Columbus, Indiana. (Photo: A. Rodriguez Fuentes)
Columbus, Indiana. (Photo: A. Rodriguez Fuentes)

One Indiana energy service provider is ready to give up coal power.

Mike Hooper, Northern Indiana Public Service Company’s (NIPSCO) senior vice president, said his company plans to phase out five coal-fired power plants over the next nine years.

Hooper, in a recent Advanced Energy Economy webinar segment, talked about a scheduled phase-out of NIPSCO’s four Schafer plants and its Michigan City coal power plants, replace them with renewables.

“As we started to run our analysis and look at the cost of replacement, it was pretty apparent to us there was a significant amount of value for customers that could be unlocked by retiring our coal fleet early from a pure economic standpoint and drive that savings back to the customer earlier,” Hooper said.

NIPSCO Identified 2023/2028 Plant Retirement Plan As Ideal SItuation Among Eight Scenarios

His comments corresponded to a chart presented in the webinar revealing eight different scenarios for NIPSCO retiring its Schafer and Michigan City plants.

NIPSCO’s ideal coal retirement plan would shutter four Schafer plants in 2023 and its Michigan City plant in 2028, according to the chart.

“We felt (the 2023/2028 goal) had the best balance for the transition (from) coal, from an operations standpoint, an economic standpoint and a reliability standpoint,” Hooper said.

He said the transition would require significant work to upgrade transmission assets, ensuring they can provide reliability for a grid dependent on renewable energy.

In an interview with Forbes, Hooper said he believes the move could save customers around $4 billion over the next 30 years.  An inquiry to NIPSCO’s media hotline to confirm this figure was not answered at press time..

States Are Tending toward Renewable Energy at a Dizzying Pace

NIPSCO’s announcement is one among many individual energy service companies, statewide agencies or a federal departments have announced a climate-friendly energy plans based on renewables.

In a month’s time, a New York State bill calling for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 passed the House and Senate, New York City declared a climate emergency and a bill moving through Congress would require states to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

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