Indianapolis Power & Light Co. says it has burned coal at its Harding Street plant for the last time. The plant, which has predominantly burned coal since it opened in 1931, is converting to natural gas.
The conversion for Unit 7 at the Harding Street plant cost about $70 million, following approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. The project is expected to be complete in April.
"It’s historic in the sense that, as the market is changing and regulations and environmental laws are changing, there’s a requirement to reduce emissions and therefore, gas and/or renewables are becoming more economical and, obviously, more environmentally-friendly," said Kris Larson, plant manager at the Harding Street Station.
IPL says the conversion project will make natural gas its largest source of capacity. When the project was announced in 2014, IPL said it would reduce the company’s dependence on coal from 79 percent in 2007 to 44 percent in 2017.
The company is also adding advanced battery-based energy storage to its fleet, which will increase efficiency.
"Today is a day to celebrate cleaner air in Indianapolis and the ability of our community to come together to build a better future for our children and grandchildren," said City-County Council Vice President Zach Adamson. "I want to thank Indianapolis Power & Light for moving so quickly to convert the Harding Street power plant from coal to natural gas, a transition that’s happened in less than two years, with no worker layoffs, at minimal cost to consumers. I also encourage them to continue to diversify to cleaner, affordable forms of energy such as wind and solar, and to continue to develop greater efficiency and battery storage capacity, and to ensure the Harding Street coal ash ponds are closed in a safe and secure manner."
You can view the video below to learn more about the conversion project from Larson: