Indiana’s solar capacity is set to surge in the next three years as the state’s second-biggest utility unveils plans to develop three large-scale projects.
Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) has secured build-transfer agreements with subsidiaries of NextEra Energy Resources to develop 900MW of solar as well as 135MW of battery storage.
NextEra Energy Resources will construct the projects and NIPSCO will enter into joint ventures to own, operate and maintain some facets of these assets once construction is complete.
The buildout consists of: Dunns Bridge Solar I, a 265MW project in Jasper County; Dunns Bridge Solar II, a 435MW park paired with 75MW of battery storage and also located in Jasper County; and Cavalry Solar, a 200MW development with 60MW of battery storage to be constructed in White County. All are expected to be operational by 2023.
The projects were selected following a request for proposals process that NIPSCO carried out late last year, which the company said confirmed that solar and wind “were shown to be lower-cost options for customers compared to other energy resource options”.
“The addition of these three solar projects and associated battery storage is an investment in the future of Indiana and the future of NIPSCO, as we deliver on our promise of bringing safe, reliable and affordable energy to our customers,” said Mike Hooper, NIPSCO president.
In its 2018 integrated resource plan, NIPSCO revealed its ambition to replace all its coal generation by 2028 with resources such as solar, wind and natural gas, a move the utility estimates will save customers US$4 billion.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Indiana has approximately 454MW of solar, ranking 23rd out of all US states in terms of installed capacity.
Between 700MW and 1GW of additional solar and storage is set to be deployed in the state by CenterPoint Energy-owned Southern Indiana Gas and Electric Co. The company has opened a request for proposals to assist in identifying replacement generation capacity as it retires 730MW of coal-fired generation by 2024.