1. Why does IPL need replacement generation?
IPL has retired or refueled six oil-fired and seven coal-fired units in recent years. These changes were driven by federal regulations, an aging fleet, and the increasing cost-competitiveness of natural gas.
After an extensive and competitive evaluation process, IPL filed its request with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to invest more than $600 million into a new combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) natural gas plant near Martinsville, Indiana. Approved by the IURC on May 14, 2014, the new natural gas plant will generate 671 megawatts of electricity more efficiently and with fewer environmental emissions.
Additionally, in the IURC approved IPL's request to convert Harding Street Generating Units 5,6 and 7 totaling 620 MW, from burning coal to utilizing natural gas to create electricity. The cost of these conversions was just over $100 million.
2. Where will the plant be located?
The plant is located in Morgan County at IPL’s Eagle Valley Generating Station, five miles north of Martinsville. Building the power plant in Martinsville provides a number of benefits to the community, including an almost 1,000 construction jobs and 33 permanent positions at the new plant. The project is anticipated to bring more than $1.6 million per year into Morgan County through local tax revenue. The overall economic benefit to the state during construction is expected to be more than $851 million and another $48 million per year during operation.
3. Why did IPL choose Morgan County?
IPL has been an active presence in Morgan County for nearly sixty years and has strong local support for the continued use of the site for power generation. This is reflected in the fact that the Morgan County Board approved a 10-year tax abatement if the proposed Eagle Valley CCGT is built.
The Eagle Valley site has water, land and transmission, as well as good access into the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) market and close proximity to IPL customers. Additionally, the site has access to interstate and intrastate natural-gas pipelines within a 14-mile radius.
4. Why a CCGT Plant versus other alternatives?
Electricity produced by a base-load CCGT generating plant will be more efficient, environmentally cleaner and offered at less cost to our customers than any other new thermal energy options available in Indiana today. Base-load generation is what most people rely on as continuously available sources of electricity. While every type of fuel energy has its place, base-load generation must consist of fuel that is immediately available and reliable. The new CCGT plant will meet or exceed all local, regional and national environmental regulations.
5. What renewable resources has IPL added in recent years?
IPL remains focused on a future that includes increased diversification of generation resources and cleaner, more efficient options to provide our customers with safe, reliable sustainable energy.
In 2007, 86% of IPL’s generating mix was fueled by oil and coal. By 2018, it’s anticipated that IPL’s generation mix will include 45% natural gas,44% coal, 10% wind and solar and 1% from oil. This is a significant change in our generation mix.
Wind, solar, natural gas and coal are all important components of IPL's generation portfolio. The decisions we are making balance the impact on the environment and the prices customers pay for electricity
IPL purchased 300 MW of wind energy under two long-term agreements in Indiana and Minnesota, and worked with customers and developers to add nearly 100 MW of solar in Indianapolis to our portfolio.
6. How does a CCGT plant work?
The CCGT will have the latest environmental technology to minimize air emissions, and it will use a cooling tower to reduce river water withdrawal by recycling water. The GT and ST turbines also will be enclosed and have considerable insulation to minimize sound.
A Combined Cycle Gas Turbine plant (CCGT) starts out with two Gas Turbines (GT’s) as the first source to make electricity. GT’s use natural-gas to create hot flue gases that turn blades which rotate and then move a generator to create electricity. A CCGT then captures the heat from the GT’s before it goes up the stack.
That heat from the GT exhaust is used by the Heat Recover Steam Generator (HRSG) to make steam out of water. The steam is then used to turn blades within a Steam Turbine (ST), which also moves a generator to create electricity. So from one source of energy (natural-gas), electricity is generated from two different types of turbines. That is the “combined” in combined cycle.
Besides burning clean natural gas, the CCGT will also have the latest environmental technology to minimize air emissions, and it will use a cooling tower to reduce river water withdrawal by recycling water. The GT and ST turbines also will be enclosed and have considerable insulation to minimize sound.
7. How much does this project cost?
IPL invested more than $600 million.
8. What is the economic impact of this project?
Building the power plant in Martinsville provides several benefits to the community, including 1,000 construction jobs and 33 permanent positions at the new plant. The project is anticipated to bring more than $1.6 million per year into Morgan County through local tax revenue. The overall economic benefit to the state during construction is expected to be more than $851 million and another $48 million per year during operation.
9. Where would the necessary natural gas come from?
IPL chose Vectren to build, own and operate the gas lateral to provide natural gas transportation services to IPL's natural gas plant in Morgan County. Vectren was chosen through a competitive process as the best provider of the gas pipeline lateral, and the company has a great track record of building and operating industrial gas supply infrastructure.
The pipeline is a 14" gas line that connects IPL to two sources for interstate natural gas transportation. These are the Rockies Express and Texas Gas interstate pipelines.
10. How high are the stacks at the plant?
The CCGT stacks are 150 feet tall. The current coal stacks are 250 to 280 feet tall (Stack 1 - 250', stack 2 - 281'10", stack 3 - 281'10").
11. Are they visible from SR 67?
In most locations where you can see the existing stacks you can also see the new stacks.
12. Is the new plant inside or outside?
The generation equipment for the new CCGT is enclosed in modern, industrial-style buildings. Equipment such as transmission lines, cooling towers and the heat recovery steam boilers are located outside.
13. What will happen to the old coal units at Eagle Valley?
IPL retired in place the existing coal units at Eagle Valley. The first priority was to make the old plant secure and safe. This means that the generating equipment was rendered inoperable, the water intakes structures were rendered inoperable and the buildings were stabilized. The coal pile area has been emptied, and the ash pond units are no longer utilized for wastewater treatment purposes and were closed in place per state and federal regulations. Beginning January 1, 2018, demolition will begin on the existing coal units and is anticipated to last until mid-2019. A plan to permanently close the coal pile area and ash ponds is pending before the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), and the final closure will be done in accordance with all applicable state and federal regulations.
14. What is the construction timeline?
On-site construction on the new CCGT plant began in the summer of 2015 and is expected to be complete in the first part of 2018.
15. How can people stay informed about this project?
At any time, inquiries and comments can be sent to our dedicated phone line 317.261.5121 or our email address (IPLanswers@aes.com).