MERRILLVILLE — Northern Indiana Public Service Company plans to add 900 megawatts to Indiana with the Dunns Bridge I, Dunns Bridge II and Cavalry Solar Energy Centers as part of the company’s long-term generation strategy.
The Dunns Bridge projects are in Jasper County, while Cavalry Solar Energy Centers will be in White County.
NIPSCO officials say they have finalized three build transfer agreements with subsidiaries of NextEra Energy Resources, the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and the sun and a leader in energy storage. The solar projects are expected to begin construction in 2022 and be operational in 2022 and 2023.
NextEra Energy Resources will construct the projects and NIPSCO will enter into joint ventures to own, and operate and maintain some facets of these assets once construction is complete.
“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. “Renewable technology continues to advance, and we are proud to be working with NextEra Energy Resources on the Dunns Bridge and Cavalry solar projects as we continue to implement our ‘Your Energy, Your Future’ plan.”
The investment, officials said, will bring economic benefits to Indiana, including both construction and long-term operating and maintenance jobs, along with enhancing the county tax base.
“Jasper County is pleased to continue our long-term relationship with NIPSCO with the development of the Dunn’s Bridge Solar Project,” said Kendell Culp, Jasper County commissioner. “As the county continues to search for additional economic development projects in light of the coming retirement of the Schahfer Generating Station, we look forward to this new opportunity to bring stability to our county’s tax base.”
An email from the office of the White County Commissioners noted that they have not yet approved the project “because permits have not been approved and agreements have not been made.”
The Indiana-based Dunns Bridge I, Dunns Bridge II and Cavalry solar projects were selected through a Request for Proposal solicitation that NIPSCO ran as part of its “Your Energy, Your Future” generation transition, which was announced in its 2018 Integrated Resource Plan. Officials said adding these three solar projects is the next step in the “Your Energy, Your Future” plan.
The company plans to be coal-free by 2028 by adding a combination of cleaner energy sources to its existing portfolio, which includes natural gas and hydroelectric generation. This generation transition, officials said, helps deliver a more affordable, reliable and sustainable energy mix for NIPSCO customers for years to come – saving customers $4 billion over the long term.
Five renewable projects have previously been announced by NIPSCO, which include a combination of similar joint venture agreements and purchased power agreements. Two of the wind projects are near completion, including the Jordan Creek Wind Energy Center, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources. NIPSCO will purchase the power directly from Jordan Creek Wind.
The three latest NIPSCO projects were selected following a comprehensive review of bids submitted through the all source RFP process that NIPSCO underwent in late 2019 – which continues to affirm the conclusions of the 2018 NIPSCO IRP, that wind and solar resources were shown to be lower-cost options for customers compared to other energy resource options.