CenterPoint Energy announced the filing of an application with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) requesting approval to construct two natural gas combustion turbines to replace portions of its existing coal-fired generation fleet. The filing comes as the next component in CenterPoint Energy's long-term generation transition plan, which seeks to significantly change the way the company generates power and deliver on its commitment to provide a cost-effective, well-balanced energy mix for its 145,000 customers in southwest Indiana.
The estimated $323 million turbine facility would be constructed at the current site of A.B. Brown power plant in Posey County, Ind. and will provide a combined output of 460 megawatts (MW), sized appropriately to support the anticipated electric generation needed upon the proposed retirement of A.B. Brown units 1 and 2 in late 2023. Construction of the turbines will begin following receipt of approval by the IURC, anticipated in the second half of 2022. The turbines are targeted to be operational in 2024.
In June 2020, CenterPoint Energy presented the results from its most recent Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) which illustrated a preferred portfolio including nearly two-thirds of energy generated from renewable resources that is expected to lower carbon emissions by nearly 75% from 2005 levels. The preferred portfolio seeks to maintain continued reliability, while saving electric customers an estimated $320 million over the 20-year planning period.
"The construction of the natural gas generation turbines is the next step in CenterPoint Energy's long-term plan to deliver on the commitment to introduce significant renewables and natural gas into our portfolio as outlined in our 2020 Integrated Resource Plan," said Steve Greenley, Senior Vice President of Generation Development. "The retirement of our smaller, inefficient coal units and adding the natural gas combustion turbines will continue to reduce our emissions and maintain our focus on the environment while providing our customers a cost-effective option for delivering safe and reliable energy."
As part of its generation transition plan, CenterPoint Energy added 50 MW of universal solar in Troy, Ind., which is now in service and joins its two 2-MW solar projects in Vanderburgh County. In February, CenterPoint Energy filed a request to enter into agreements on the acquisition of a 300 MW solar array and a power purchase agreement (PPA) for an additional 100 MWs of solar energy.
Today's filing will have no immediate impacts on residential electric bills. Following approval by the IURC, cost recovery of the proposed natural gas generation turbines will be requested through an electric rate review process expected in 2023.
Greenley added, "CenterPoint Energy's long-term generation portfolio transition will meet growing demand to provide cleaner energy for our region while maintaining the reliability our customers deserve and have come to expect."
CenterPoint Energy delivers electricity to approximately 145,000 customers in southwest Indiana in all or portions of Gibson, Dubois, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh and Warrick counties. Programs and services are operated under the brand CenterPoint Energy by Southern Indiana Gas and Electric Company d/b/a CenterPoint Energy Indiana South.