MERRILLVILLE — With its need to generate or purchase energy expected to grow significantly in the next several years, NIPSCO has signed another agreement to purchase power to make up for what will be lost when coal-fired plants are closed.

Northern Indiana Public Service Company and the Clean Energy Infrastructure business of Capital Dynamics, a global private asset management firm, have signed a long-term Power Purchase Agreement.

Under terms of the PPA, NIPSCO will purchase 280MW of the power generated by a CEI-owned greenfield solar project called Gibson Solar, one of two projects being developed in southern Indiana.

Arevon Energy Management and Tenaska are co-developing the project and were instrumental in the signing of the PPA, according to Mike Hooper, NIPSCO president.

“We are proud to partner with Capital Dynamics on the Gibson purchase power agreement,” he said. “The addition of this homegrown Indiana solar energy project is the next step in our innovative and gradual transition to lower-cost, cleaner energy for our customers.”

Eight renewable energy projects have previously been announced by NIPSCO, which include a combination of similar PPAs and joint ventures, as part of its “Your Energy, Your Future” generation transition plan.

The company plans to be coal-free by 2028, adding a combination of cleaner energy sources to its existing portfolio of natural gas and hydroelectric generation, while shutting down coal-fired plants, including the Michigan City Generating Station and Schahfer plant in Jasper County.

NIPSCO’s generation transition will deliver a more affordable, reliable and sustainable energy mix for NIPSCO customers for years to come – saving customers $4 billion over the long term, Hooper said.

The Gibson Solar project is one of 19 that Capital Dynamics acquired from Tenaska in November 2018 and April 2019, and is located on approximately 2,400 acres in Gibson County.

The project is currently in the development stage with construction expected to start in 2022, and commercial operation anticipated in 2023, according to Benoit Allehaut, managing director of Capital Dynamics CEI.

“We are grateful for the partnership with Northern Indiana Public Service Company on the 280MW Gibson solar project,” he said. “This is one of the largest solar projects located east of the Mississippi, and the Gibson project will be an important contributor to the ongoing energy transition in Indiana.

“We applaud Northern Indiana Public Service Company for the long-term commitment, and Tenaska and Arevon Energy Management for their support reaching this milestone on our large portfolio in MISO.”

NIPSCO will request the addition of Gibson and the other new projects to its supply portfolio in filings with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, Hooper said, adding the company expects to announce additional renewable projects in the coming months.
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