Duke Energy’s (NYSE:DUK) integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) Edwardsport Generating Station has begun commercial operation. Located in Knox County, Ind., near Vincennes, the 618-megawatt advanced technology coal gasification plant is one of the world’s cleanest coal-fired power generating facilities.
The plant uses advanced technology to gasify coal, strip out pollutants, and then burn that cleaner gas to produce electricity. The technology substantially reduces the environmental impact of burning coal to produce electric power.
“Coal has powered Indiana for more than a century,” said Duke Energy Indiana President Doug Esamann. “But today’s air quality standards require us to use that fuel in a cleaner, more efficient way. Edwardsport turns coal into a cleaner-burning fuel and enables us to continue using an abundant local resource.”
Edwardsport completed the necessary steps to be declared commercial on June 7.
As the company testified before state regulators, this is the first time the technology has been used on this scale, so the plant is expected to build up to its long-term level of availability over the next 15 months. It will provide Indiana customers with power for decades.
“Edwardsport replaces about 500 megawatts of older coal-fired generation that we recently retired or expect to retire soon due to new EPA regulations,” Esamann said. “The average age of coal-fired plants on our Indiana system is 45 years, and this facility is key to modernizing our system and filling the gap left by plant retirements.”
- Produce 10 times as much power as the former plant at Edwardsport, yet with about 70 percent fewer emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulates combined.
- Use excess steam that would normally be wasted to power a second turbine and increase plant efficiency and output.
- Reduce carbon dioxide emissions per megawatt-hour by nearly half compared to the plant it replaces.
- Generate marketable byproducts. The plant will produce sulfur and slag for agricultural and construction materials. Any revenues from marketable byproducts will go to customers.
- Use less water than a conventional coal-fired plant.
Edwardsport also has been an important job-creator during a down economy. As one of the largest construction projects ever undertaken in Indiana, about 3,500 construction workers and other professionals worked on-site during peak construction. Construction began in 2008.
The plant will employ about 140 full-time workers. In addition, the 1.7 million to 1.9 million tons of coal the plant will use each year will support an estimated 170 mining jobs.
Duke Energy Indiana’s operations provide approximately 6,900 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 790,000 customers, making it the state’s largest electric supplier.
Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States with more than $110 billion in total assets. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.2 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. Its commercial power and international business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the U.S.