Indiana approves $152m upgrade to Duke Energy’s Markland hydro facility

A Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) utility has received approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to modernize the Markland hydro station near Florence, Indiana along the Ohio River.

IURC approved the project on Dec. 14, following a settlement agreement that was reached with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC). Markland is currently listed with a nameplate capacity of 65 MW.

The station’s three hydroelectric generators, turbines and associated equipment, which have been in service for nearly 50 years, will be upgraded and modernized one at a time, beginning in 2017. The total project is expected to take approximately four years and will cost approximately $152m. After the project is completed, the station’s energy output will increase by about 10%, Duke Energy Indiana said in a Dec. 21 news release.

The utility has said it expects an increase of 36.7 GWh of actual annual average energy production from the station.

“We are pleased with the commission’s decision that allows us to keep the Markland Hydro Station operating for many more years,” said Duke Energy Indiana State President Melody Birmingham-Byrd. “The low-cost, carbon-free power generated at Markland is an important part of our diversified portfolio of generation sources.”

“The agreement that received commission approval in this case is the result of good-faith negotiations between the OUCC and Duke Energy,” said Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor David Stippler.

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Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at