Power Company Reaches Agreement for Change at Rockport Plant

A new agreement is in place for a Spencer County power plant.

Yesterday, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission announced an agreement between the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, Indiana Michigan Power, and a group representing I and M’s industrial customers for the usage of lower cost technology to meet current enviromental standards at its Rockport generation plant.

Under the agreement, I and M (which is an operating unit of American Electric Power) will be able to comply with strict regulations set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on emissions. The company will utilize dry sorbent injection technology at the Rockport plant in order to accomplish this. This new technology comes at a cost of 258 million dollars, which may seem expensive. However, the OUCC says this purchase would be a significant savings for the company over purchasing a dry scrubber, which can cost about 1.4 billion dollars.

I and M president and Chief Operating Officer Paul Chodak says the company is glad to reach the agreement in the name of cleaner air and less impacts on the rates of customers. Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor David Stippler says clean coal technology is and has to continue being an important part of addressing the energy future of the state of Indiana.

DSI is a two-step process in which a powdered sorbent such as sodium bicarbonate (also known as baking soda) is injected into the flue gas as its exits the power plant and reacts with emissions. The compound is removed by an electrostatic precipitator or a fabric filter.

The action of the IURC follows an approval given by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management back on August 27th. I and M reached an agreement with the EPA, environmental groups, and several northeastern states back in February to use DSI at the Rockport plant that uses coal in order to generate electricity. The February agreement also led to a contract for I and M to buy 200 megawatts of electricity per year from a proposed wind farm in Winchester, Indiana. It also led to the announcement that I and M will close an older coal-fired plant in Lawrenceburg.

The Rockport facility and its related operations are the fifth largest employer in Spencer County, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.