Sierra Club — “Vectren Plans To Go 60 Percent Renewable Energy By 2025”

Rebexxa Thiele, Lakeshore Public Radio, June 18, 2020

In the next five years, the Indiana utility Vectren will make a huge shift toward renewable energy and away from coal. That’s according to the utility’s latest 20-year plan. 

Vectren hopes to retire three of its coal units in 2023. Instead of building a large natural gas plant as the company had originally intended, more than 60 percent of its energy mix will be solar, wind, and battery storage.

Vectren will also build two small natural gas plants to serve as a backup for those resources.

Vectren Director of Communications Natalie Hedde says this will reduce the utility’s carbon dioxide emissions by 75 percent and save its customers $320 million.

“It is a large shift, but we feel like it’s the right shift that’s giving us an opportunity to build a future that’s reliant on cleaner generation,” she says. 

Much like the northern Indiana utility NIPSCO, Vectren turned to the market to find the best sources for its long-term energy plan and mostly received bids for solar and wind projects. 

Wendy Bredhold is with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in Indiana. She says this new plan is a big improvement — but Vectren still hopes to keep its remaining coal unit at its F. B. Culley Generating Station in Warrick County running for another two decades.

“In terms of the cost impacts to customers and the climate effects, there’s really no reason for them to continue to run that,” she says.

Bredhold hopes the utility will consider closing Culley 3 in its next long-term plan, which is due in two years.

Hedde says having a diversity of resources — including coal — will help the company to maintain reliability. 

Contact Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.

Categories: Action

Tags:

Post Your Thoughts

Related Posts
Sierra Club — “Indiana cancels bobcat hunting season amid public outcry”

Sierra Club — “Indiana cancels bobcat hunting season amid public outcry”

The Sierra Club’s successful campaign to protect Indiana’s bobcats from hunting is drawing international attention.

Sierra Club — High fives for NIPSCO plant closure

Sierra Club — High fives for NIPSCO plant closure

The Sierra Club said while closing the plant will be a boost for the environment, it must be done in a responsible way.

Sierra Club — “This bill could revise a controversial Indiana solar power law”

Sierra Club — “This bill could revise a controversial Indiana solar power law”

A local legislator is backing an Indiana senate bill to require utilities to pay homeowners and others full retail price for solar energy uploaded to the grid.