Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Business

August 31, 2013

Duke Energy reaches settlement on Edwardsport plant air permit

PLAINFIELD – Duke Energy has reached a settlement with the Sierra Club, Citizens Action Coalition, Save the Valley and Valley Watch over outstanding issues with the Edwardsport power plant air permits.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management issued the new plant’s air permits in 2008 and, importantly, under the settlement they remain approved with no changes. The dispute centered on technical issues surrounding the permits that enabled the company to build and operate the plant.

The settlement also addresses deadlines for retiring units at Duke Energy’s Wabash River Station in West Terre Haute. Prior to the settlement, the company had announced it planned to retire four, 1950s-vintage units totaling 350 megawatts at the station by the 2015 federal mercury rule deadline.

In the agreement, the company agrees to complete the retirements by the compliance deadline or, if the mercury rule is vacated or delayed, by June 1, 2018, whichever occurs first.

Duke Energy also had been exploring converting another unit at Wabash River Station to natural gas, and, under the settlement, the company agrees to cease burning coal at that 318-megawatt unit by June 1, 2018.

The deadline will not prevent Duke Energy from converting the unit to natural gas earlier.

“We’re glad to resolve these issues. Our new, cleaner Edwardsport plant modernizes our fleet and enables us to retire older, coal-fired generation,” said Duke Energy Indiana President Doug Esamann. “The new plant replaces the old Edwardsport units, which date back to the 1940s and 1950s and were retired in 2011. In addition, we retired two older units at our southern Indiana Gallagher plant in 2012.”

The settlement also includes a commitment to pursue additional green energy sources. The company has the option to either implement a 30-megawatt “feed-in tariff” for solar photovoltaic energy or construct/contract for 15 megawatts of wind and/or solar generation.

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