Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approves CenterPoint natural gas generation request

Published on June 30, 2022 by Liz Carey

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The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) announced Tuesday it had unanimously approved a request by CenterPoint Energy Indiana South (CEI South) to build two natural gas combustion turbines.

The turbines will generate approximately 460 MW and will not cause customers’ rates to be adjusted to recover the cost of the estimated $334 million project.

Previously, the IURC had denied CEI South’s original request – to build an 850 MW combined cycle gas plant, which would have cost $781 million. Instead, the commission directed the utility to “engage in integrated resource planning” using a thorough RFP process that could help evaluate different portfolios under various future market conditions. The process resulted in the utility’s 2019 Preferred Portfolio, which calls for a significant amount of renewable generation to be added from 2022 through 2024, in addition to the two single-cycle natural gas combustion turbines. The planning also calls for a significant amount of renewable generation to be added between 2022 and 2024, including approximately 300 MW of wind and up to 1,000 MW of solar and battery storage.

“The flexible and controllable nature of the gas CTs will support the intermittent nature of the renewable generation in the Preferred Portfolio to ensure system reliability,” the IURC said in its order. “We believe that this step of implementing the Preferred Portfolio, moving forward on the two CTs, is the best economic decision for CEI South’s customers.”

The commission said the new generation resource would serve the grid regionally.

“In addition, MISO, the operator of the electric grid in which CEI South is a participant, has indicated a system-wide need for controllable resources such as the CTs to ensure system reliability as more intermittent resources are added to the system,” the commission said in its order.