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CenterPoint to Spend $900M for 2 NG Plants

Outside of Evansville, a southern Indiana utility plans to build two additional natural gas plants and a pipeline to transport the fuel to them. This project will benefit CenterPoint Energy, previously Vectren, in its transition to renewable energy, according to the company. It might potentially cost customers roughly $900 million over the next two decades for plants that will only be used 10% of the time.

Last year, the Texas-based company, which serves consumers in southern Indiana, applied to the state utility regulatory commission for approval of the facilities. As it retires certain coal facilities and adds more solar and wind to its mix, CenterPoint claims that this is an essential step to maintain reliable service. Despite the fact that much of CenterPoint future power generation will come from renewables, the company’s proposal for gas facilities and a pipeline has both consumer and environmental organisations concerned.

They argue that it is not economically viable, and that relying on fossil fuels such as natural gas exacerbates the climate situation. Southern Indiana, in particular, is already one of the most polluted areas in the country. Advocates argue that the plants and pipeline are not in the company’s ratepayers’ best interests, both economically and environmentally. CenterPoint application is currently being considered by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, which has heard evidence from a variety of stakeholders and is currently examining the utility’s request.

CenterPoint Energy has announced plans to retire around 700 megawatts of coal-fired power in Indiana and replace it with more than 700 megawatts of solar and 300 megawatts of wind power. In addition to renewables, the company plans to construct two additional natural gas units with a combined capacity of 460 megawatts.

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