By SARAH FENTEM
Posted September 4, 2014
Indianapolis Power and Light plans to replace its current coal-fired power plant near Martinsville with a new natural gas plant.
Photo: Bill Shaw/WTIU News
IPL and state officials break ground on the new natural gas facility near Martinsville.
Representatives from Indianapolis Power and Light broke ground this morning on a $600 million power plant near Martinsville.
The natural gas plant will replace the nearby coal-burning Eagle Valley electric plant.
Once it’s complete, IPL officials say the natural gas facility will cut carbon emissions by 50 percent. It will also reduce sulfur and nitric oxide emissions.
IPL President Kelly Huntington says new federal regulations on power plants mean updating the existing power plant would have more expensive than starting over with a new one.
“It’s not economical to continue running that plant with the environmental controls we would have to put in, so instead what we’re doing is we’re replacing it with a very modern, new, efficient natural gas plant that allows us to comply with the EPA regulations, but allows us to do it at a very affordable price,” Huntington says.
The transition to natural gas isn’t unique to IPL. Several other companies, including Duke Energy, are shutting down coal fired power
Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann was at the groundbreaking ceremony and says natural gas has become a large facet of the state’s energy plan.
“We’ve always said it’s an ‘all of the above’ energy plan in Indiana in terms of ensuring affordable, reliable energy, and right now natural gas is very affordable,” Ellspermann says.
The IPL plant is scheduled to be completed in 2017.