- The cost of Duke Energy’s Edwardsport coal gasification power plant, originally projected to be $1.9 billion, is now at $3.5 billion, and it is still not performing as promised. Indiana regulators must now decide if Duke customers will bear the operating costs through higher rates.
- if the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) approves Duke Energy’s petition to pass along $63.2 million in operating costs, an average monthly bill will increase an estimated $2.40 per month. The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor wants to block that and have Duke refund about $51.6 million to its customers for fees included in rates since September 2013.
- Edwardsport has had numerous outages and maintenance issues. After output fell to less than 1% of capacity and maintenance was performed, output increased but only once got to above 50%. September capacity was 15%, in October it was 27%, in November it was 71%, but it fell to 20% in December.
Duke Energy has consistently argued it would take time to get the advanced coal-gasification technology to high operating levels but that it would eventually produce significantly reduced emissions.
“During its first year, Edwardsport has cost customers $38.3 million more in fuel costs than it should have,” according to "Overpaying and Underperforming; The Edwardsport IGCC Project," a report from Citizens Action Coalition and other environmental advocates. “In particular, the plant’s two gasifiers, which are the only source of syngas for the plant, have encountered frequent problems," it said.
“The IURC has the power to compel Duke to bear the $83.6 million in fuel costs, the estimated $32 million in replacement power costs, the potential future $88 million in EPA compliance costs, and those same categories of costs going forward,” the group argued.
Coal gasification may be the last best chance for the resource to be used widely in power generation, Utility Dive recently reported. Duke wouldn't talk to us about Edwardsport for that story.