Merrillville-based utility NIPSCO is working on its 20-year Integrated Resource Plan that it must submit to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission every two years.
NIPSCO plans to ask the public for input at five public meetings this year, including one from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday at Avalon Manor, 3550 E. U.S. 30, Merrillville. Lunch will be provided, and there will be a webinar for those unable to attend in person.
"In our last IRP in 2016 we announced the retirement of 50 percent of our coal-fired electric generation by 2023, starting with our Bailly Electric Generating Station by May of this year — which is currently on track," NIPSCO spokesman Nick Meyer said. "NIPSCO's energy mix is transitioning as we announced in the last planning process the retirement of 50 percent of our coal-fired electric generation. This year's plan focuses on providing affordable, clean energy while maintaining flexibility for future technology and market changes."
The plan would look at what mix of energy sources NIPSCO will use to provide power to its customers, including big industrial users like ArcelorMittal, BP, Praxair, NLMK and U.S. Steel.
Sierra Club organizer Ashley Williams said it is hoped that NIPSCO will agree to phase out its remaining coal plants, and opt for renewable energies like wind and solar instead of natural gas that's often extracted from the ground through the controversial practice of fracking.
"What is our clean energy future going to look like?" she said. "We'd like to be coal-free in the electric sector by 2030."
NIPSCO plans to submit an updated Integrated Resource Plan to the state by Dec. 1.
Anyone interested in attending can register online www.nipsco.com/about-us/integrated-resource-plan.