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Indiana utility plans to phase out coal by 2028

Hopes to add 1,150 MW of solar, 160 MW of wind

Arlington, Virginia — While it is not shutting the door on fossil fuels, Northern Indiana Public Service Co. is targeting 2,600 MW of wind, solar and storage capacity to replace its aging coal-fired fleet.

The NiSource Inc. subsidiary, known as Nipsco, on October 1 said it is requesting proposals for 300 MW of wind and wind paired with storage; 2,300 MW of solar and solar paired with storage; and "economic opportunities" for thermal generation and other capacity resources.

Nipsco said in a news release that the three separate RFPs will satisfy its capacity need in 2023 as the utility phases out its coal plants as outlined in its 2018 integrated resource plan. Nipsco said in September 2018 that it plans to shut down its remaining coal capacity within 10 years. The utility will retire the 1,625-MW R.M. Schahfer coal plant in 2023 and the 469-MW Michigan City coal plant in 2028.

"They are 40-, 50-year-old units. They are just approaching end of life," NiSource President and CEO Joseph Hamrock said earlier this year in an interview with S&P Global Market Intelligence. "So, it didn't start with 'We got to get out of coal.' It started with 'Let's do an objective, thorough, all-factors analysis,' and it pointed at that, that's the retirement sequence."

Hamrock also noted that Nipsco did a "full-on" RFP in 2018 for replacement resources and "renewables knocked out natural gas."

The new RFPs, managed by CRA International Inc., point out that NIPSCO's preferred plan in its 2018 IRP calls for the addition of about 1,150 MW of solar generation, including solar paired with storage, 160 MW of wind generation and 175 MW of other capacity resources by 2023.

The utility said it will "consider all sources" in the RFPs, which are scheduled to close November 20.

-- Darren Sweeney, S&P Global Market Intelligence,

-- Edited by Andrew Moore,