In late 2022, pv magazine USA identified a hit rate of more than 50% of utility solar projects attaching energy storage. A midwestern utility retiring the 1.95 GW R.M. Schahfer coal generation facility in Indiana is contributing to that growing trend.
Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) activated a 465 MW solar portfolio consisting of NIPSCO’s first two utility solar projects, Dunns Bridge I Solar in Jasper County, Ind., and Indiana Crossroads Solar in White County, Ind.:
- Dunns Bridge I Solar (265 MW) is the first phase of a 700 MW solar-plus-storage complex in Jasper and Starke Counties whose combined capacity will produce clean power from a 5,000 acre solar field along with a 75 MW / 300 MWh storage facility. Built by NextEra Energy Resources, both phases of the solar complex are located nearby the Schahfer coal station, which is set to retire by 2025. Dunns Bridge I and II projects will generated $59 million in new tax revenue for the two counties. The second phase (435 MW) of the Dunns Bridge complex is scheduled to enter commercial operations later this year. During peak construction the facility created 300 construction jobs.
- Indiana Crossroads Solar (200 MW) was constructed by EDP Renewables North America and will bring $2.6 million in annual Economic Development Agreement funds to White County in addition to $42 million in property tax payments over the 35-year lifetime of the project.
Dunns Bridge I and Indiana Crossroads are partly funded through tax equity investments from a tax equity investor, while the projects are expected to incur tax benefits from the Inflation Reduction Act as well.
“The addition of our first solar parks to our electric generating portfolio represent meaningful investments in the state of Indiana and a direct benefit to our customers,” said Mike Hooper, president of NIPSCO. “These completed projects are a crucial step in advancing our long-term energy transition plan, providing sustainable, reliable and cost-effective energy now and into the future.”
NIPSCO’s energy transition to a decarbonized generation fleet includes plans to retire all its remaining coal-fired units. The company plans to be coal-free by 2028, driving a reduction in carbon emissions by more than 90% by 2030, compared to a 2005 baseline.
The utility’s clean energy portfolio consists of 2.4 GW of wind, solar and storage assets in operation or under construction and includes:
- Rosewater Wind Farm (102 MW)- located in White County, Indiana (Complete)
- Jordan Creek Wind (400 MW)- located in Benton and Warren counties, Ind. (Complete)
- Dunns Bridge Solar I (265 MW) – located in Jasper County, Ind. (Complete)
- Dunns Bridge Solar II (435 MW) – sited with 75 MW / 300 MWh of battery storage (2023)
- Indiana Crossroads I Wind (300 MW) – located in White County, Ind. (Complete)
- in Jasper and Starke counties, Ind.
- Indiana Crossroads Solar (200 MW) – located in White County, Ind. (Complete)
- Indiana Crossroads II Wind (204 MW) – located in White County, Indiana (2023)
- Cavalry Solar (200 MW) – sited with 60 MW of battery storage in White County, Ind. (2024)
- Fairbanks Solar (250 MW) – located in Sullivan County, Ind. (2025)
As previously announced, NIPSCO is working with developers on other wind, solar and battery storage projects in various stages of development. For those projects not already approved, NIPSCO has requested to add those projects to its supply portfolio in filings with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC). Further details on NIPSCO’s renewable energy portfolio can be accessed here.
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