Northern Indiana Public Service Company LLC (NIPSCO), a subsidiary of NiSource Inc., announced the addition of 900 MW of solar energy coming 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. NIPSCO finalized three build transfer agreements with subsidiaries of NextEra Energy Resources. The solar projects are expected to begin construction in 2022 and expected to 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 in this new generation will bring economic benefits to the state of 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.”
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.
The three latest NIPSCO projects were selected following a comprehensive review of bids submitted through the all source requests for proposals process that NIPSCO underwent in late 2019 – which continues to affirm the conclusions of the 2018 NIPSCO Integrated Resource Plan, that wind and solar resources were shown to be lower cost options for customers compared to other energy resource options.
NIPSCO will request the addition of these new projects to its supply portfolio in filings with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission:
- Dunns Bridge Solar I – The 265 megawatt solar project will be located in Jasper County. The project will include an estimated 900,000 solar panels and is expected to be operational in 2022. Dunns Bridge Solar will be capable of producing enough energy to power 79,500 homes.
- Dunns Bridge Solar II – This project will have 435 megawatts of solar paired with 75 megawatts of battery storage and will also be located in Jasper County. The project will include an estimated 1,500,000 solar panels and is expected to be operational in 2023. Dunns Bridge II will be capable of producing enough energy to power 130,500 homes. Dunns Bridge Solar I & II are expected to generate approximately $59 million in additional tax revenue for Jasper County over the life of the projects and approximately 300 jobs during construction. This project was originally developed by Orion Wind Resources LLC, a joint venture between Orion Renewable Energy Group and MAP Energy.
- Cavalry Solar – This project will have 200 megawatts of solar with 60 megawatts of battery storage and will be located in White County. The project will include an estimated 650,000 solar panels and is expected to be operational in late 2023. Cavalry Solar will be capable of producing enough energy to power 60,000 homes. Cavalry Solar is expected to generate approximately $25 million in additional revenue for White County over the life of the project and approximately 200 jobs during construction.
Adding these three solar projects is the next step in bringing NIPSCO’s customer-centric “Your Energy, Your Future” plan to life. The company plans to be coal-free by 2028 adding a combination of cleaner energy sources to its existing portfolio, which includes natural gas and hydroelectric generation. This generation transition 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. On average, this transition would save NIPSCO customers an estimated $105 per year, just by eliminating the fuel costs of running its coal-fired generating plants.
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.
— Solar Builder magazine