Utility Eyes Earlier Shutdown Of Lake Michigan Power Plant

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A northern Indiana utility company is looking to shutter a coal-fired power plant along Lake Michigan two years earlier than planned.

Northern Indiana Public Service Co. said it now plans to retire its electricity generating plant in Michigan City between 2026 and 2028 rather than the previous shutdown target of 2028. NIPSCO will turn to solar, energy storage and upgrades at its Sugar Creek Generating Station near Terre Haute to replace the generating capacity.

The Merrillville-based company said it remains on track to reduce its 2005 level of carbon emissions by 90% before 2030.

NIPSCO President Mike Hooper said the utility’s plan maintains a diverse energy portfolio.

The company also plans building a new natural gas-burning peaking plant at an undetermined location to replace two older units at its Schahfer Generating Station near Wheatfield in northern Indiana’s Jasper County. Those peaking plants only run during times of high electricity demand.

Ashley Williams, executive director of the advocacy group Just Transition Northwest Indiana, said building a new gas-burning plant seemed like a backtrack by NIPSCO on its renewable energy plans. Williams said building the new gas plant at Wheatfield would prevent redevelopment of the power plant site into other uses.