would cost to comply with previously announced EPA rules.
In May, IPL won regulatory approval to convert its two other Indianapolis plants — both of which generate 106 MW — from coal to natural gas as part of a larger EPA compliance plan. The new proposal, if approved, will replace the utility’s plan to upgrade the site’s biggest plant with pollution controls by 2017.
Huntington said the changes will reduce IPL’s dependence on coal from 79% in 2007 to 44% in 2017, making natural gas the top fuel source for the utility, which also has power plants in Martinsville in south-central Indiana and Petersburg in the state’s southwestern corner.
Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/power/18082014/coal-fired-power-plants-turn-to-gas-in-us-1221/