NIPSCO looking at new energy strategy
MICHIGAN CITY — The Bailly Generating Station in Chesterton could be retired as soon as mid-2018 if NIPSCO moves forward with an electric generation strategy discussed during a public meeting on Tuesday.
This station is among four of the company’s coal-fired electric generation units that could face retirement.
“The landscape for electric generation is shifting dramatically, not just for NIPSCO but for our nation as a whole,” NIPSCO Executive Vice President Violet Sistovaris said in a news release Tuesday.
“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 (Integrated Resource Planning) process to seek input and further evaluate these assumptions while considering the interests of customers, employees and local communities.”
The Integrated Resource Planning process is conducted every two years by Indiana energy providers to outline plans for meeting the anticipated energy needs of customers over the next 20 years.
During Tuesday’s meeting, NIPSCO outlined an approach for continuing to provide cost-effective, reliable and sustainable electricity while also addressing uncertainties in the electric utility industry while developing its final IRP. This report will be submitted to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission by Nov. 1.
Although the IRP process is still ongoing, the company believes that the most viable option for customers, the company and employees involves the retirement of four of the company’s seven coal-fired generating units over the next seven years.
Under this option, NIPSCO would retire its Bailly Generating Station coal-fired units by mid-2018 and two of its R.M. Schahfer Generating Station coal-fired units by the end of 2023. The company will outline strategies through the IRP process for securing alternative electric supplies as necessary to continue to provide cost-effective and reliable service to customers.
“Our goal is to transition to the best cost, cleanest electric supply mix available while keeping options open for the future as technologies and markets change,” Sistovaris said.