Northern Indiana Public Service Company LLC (NIPSCO), a subsidiary of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI), Thursday announced its refined plans for the future of its electric generation portfolio as part of the 2021 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) public advisory process.
The company identified a Preferred Energy Resource Plan that refines the timeline to retire the Michigan City Generating Station to occur between 2026 and 2028. The Plan calls for the replacement of the retiring units with a diverse portfolio of resources including Demand Side Management resources, incremental solar, stand-alone energy storage and upgrades to existing facilities at the Sugar Creek Generating Station, among other steps. Additionally, the plan calls for a natural gas peaking unit to replace existing vintage gas peaking units at the R.M. Schahfer Generating Station to support system reliability and resiliency, as well as upgrades to the transmission system to enhance its electric generation transition.
Importantly, this plan does not alter NIPSCO’s previously stated goal of a 90 percent reduction in carbon emissions (from a 2005 baseline) by 2030.
“We’re on an industry-leading path to shift toward lower-cost and reliable forms of energy for our customers,” said Mike Hooper, NIPSCO president. “As we continue this journey, we recognize the importance of maintaining a diverse energy portfolio that enables flexibility to adapt to evolving market rules, policy and technology advancements, while providing additional time for continued research and refinement of our long-term energy strategy. Meanwhile, careful consideration for how this transition affects our workforce and local communities is a critical focus area as the plan continues to move forward.”
NIPSCO outlined the options considered for its long-term electric generation plans at a public meeting today with customers, consumer representatives, environmental organizations, regulators and other stakeholders taking part in the company’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) – a regulatory process used in Indiana and other states to thoroughly evaluate and outline how electric utilities plan to serve customers’ energy needs in the future.
NIPSCO considered a full spectrum of future scenarios as part of its analysis. Included was a request for proposals (RFP) solicitation that provided concrete data across a variety of technologies and understanding around the landscape of actionable projects to help inform the IRP process.
Consistent with previous analyses, early retirement of coal units is still cost effective for customers and NIPSCO has refined the retirement timing of Michigan City Generating Station unit 12 to occur between 2026 and 2028. The remaining coal units at the R.M. Schahfer Generating Station are on track to retire by 2023 as previously announced. NIPSCO operates two vintage gas peaking units – Units 16A and 16B – at the Schahfer Generating Station which were also announced to retire between 2025 and 2028.
NIPSCO plans to continue incorporating the already announced wind, solar and solar plus storage replacement resources for the scheduled 2023 retirement of the Schahfer coal generation.*
Additionally, the company may pursue potential hydrogen pilots and other emerging storage technologies identified as potential pathways toward further Decarbonization of the generation portfolio in the long term.
With enhancing reliability of the system a top priority. The Preferred Plan has identified a number of transmission upgrades to be completed in advance of the retirement of the Michigan City Generating Station. Work on those projects will begin in 2022 to align with the refined retirement timing.
During today’s public meeting, NIPSCO leaders stressed the importance of stakeholder feedback in the IRP process. The company has been – and will continue – working with stakeholders and regulators to solicit input as NIPSCO finalizes the plans prior to submitting to the IURC by Nov. 15, 2021.
Current Project Profile List
NIPSCO continues to make progress on its 14 previously announced renewable energy projects* including wind, solar and solar plus battery resources, which are all expected to be completed between now and the end of 2023.
These projects were selected following a comprehensive review of bids submitted through the allsource RFP process that NIPSCO conducted in 2018 and again in late 2019 – which continues to affirm the conclusions of the 2018 NIPSCO IRP, that wind and solar resources were shown to be lower-cost options for customers compared to today’s energy mix. Projects are listed with estimated in-service dates.
· Rosewater Wind Farm – 102 MW of wind, located in White County, Ind. (Complete)
· Jordan Creek Wind – 400 MW of wind, located in Benton and Warren counties, Ind. (Complete)
· Indiana Crossroads I Wind – 300 MW of wind, located in White County, Ind. (2021)
· Dunns Bridge Solar I – 265 MW of solar, located in Jasper County, Ind. (2022)
· Indiana Crossroads Solar – 200 MW of solar, located in White County, Ind. (2022)
· Brickyard Solar – 200 MW of solar, located in Boone County, Ind. (2022)
· Greensboro Solar – 100 MW of solar and 30 MW of battery storage, located in Henry County, Ind. (2022)
· Green River Solar – 200 MW of solar, located in Breckinridge and Meade counties, Ky. (2023)
· Dunns Bridge Solar II – 435 MW of solar and 75 MW of battery storage, located in Jasper County, Ind. (2023)
· Cavalry Solar – 200 MW of solar and 60 MW of battery storage, located in White County, Ind. (2023)
· Gibson Solar – 280 MW of solar, located in Gibson County, Ind. (2023)
· Fairbanks Solar – 250 MW of solar, located in Sullivan County, Ind. (2023)
· Indiana Crossroads II Wind – 204 MW of wind, located in White County, Ind. (2023)
· Elliot Solar – 200 MW of solar, located in Gibson County, Ind. (2023)
These projects have been approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC). NIPSCO has invested in these projects through a variety of commercial agreements including joint ventures and power purchase agreements that take full advantage of federal tax credits to our customers benefit.
Today’s announcement is part of the company’s customer-centric “Your Energy, Your Future” initiative, which includes the generation transition plan at NIPSCO. Learn about NIPSCO’s “Your Energy, Your Future” plans and the latest information at NIPSCO.com/future. More information about NIPSCO’s electric supply strategies and the IRP process can be found at NIPSCO.com/IRP.