Coal-fired units may shut down at Duke Energy plant

Two of the four coal-fired generating units at Duke Energy’s 560 MW Gallagher plant in Indiana may shut down, instead of being converted to natural gas, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

The utility was expected to spend $85 million to repower units 1 and 3 with natural gas. It reportedly decided instead to buy an interest in the 640 MW Vermillion natural gas-fired power plant. Duke currently owns a 75 percent interest in each of the eight turbines.

As a result, Duke said it could retire units 1 and 3 and cut the plant’s output from 560 MW to 280 MW.

The conversion was part of a December 2009 settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce power plant emissions. Duke had to pay a $93 million penalty along with a civil penalty and take on environmental mitigation projects. The settlement also required Duke to install pollution control equipment for sulfur dioxide emissions on units 2 and 4.

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