100+ rally downtown against coal burning in Marion County

(WISH Photo/Brett Bensley)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – More than 100 people rallied on Monument Circle Saturday afternoon, urging Indianapolis Power and Light Company to stop burning coal in Marion County by 2020, and invest in more clean, renewable energy.

At the rally, the formation of the new “Power Indy Forward” coalition was announced. Organizers say more than 40 resolutions have been passed by neighborhood associations, churches, faith and student groups, all demanding IPL retire the Harding Street coal-fired power plant on Indianapolis’ south side.

The coalition hopes IPL will increase its investment in renewable energy, like wind, solar and energy efficiency, a release said.

Saturday’s announcement of “Power Indy Forward” comes as IPL is developing a 20-year energy plan that needs to be submitted to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission by Nov. 1. The plan will outline how IPL will meet electricity demands for the next two decades.

IPL sent the following statement to 24-Hour News 8 on Saturday:

IPL is moving forward with our plans of increased diversification of generation resources and cleaner, more efficient options to provide our customers with reliable and affordable power.

IPL currently meets EPA requirements at all of our generation locations including the Harding Street Generation Station. Since 2000, IPL has invested approximately $280 million in new emission controls at Harding Street, which have reduced key emissions dramatically. Our current plans include investing in environmental controls which will reduce mercury emissions by approximately 85 percent and converting Units 5 and 6 from coal burning units to natural gas, subject to approval by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.  These efforts will translate to a 70 percent reduction of total releases from Harding Street by 2017 compared to where we are today.

This past week saw the ground-breaking of one of the many solar farms connected to the IPL system.  Wind, Solar, natural gas and coal are all important components of our generation portfolio.  The decisions we are making balance the impact on the environment and the prices customers pay for electricity.

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