Merrillville-based Northern Indiana Public Service Co. says it is considering closing four coal-fired electric generation units at two power plants. The utility says while no final decision has been made, costs to continue operating all of its coal-fired units could be approximately $1 billion over seven years.
NIPSCO says it is looking at its electric generation strategy as part of the Integrated Resource Planning process, which is conducted every two years by energy providers throughout the state. The utility says the plan is to come up with a cost-effective strategy that provides ongoing work opportunities for any affected employees.
"The landscape for electric generation is shifting dramatically, not just for NIPSCO but for our nation as a whole," Violet Sistovaris, executive vice president of NIPSCO. "In particular, companies with aging coal-fired units are facing intense economic and environmental regulatory pressures that are driving important decisions today about how to meet the customer needs of tomorrow. Given these factors, we believe it may be in our customers’ best interests to retire some of NIPSCO’s coal-fired generation units, and we will continue working closely with stakeholders via the IRP process to seek input and further evaluate these assumptions while considering the interests of customers, employees and local communities."
NIPSCO says it believes the most viable option would be to retire four of its seven coal-fired generating units over the next seven years. If this option was approved, the utility would retire the coal-fired units at its Bailly Generating Station in Chesterton as early as mid-2018 and two of its R.M. Schahfer Generating Station units in Wheatfield by the end of 2023.
The utility says it will submit its final IRP to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission by November 1.