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New Indiana coal plant cost up to USD 3 billion - Duke Energy

Steel News - Published on Sun, 18 Apr 2010

AP reported that Duke Energy as saying that the cost of a coal gasification power plant it is building in southwestern Indiana has risen to nearly USD 2.9 billion or about twice the original estimate.

The details are part of Duke\'s filing asking the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to allow it to pass on the plant\'s additional costs to its customers. If regulators agree, it will boost the project\'s overall rate impact on Duke\'s average Indiana customer 3% to 19%. The increase would be fully phased in by 2013. The plant\'s estimated cost has grown steadily since it was announced in 2007, when Duke said the project likely would cost between USD 1.3 billion and USD 1.6 billion.

Environmental and government watchdog groups have sued to try to halt the plant, calling the project a huge waste of money that would be better spent on renewable energy such as wind farms and promoting energy efficiency.

Charlotte, NC based Duke said that the estimated cost of the roughly 620 MW plant had risen USD 530 million or 23%, since November largely because its design has grown more complex as construction has proceeded requiring more materials.

Mr James Turner president and COO of Duke Energy\'s Franchised Electric & Gas businesses said that \"Unfortunately, this evolution in scope and complexity makes an increase in the cost estimate impossible to avoid.\"

Ms Angeline Protogere spokeswoman of Duke said that while there\'s no guarantee the cost won\'t go higher, the company is confident it can be completed for about the revised estimate. Unlike traditional coal fired power plants that burn coal to produce electricity, the new plant will convert coal into a synthetic gas processed to remove some pollutants such as mercury and sulfur. The gas is then burned in a traditional turbine power plant to produce electricity.

Construction of the plant is about 35% completed at the site along the White River near Edwardsport, about 15 miles northeast of Vincennes. It will replace 160 MW coal fired plant Duke operates there. When it goes online as projected in 2012 it will release an estimated 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

Mr Kerwin Olson the program director for the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana said that he expects the project\'s final cost to top USD 3 billion. But the price tag could grow even more if Congress acts to impose caps on carbon dioxide emissions linked to global warming. If that happens and Duke decides to adapt the plant to capture some of its carbon dioxide, the project\'s price would spiral higher.

Mr Olson said that despite Duke\'s public green washing in saying that this will be the country\'s cleanest coal plant it\'s not going to capture a single ounce of carbon dioxide nor have they committed to doing that.

(Sourced from Associated Press)
Posted By : admin on Sun, 18 Apr 2010
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