Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Edwardsport IGCC plant

"working out issues"


Doug Esamann 
President, Duke Energy Indiana 

May 16, 2014

Duke Energy’s Edwardsport coal gasification power plant has been built in a “glass house,” subject to intense scrutiny by regulators and the media. We think that’s OK. The plant is a large investment in new technology and customers deserve to know how it’s doing.
First, Edwardsport is operating and serving Hoosiers. One of the most transparent reports about the plant is Duke Energy’s monthly power generation filing with the state. After a strong performance during last August’s heat wave, we had limited operation at Edwardsport during January and February. That generated a lot of media coverage, but the plant’s performance has improved. March operations were the third highest monthly production from the plant since going into service. Preliminary, yet-to-be-filed estimates show that April will surpass the March production numbers.
These reports focus on operating time on gasified coal. They do not include time that the plant has been available to run on natural gas. One of the plant’s advantages is its flexibility to run on either gasified coal, natural gas, or a combination of those fuels.
There’s still work to be done, though, and we’ll continue to improve the plant’s performance. When we declared Edwardsport commercial last June, we stated that time would be needed to build up to the plant’s long-term level of availability. We always have said that these months would be needed to work out technical issues.
Some news coverage also has given the impression that customers would be seeing a 16 percent rate increase on top of current bills. However, the majority of the rate increase is already part of bills; only about 2-3 percent is left. After periodic state regulatory reviews and approvals beginning in 2009, costs have been phased into customer bills.
Finally, it’s important to remember why we built the plant — to use Indiana coal, an abundant source of fuel in our state and nation, to produce electricity cleanly. Traditional coal-burning technology no longer measures up to federal clean air rules, a challenge for states such as Indiana that depend on coal to fuel the majority of its electricity. The Edwardsport project is the largest in the world to gasify coal, strip out many of the pollutants, and then burn that cleaner gas to produce power.
As more coal plants are retired and companies turn increasingly to natural gas, it’s important to have a diversity of fuel sources to minimize the impact of fuel cost volatility to our customers. Edwardsport has had its challenges, but we are committed to working out any issues that arise for a facility that will serve Hoosiers for decades to come.
Doug Esamann
President, Duke Energy Indiana

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