NIPSCO announced several partnerships this year to add wind-generation capacity to its electricity supply as it moves toward its goal of ending its coal-based generation by the end of 2028.
Wind farms in Montgomery, White and Benton and Warren counties will add a capacity of just over 800 MW.
The projects involve partnerships between the Merrillville-based utility and the private companies developing the farms. The agreements resulted from a request NIPSCO issued last year for proposals for alternative energy generation.
NIPSCO's "Your Energy, Your Future" plan calls for retirement of its coal-fired generators at the Schahfer plant near Wheatfield by the end of 2023, and of the generator at its Michigan City plant by the end of 2028. Its strategic plan, developed last year, concluded that the long-term cost of coal, including the cost of maintaining coal-fired plants, was higher than the cost of other sources, including wind and solar, coupled with battery storage technology.
The utility is also engaged in a case to increase electric rates, a move the company said is necessary to upgrade infrastructure, address changes in federal tax policy, and change the way it charges large industrial customers.
The wind farm projects include:
• Jordan Creek: A 400 MW project to be developed and constructed by NextEra Energy Resources in Benton and Warren counties, near Williamsport. The project will include an estimated 160 wind turbines. NIPSCO will purchase power directly from Jordan Creek, which will operate and maintain the facilities.
NextEra Energy is headquartered in Juno Beach, Florida. Its NextEra Energy Resources operates wind, solar, natural gas and nuclear power plants, including Bluff Point Wind Energy Center in Jay and Randolph counties in eastern Indiana. Bluff Point can generate up to 120 megawatts of electricity, according to the company.
The NIPSCO-NextEra purchased-power agreement has a term of 20 years.
• Roaming Bison: A 300 MW wind project to be developed and constructed by Apex Clean Energy in Montgomery County, near Waynetown. The project will include an estimated 107 turbines. NIPSCO will purchase power directly from Roaming Bison, which will operate and maintain the facilities.
Roaming Bison is the first Indiana project for Apex Clean Energy, based in Charlottesville, Virginia. The company is engaged in planning the project and engaging with Montgomery County officials and landowners.
The NIPSCO-Apex agreement also has a term of 20 years.
• Rosewater: A 102 MW wind project, to be developed and constructed by EDP Renewables North America in White County. The project will include an estimated 25 turbines. EDP Renewables, which will construct the wind farm, and NIPSCO entered into a joint venture and ownership agreement for the Rosewater project.
Madrid, Spain-based EDP Renewables is the fourth largest wind energy producer in the world. Its Houston-based North America subsidiary's wind farms include Meadow Lake in White and Benton counties. They can generate up to 700 megawatts of electricity.
With its contract with NIPSCO, "EDPR has now secured 1.1 (gigawatts) of wind energy agreements in the U.S. for projects to be installed in 2019 and 2020."
The NIPSCO-EDPR joint venture includes the ultimate transfer of full ownership of Rosewater to NIPSCO.
• Indiana Crossroads: A 302 MW capacity wind farm to be developed and constructed by EDP Renewables in White County. The farm will have about 80 wind turbines and is anticipated to become operational in 2021. Ownership will be transferred to NIPSCO for the farm's operation.
The wind farm agreements resulted from a request for proposals NIPSCO issued as part of its 2018 Integrated Resource Plan.
Madrid, Spain-based EDP Renewables is the fourth largest wind energy producer in the world. Its Houston-based North America subsidiary's wind farms include Meadow Lake in White and Benton counties.
The IURC has approved the first three projects, which were announced in February. The fourth project was announced in October.
The company said it intends to announce additional renewable projects next year, after issuing a second request for proposals earlier this month.