IPL plans to stop burning coal at Harding Street plant

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Power and Light Company announced on Friday their plans to stop burning coal at the Harding Street plant in 2016.

IPL said they will soon file plans with the Indiana Regulatory Commission to repower the plant on the city’s south side from coal-fired to natural gas. This is part of their overall wastewater compliance plan for its power plants, a release said.

The conversion means a rate increase of about $1 dollar a month. IPL says they are required by law to offer the least costly option, and says natural gas is the way to go.

“We think this decision is in the best interest of our customers,” said Kelly Huntington, President and CEO of IPL. “We believe its the reasonable least-cost plan that also allows us to comply with the environmental regulations.”

Once the conversion is complete, IPL will only have one coal-burning plant in Indiana.

The decision to close Harding Street comes after years of protests and debates over the plant and its negative health effects. The plant is Marion County’s biggest source of air pollution – pushing sulfur dioxide into the air and dumping soot across the South Side neighborhood.

“That’s the whole goal, is to improve our quality of life,” said Denise Abdul-Rahman.

Councilor at Large Zach Adamson is the sponsor of a bill that asked IPL to make the conversion by 2020. A vote on the legislation was planned for Monday, but the vote will likely now be tabled.

“This is not an end point this is a middle of the road point but it is a step in that correct direction,” Councilor Adamson said

The IURC still needs to approve the plan, but back in May it already approved conversions of 2 others units at Harding Street.

IPL says the plan would also close the Harding Street coal pile and ash ponds.

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