NIPSCO to bring an additional 1 GW of solar to Indiana by 2023


As far as installed large-scale solar capacity goes, Indiana could not be more middle of the pack in America, with the state’s roughly 450 MW being good for 23rd in the nation. However this designation is set to change – and quickly, as Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) has announced that the company will be bringing an additional 900 MW of capacity on-line by 2023, across just three projects.

NIPSCO has finalized three build transfer agreements with subsidiaries of NextEra Energy Resources for the Dunns Bridge I, Dunns Bridge II and Cavalry Solar Energy Centers as part of the company’s 2018 plans to close the majority of its coal facilities by 2023, with the remaining facilities on the way out by 2028.

The utility also committed to replacing the plants with solar, solar-plus-wind, wind, demand-side response and the spot market. Following the release of this plan, NIPSCO announced three large requests for proposals (RFP), one of which sought to add 2.3 GW of solar plants coupled with energy storage. By doing so, NIPSCO plans to save customers $4.3 billion.

The three projects announced today will provide considerable progress towards that 2.3 GW, accounting for nearly 40% of the new capacity by themselves, but what will they look like?

The smallest of the bunch, Cavalry Solar, will be a 200-MW solar installation coupled with with 60 MW of battery storage. It will be located in White County, Indiana and is expected to be operational in late 2023. The project is expected to generate approximately $25 million in lifetime revenue for White County and create approximately 200 jobs during construction.

Dunns Bridge Solar I, the only project of the three to not include battery storage, is set to be a 265 MW installation. The project will be located in Jasper County and is expected to be operational in 2022.

The largest installation of the three will be the Dunns Bridge Solar II project, coming in at 435 MW of solar and 75 MW of battery storage. Like Dunns Bridge Solar I, this project will be located in Jasper County, but will be completed a year after its sibling, in 2023. Dunns Bridge Solar I & II are expected to generate approximately $59 million in lifetime tax revenue for Jasper County and will create approximately 300 jobs during construction.

More development on the horizon

These three projects come on the heels of what has been a busy 2020 for NIPSCO, in terms of solar development. Believe it or not, the company actually completed its first solar installations this year, three projects, developed in collaboration with Inovateus Solar, and totaling just over 420 kilowatts.

From that meager start, however, the company will be adding capacity quickly. In July, the company announced two projects that are set to come online by 2023 and will add 300 MW of new capacity: the 200 MW Brickyard Solar project and the 100 MW Greensboro Solar project, which will be paired with 30 MW of energy storage.

The project announcement party continued in September, with the reveal of the the Ratts 1 Solar Project, a  150 MW solar installation across 1,200 acres near Petersburg, Indiana. That project is set to be completed in 2023.

In all, the six projects that have been announced since July will bring nearly 1.4 GW of solar to the Hoosier state by 2023, enough capacity to represent 60% completion of NIPSCO’s 2.3 GW by 2028 goal.

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