INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis Power & Light said Wednesday it plans to build a $631 million natural gas turbine power plant in south-central Indiana as part of its push to meet tougher environmental regulations.
The Indianapolis-based utility said it hopes to begin construction next year of a combined-cycle gas turbine power station near Martinsville, pending regulatory approval.
IPL said the 650-megawatt plant will be one of the cleanest of its kind in Indiana and be powered by two natural gas-fired turbines and one steam turbine driven by waste heat from the gas turbines. The plant will replace six coal-fired power units near Martinsville the company plans to retire.
Company officials said the new plant would be an example of clean and efficient energy production and would lower environmental emissions by more than 98 percent compared with coal-powered plants.
"We considered all of our options during a very extensive and competitive evaluation process," IPL CEO Ken Zagzebski said in a prepared release. "Building a gas-powered plant is the most affordable and reliable solution for our customers."
Construction of the new adjacent to the Eagle Valley station about five miles north of Martinsville is set to begin in 2014 and be completed in 2017. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission must approve the project.
IPL said the project is expected to employ as many as 660 workers during the construction phase and about 25 once it begins operation.
Company officials said that Morgan County was one of several sites considered for the plant. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports (http://bit.ly/10TbaKV ) that the Morgan County Council approved a 10-year, 60-percent tax abatement package in October to lure IPL.
The plant will help replace power lost as IPL shuts down six existing units at the Eagle Valley Generating Station in March 2016. That station has a production capacity of 341 megawatts.
IPL also expects to retire or convert four units at its Harding Street plant on Indianapolis' southwest side. Plans are under way to convert two generating Units 5 and 6, totaling 200 megawatts, from coal-fired to natural gas to generate electricity. That project is also subject to IURC approval.
As a result of new federal air quality standards and the projects slated to create cleaner energy, IPL expects customers to see their electricity costs rise 2 to 3 percent per year through 2018.