IPL Wants To End Coal Burning At Harding Street Plant
Will ask state utility regulators for approval to phase out coal by 2016
Aug. 15, 2014
Indianapolis Power and Light will ask the state to allow it to eventually stop burning coal at its Harding Street Power Plant.
IPL already had approval to convert two of it's seven power generation units at Harding Street from coal to natural gas. Now, it is seeking approval to make the conversion to unit seven, the last at the plant to burn coal. "For the last two years, IPL has been doing ongoing analysis and looking at how we are going to be able to meet new EPA requirements for wastewater treatment," said Brandi Davis-Handy, spokeswoman for IPL, adding that talk of ending the burning of coal at Harding Street began long before the EPA's proposed new rules on emissions from power plants that rely on coal.
The plan will be filed with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission next month. If it is approved, IPL will phase out the burning of coal by 2016, relying on natural gas, solar and wind to generate electricity. Davis-Handy says the plan is expected to raise the typical power bill for IPL customers by about a dollar a month.
Earlier this week, environmental groups sent a letter to the Marion County Health Department asking it to force IPL to test ground water near the Harding Street plant for coal ash contamination. Davis-Handy says it is a coincidence that their plan to end the use of coal came after the letter was sent. "The Sierra Club and a number of groups have been very vocal in wanting IPL to stop burning of coal at Harding Street, but that's not what's behind today's announcement." Davis-Handy says IPL will close the eight lagoons that hold the leftover coal ash once the conversion to natural gas is complete.
IPL will continue to burn coal at its plant in Petersburg in Pike County, as Davis-Handy says converting those generation plants to another power source would be too costly for customers right now.