IPL to build 650 MW combined-cycle gas turbine power station

Source:Indianapolis Power & Light Co.

Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL) has announced plans to power the future needs of its customers by constructing one of the cleanest, most efficient thermal power plants ever to be built in Indiana.  IPL filed its request with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to invest $631 million into a new combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power station near Martinsville.

“We considered all of our options during a very extensive and competitive evaluation process,” said IPL CEO Ken Zagzebski. “Building a gas powered plant is the most affordable and reliable solution for our customers and complements our generation portfolio that includes coal, gas, wind, solar and oil.”

IPL plans to retire six existing units at the Eagle Valley Generating Station and retire or refuel four at Harding Street Generating Station, with a combined total of 600 megawatts (MW) or 18% of the Company’s generation capacity.  The new natural gas plant will generate about 650 megawatts of electricity more efficiently and with fewer environmental emissions.  The CCGT will reduce the rate of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter emissions by more than 98%.  Virtually all mercury, lead and fluoride emissions will be eliminated, and water use will be reduced by 97%.

Plans are also underway to convert Harding Street Generating Units 5 and 6, totaling 200 MW, from burning coal to utilizing natural gas to create electricity. This project is also subject to IURC approval.

“These replacement generation projects are a significant investment that is necessary in order to meet future electricity needs,” said Zagzebski.  As a result of the new Mercury and Air Toxic Standards set by the EPA, IPL estimates customers could see costs of electricity increases of 2-3 percent, on average, per year through 2018.  IPL continues to offer a wide variety of programs to help customers manage their electric bills by using energy more wisely. 

The plant will be located in Morgan County at IPL’s Eagle Valley Generating Station, five miles north of Martinsville.  Building the power plant in Martinsville provides a number of benefits to the community, including 660 construction jobs and 25 permanent positions at the new plant. The project will bring more than $1.6 million per year into Morgan County through local tax revenue.  The overall economic benefit to the state during construction is more than $857  million and another $48 million per year during operation.

“This project is a win-win because it is not only good for customers of IPL, but will also help power the economy in Morgan County,” said Joy McCarthy Sessing, Executive Director of the Morgan County Economic Development Corporation.  “The construction and operation of the plant will generate tax revenue and construction workers will sleep in our hotels and dine in our restaurants, among other things.”

A CCGT combines two natural gas-fired turbines and one steam turbine to maximize efficiencies. The gas turbine generates electricity directly, and the system harnesses waste heat to create steam, which powers a steam turbine.  The CCGT will become part of IPL’s diverse power generation portfolio, including natural gas, coal, oil, wind and solar.

In 2007, IPL’s generation resources included 86% coming from coal and oil.  By 2017, natural gas, wind and solar could account for nearly 44% of the IPL generation portfolio if all current proposals are approved by the IURC.

Construction is scheduled to begin on the CCGT in 2014 with a completion date in 2017.  IPL has experience building new generating plants, the most recent being gas turbine units at Harding Street and Georgetown Stations.  AES, the parent company of IPL, has built more than 8,200 MW of modern CCGT power plants around the world.  These 14 plants range in size from 300 to 1,200 MW and are similar to the units being proposed at Eagle Valley.

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