Indiana Clean Energy Campaign
The Indiana Clean Energy (ICE) Campaign reports that the petition from EnviroPower to site a new coal-fired merchant power plant in Sullivan County was dismissed this past week by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. Combined with the dismissal of the EnviroPower petition for a similar plant in Pike County in January 2002, this means that there are no petitions currently pending for new coal-fired power plants in Indiana.
ICE actively opposed the petitions for both EnviroPower plants. As with Indiana's abortive nuclear plants a generation ago, it was ultimately economic rather than environmental considerations which killed the new coal plants. But, certainly the costs of environmental compliance were an economic consideration of some significance to EnviroPower--especially since it was clear that ICE would put up a stiff fight to assure environmental compliance.
Mike Mullett is an environmental attorney with Mullett, Polk and Associates in Indianapolis.
Another matter which proved especially critical was the interplay between grid interconnection and siting. This interplay was ICE's primary tool in keeping EnviroPower's feet to the fire to develop and present a prima facie case for its proposed siting. The Company's inability to show progress on interconnection due to its reluctance to spend money on interconnection studies when financing and power contracts for the plant remained purely speculative was the most critical consideration in obtaining the dismissal.
With the demise of the proposed EnviroPower plants, ICE's focus has now shifted to one of, if not the oldest coal merchant plants currently operating anywhere in the country--the Clifty Creek station of the Indiana Kentucky Electric Company (IKEC). Built in 1955, Clifty Creek was dedicated from the time it was built until the summer of 2001 to providing power to the now closed Portsmouth, Ohio, uranium enrichment facility. The loss of its lifelong mission could/should have resulted in a decision by its owners (a consortium of midwest utilities led by AEP) to close Clifty Creek. But, instead, IKEC has apparently determined to keep the six-unit, 1200+ mW facility operating as a 47-year-old, unscrubbed, coal-fired merchant plant.
Due to various regulatory delays, there are currently three permits pending for Clifty Creek--a Type III solid waste landfill permit and related variances, a Title V air permit, and an NPDES water permit. Because of the conjunction of these permitting decisions with Clifty Creek's change in mission, ICE has requested the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to conduct a comprehensive review of the environmental impacts of the plant. The ICE steering committee has a meeting scheduled with IDEM leadership to discuss the proposed review on March 14. Please stay tuned.
Mike Mullett is an environmental attorney with Mullett, Polk & Associates in Indianapolis.