By the end of 2028, NIPSCO is planning to retire all of their coal-fired power generation in an initiative called Your Energy, Your Future. By incorporating clean and renewable energy sources, they are estimating a 90% reduction in carbon emissions, economic benefits around Northern Indiana, and over $4 billion in cost savings for their customers.
Currently, 71% of NIPSCO’s energy mix is generated by coal, and just four percent from renewables such as wind and solar. By 2028, 65% of their energy is set to come from renewables, with the rest coming mostly from natural gas and some hydro power.
“We were able to determine that renewables are the best, lowest cost option for our customers,” said Tara McElmurry, Communications Lead at NIPSCO. “Frankly, that was surprising to us, but that’s just how fast this technology is moving. Our projections are showing savings of $4 billion in the long run for our customers, and that’s obviously pretty exciting.”
Transforming their network in such a massive way in just shy of a decade is an incredible effort. This year alone they are planning to complete wind farms in Jordan Creek and Rosewater, bringing almost 200 turbines online.
“The scale of this is huge, it’s a big shift for the company,” McElmurry said. “Not only are we bringing all of these exciting resources online, we also have to find a responsible way to close our coal generating stations for our employees in a low-disruptive manner.”
The shift to renewable energy provides an opportunity for retraining and workforce development. McElmurry is confident that NIPSCO will fulfill their timeline, and is already planning for the shutdown of their coal-fired R.M. Schahfer Generating Station in 2023.
“We’ve just announced two new solar projects and are expecting to announce some more renewable assets as we move through this year,” she said. “We’ve got a lot going on, but today we spend about $186 million a year on the fuel alone to run one of our coal units. Once we retire those units, that cost completely goes away.”
Once NIPSCO’s coal fleet is completely retired, customers will save on average $105 per year in each household. Additionally, ensuring that customers do not experience any usage disruptions during the transition process is a top priority, as is ensuring long-term reliability.
“Cost effectiveness is number one, but reliability is right there in lock step with it,” McElmurry said. “We’re continually evaluating our plans, and we won’t move forward with anything that does not guarantee sustained reliability for our customers.”
All of NIPSCO’s renewable projects are located within Indiana, and developers and investors are already expressing interest due to the improved availability of clean, low-cost energy. For example, the $50+ million Digital Crossroad Data Center in Hammond is possible in large part thanks to the Your Energy, Your Future initiative.
“It’s important for us that all of this is based out of Indiana,” McElmurry said. “This is just another exciting step forward for our customers and for the state. We’re looking forward to making more announcements as the months go on, and to helping our customers save money.”
To learn more about NIPSCO and their Your Energy, Your Future Initiative, visit www.nipsco.com/campaigns/future.