Bill advances to pause Indiana coal power plant closings

That vote came after the committee scaled back the bill so that restrictions on power plant closures only last until July 2021.

Posted: Jan 23, 2020 4:40 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A proposal aimed at making it more difficult for Indiana electric companies to close additional coal-fired power plants faces objections from consumer and environmental groups who argue it could stifle growth in renewable energy such as wind and solar power.

The Indiana House utilities committee voted 9-4 Wednesday along party lines to advance the bill to the full House.

That vote came after the committee scaled back the bill so that restrictions on power plant closures only last until July 2021.

Republican Rep. Ed Soliday of Valparaiso, the bill’s sponsor, said he wanted a one-year pause in additional plant closings because of what he sees as a gap for when renewable sources can provide reliable and stable electricity service.

He also said he wants the delay so more plant closings aren’t in motion before a state energy task force completes a report for legislators that’s due in late 2020.

“We will need the backup power until this thing sorts out,” Soliday said.

The proposal comes as Indiana’s four main electric utilities intend on closing several coal-burning plants in the coming years.

Those include plans from Indianapolis Power & Light Co. to retire by 2023 two of the four coal-burning units at its Petersburg Generating Station in southeastern Indiana, while Merrillville-based Northern Indiana Public Service Co. aims to shut down four of its five remaining coal-fired units within five years.

Coal industry analyst Emily Medine argued in support of the bill, saying existing coal-burning plants provide affordable and reliable power, and closing those plants would be an irreversible decision.

The consumer group Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana maintains the pause unnecessarily hampers the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and gives incentives to an outdated power source.

“It interferes in the market place,” said Kerwin Olson, the group’s executive director. “It is going to cost customers money, it’s going to increase regulatory lag.”

Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, said he worried about the one-year pause being extended and hindering the development of cleaner energy sources.

“Right now, the bill is a temporary roadblock to modernizing the power sector in Indiana but we’re worried about it becoming a permanent roadblock,” Kharbanda said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 663511

Reported Deaths: 12633
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion908511647
Lake48510882
Allen35951638
Hamilton32138398
St. Joseph30096513
Elkhart25423417
Vanderburgh21283379
Tippecanoe20096203
Johnson16380360
Porter16009272
Hendricks15855300
Clark11999181
Madison11764319
Vigo11636230
Monroe10363163
Delaware9854179
LaPorte9790197
Howard9075198
Kosciusko8574111
Bartholomew7479147
Warrick7430151
Hancock7418132
Floyd7226170
Wayne6645192
Grant6437157
Boone610389
Morgan6103125
Dubois5923111
Dearborn549068
Cass545899
Marshall5432105
Henry542593
Noble510178
Jackson465167
Shelby461490
Lawrence4189113
Gibson401781
Harrison401064
Clinton396553
Montgomery388483
DeKalb386478
Miami357663
Knox357585
Whitley349837
Huntington346277
Steuben339255
Wabash332376
Putnam331159
Ripley327762
Adams323949
Jasper317043
White297452
Jefferson295474
Daviess285596
Fayette271956
Decatur271088
Greene261680
Posey261431
Wells258575
Scott251250
Clay241544
LaGrange241270
Randolph225576
Spencer218030
Jennings215744
Washington212127
Sullivan203639
Fountain201842
Starke188451
Owen182853
Fulton179337
Jay178328
Carroll176519
Perry173435
Orange171150
Rush165322
Vermillion160842
Franklin159535
Tipton146841
Parke139416
Pike127833
Blackford120727
Pulaski106744
Newton96632
Brown95139
Benton92213
Crawford91013
Martin80214
Warren75814
Switzerland7558
Union67310
Ohio53911
Unassigned0433

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 972605

Reported Deaths: 16750
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1123671214
Cuyahoga961861832
Hamilton735721034
Montgomery47359903
Summit40384802
Butler35577505
Lucas35489685
Stark29456803
Warren22464271
Lorain22068414
Mahoning19509537
Lake18445318
Clermont18425201
Delaware16499116
Licking15022189
Fairfield14563180
Trumbull14369413
Greene13595218
Medina13423226
Clark12288248
Wood11575163
Portage11050164
Allen10793216
Richland10316183
Miami10035189
Muskingum8195112
Columbiana8151200
Pickaway8067107
Tuscarawas8054227
Marion7996125
Wayne7886193
Erie6914140
Ross6152128
Geauga6083136
Hancock6006116
Ashtabula5978152
Scioto596280
Lawrence527118
Union513537
Darke5036114
Belmont496659
Huron4825107
Jefferson4806107
Sandusky4780108
Seneca4702107
Washington465791
Athens465047
Mercer458780
Auglaize456180
Shelby441679
Knox4037101
Putnam399390
Madison393553
Fulton380658
Ashland380581
Defiance372583
Brown369844
Crawford358396
Logan355772
Preble353678
Clinton340852
Highland328349
Ottawa324369
Williams302662
Jackson290545
Champaign288149
Guernsey287844
Perry269847
Fayette269141
Morrow260334
Henry246658
Hardin245858
Holmes243293
Coshocton237454
Van Wert229854
Gallia222631
Adams217036
Pike215626
Wyandot210447
Hocking194554
Carroll181341
Paulding160530
Meigs135730
Noble129233
Monroe117027
Morgan101119
Harrison100624
Vinton76613
Unassigned00
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