PRINCETON — Duke Energy's 20-year resource plan to be filed July 1 with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission proposes retiring coal-fired units at Gibson Generating Station gradually through 2038, beginning with the retirement of one of the plant's five units in 2026.
The long-range review required by the IURC every three years, must first be accepted by IURC, and is subject to change. "In this plan we are accelerating the retirement dates for some of our coal-fired units and adding more natural gas and renewable energy to our supplies. However, these are not final decisions to retire units or add new power generation to the system," Duke Energy Indiana President Stan Penigar said Friday. "As circumstances change, so may assumptions about coal retirements and power generation replacements."
Penigar and company officials met with Gibson Generating Station employees and with elected officials in Gibson and Wabash County Illinois Friday to discuss the 20-year proposal.
Gibson Generating Station, which has a 3,145 megawatts capacity, is Duke Energy's largest power plant, constructed between 1976-82. One of the five units is co-owned with Wabash Valley Power Association and Indiana Municipal Power Agency.
The proposal would first advance the retirement of the 622-megawatt Unit 4 from 2044 to 2026 (7 years remaining); advance the retirement of the 620-megawatt Unit 5 from 2047 to 2034 (15 years remaining); advance the retirement of the 630-megawatt Unit 3 from 2043 to 2034 (15 years remaining); advance the retirement of the 630-megawatt Unit 1 from 2041 to 2038 (19 years remaining) and advance the retirement of the 630-megawatt Unit 2 from 2040 to 2038 (19 years remaining).
Pinegar said Friday that while Unit 4 is the newest at Gibson Generating Station, the environmental controls on that unit are the oldest and least efficient. All five units have sulfur dioxide scrubbers.
The Gibson County power plant, located in Montgomery Township, employs between 325-335 people and paid some $4.1 million in taxes last year. Pinegar and Duke Energy Indiana Communications Lead Communication Consultant Angeline Protogere said it's too early to know how the long-range plan — if approved by the IURC — would affect employment or the local property tax base.
The plan also proposes retiring of Vermillion County's Cayuga Station in nine years, Floyd County's two coal-fired units at Gallagher Station in 2022 and the retirement of Hamilton County's Noblesville Station natural gas-fired cycle plant in 2034.
There is no change proposed for the 2045 retirement date of Knox County's Edwardsport Station coal-to-gas plant, according to the company.
Pinegar said the updated proposals are part of an ongoing look at long-range planning for power generation sources including coal, natural gas and carbon-free power such as hydro, solar and wind energy.
He noted that last year, nearly 90 percent of the power Duke Energy produced in Indiana was coal-fired. "In this plan, we are accelerating the retirement dates for some of our coal-fired units and adding more natural gas and renewable energy to our supplies," but Pinegar added, "these are not final decisions to retire units or add new power generation to the system. As circumstances change, so may assumptions about coal retirements and power generation replacements."
According to the company, Duke Energy has reduced sulfur dioxide emissions by 95 percent, nitrogen oxide emissions by 63 percent and carbon emissions by 21 percent over the past 14 years.
Duke's Edwardsport Station in Knox County, considered one of the cleanest coal-fired plans in the world, converts coal to synthesis gas. The company also built one of the state's largest solar plants in Southern Indiana and is expanding its Markland hydroelectric station to increase the output of carbon-free power.
The utility expects to add 1,240 megawatts of cleaner-burning natural gas, 700 megawatts of wind energy and 1,650 megawatts of solar power by 2037.