Indianapolis Power & Light plans new ‘Big Five’ emissions projects

To meet clean-air needs, including compliance with the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), Indianapolis Power & Light plans to add a pulse air fabric filter on Units 2 and 3 of its coal-fired Petersburg power plant and new emissions controls on the coal-fired Harding Street Unit 7.

In an Aug. 31 application filed with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, IPL requested approval for a pulse air fabric filter system on Units 2 and 3 at Petersburg. Also, this AES Corp. (NYSE: AES) subsidiary wants to install on all four Petersburg units activated carbon injection (ACI), sorbent injection, flue gas desulfurization (FGD) upgrade (Units 1 and 2), electrostatic precipitator (ESP) enhancements (Units 1, 3 and 4) and continuous emission monitoring. These projects will directly or indirectly reduce or avoid airborne sulfur-based emissions, acid gases, Hg, particulate matter and hazardous air pollutants associated with the combustion of coal at Petersburg. IPL is just wrapping up a major FGD upgrade project on Petersburg Unit 4.

IPL also requested approval for environmental controls on Harding Street Unit 7, including ACI, FGD upgrade, ESP and sodium based solution system (SBS) upgrades and continuous emission monitoring.

“The Petersburg Project and Harding 7 Project are referred to herein collectively as the Compliance Project,” the company noted. “The proposed Compliance Project technology was not in general commercial use at the same or greater scale in the United States as of January 1, 1989, or at the time of enactment of the federal Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. The Compliance Project is being undertaken to reduce emissions to levels required by the MATS rule, increase removal efficiency and comply with environmental regulation.”

IPL won’t provide project costs until later in the case

The estimated cost of the Compliance Project is reasonable and will be detailed in the evidence to be filed by IPL during the course of this proceeding, the utility said.

The five units involved (four at Petersburg and Harding Street Unit 7) are called the “Big Five” by IPL due to their prominent place in the company’s generating portfolio. The project will enable IPL to ensure the future use of the Big Five generating capacity to provide clean, safe and reliable electric service while complying with environmental regulations, the company told the commission. “Therefore, the Compliance Project is reasonable and necessary and the public convenience and necessity will be served by the Compliance Project. Accordingly, IPL should be granted a certificate of public convenience and necessity and all other necessary Commission approval in order to proceed with the construction and use of this technology and associated ratemaking treatment.”

To meet the MATS compliance deadline, as well as to conduct construction work in a manner that allows continued reliable service without curtailment of IPL’s units, IPL said it has begun incurring pre-construction costs. “The construction process must commence in the near future to permit these efforts to proceed in that manner and still ensure timely compliance,” it added.

IPL owns and operates 3,353 MW of nameplate capacity. IPL’s largest units, the Big Five, comprise 65% of IPL’s total generating capacity and more than 82% of its coal-fired capacity. The Big Five have fewer years of service compared to the other primarily coal units in IPL’s fleet. IPL procures 100% of its coal supply from mines located in the Illinois Basin.

The net power ratings of each unit are: Petersburg Unit 1 (232 MW); Petersburg Unit 2 (435 MW); Petersburg Unit 3 (540 MW); Petersburg Unit 4 (545 MW); and Harding Street (also known as Stout) Unit 7 (427 MW).

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.