HENDERSON, Ky (WEHT) – CenterPoint Energy announced Wednesday that the company will further invest in renewable energy and end its use of coal in Indiana by 2027. This announcement followed the release of their Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) preferred portfolio.
According to a press release, the IRP preferred portfolio was shared at CenterPoint’s fourth and final public stakeholder meeting, conducted as part of a year-long planning process, involving extensive analysis and public input.
According to the proposed plan, CenterPoint is expected to save customers nearly $80 million compared to the continued use of coal while reducing carbon emissions from its electric generation fleet by more than 95% over the next 20 years.
Currently, 85% of electricity generated for southwest Indiana customers comes from coal. By 2030, it is expected more than 80% of CenterPoint’s electricity will be generated by solar and wind, with natural gas making up the remainder.
Environmental advocate Wendy Bredhold with Sierra Club says this change is a victory.
“In terms of a long-term commitment to gas, that’s preferable to building a new gas plant because it probably won’t operate as long on a conversion from coal to gas,” says Bredhold. “So, in terms of transitioning away from fossil fuels, that is a preferable outcome.”
“Our recommended mix of renewable and natural gas resources is expected to maintain the ability to turn on generating resources during times of greatest demand, supporting reliability and continuing our strategy of providing cleaner electricity that meets customer’s future energy needs,” said Richard Leger, Senior Vice President, Indiana Electric.
CenterPoint Energy’s IRP is conducted every three years. Based on analysis of energy needs, public stakeholder input and many other factors, which are updated and forecasted across the next 20 years. The plan also is designed to comply with the new, more stringent capacity requirements set by the Midcontient Independent System Operator (MISO) to meet peak energy demand across all four seasons.
Shane Bradford, Vice President of Generation Operations at CenterPoint, says, “CenterPoint has our own sustainability goal that we want to be net-zero carbon-wise by 2035, but it is also that we want to provide reliable and cleaner energy for our customers who asked for this.”
Modeling conducted points CenterPoint Energy toward the following goals:
- Converting F.B. Culley 3, the last coal operated by CenterPoint Energy, to natural gas by 2027, maintaining its 270 MW capacity. Preserving the 270 MW of dispatchable generation is expected to maintain reliability during long duration of summer and winter weather events.
- Adding 200 MW of wind and 200 MW of solar by 2030, with the potential need for an additional 400 MW of wind resources by 2032.
“We are confident the proposed portfolio will meet expectations of our customers and deliver on our goal to provide a cost-effective, well balanced energy mix. These continued investments in our generation transition plan will allow customers to benefit in the near term and leaves room for flexibility as the future of electric generation continues to evolve.”