PLAINFIELD, Ind., Dec. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Duke Energy Indiana, the Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor, the Duke Energy Indiana Industrial Group, and Nucor Steel jointly notified the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission today that they are withdrawing their Sept. 17 settlement on cost increases associated with Duke Energy's (NYSE: DUK) Edwardsport coal gasification power plant near Vincennes, Ind. The parties agreed to enter into new settlement negotiations.
"This action is the best path forward for the Edwardsport project at this time," said James E. Rogers, Duke Energy chairman, president and chief executive officer. "While we are disappointed the original settlement is being withdrawn, we understand the parties' desire to negotiate a new settlement that is separate and apart from recent events.
"The support and cooperation of the settling parties is important to us, so we have agreed to re-examine and renegotiate the terms of the cost settlement. The merits of the Edwardsport plant are strong and construction continues to move forward. The total project is about 80 percent complete and we are on track to finish the plant by the fall of 2012."
"The OUCC continues to support the Edwardsport project for the reasons our agency has stated on numerous occasions," said Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor David Stippler. "However, due to recent revelations about communications between Duke Energy and the former IURC chairman, our office has called into question the integrity of the process that led to the settlement agreement. For these reasons, it is appropriate to reopen the negotiation process and take a fresh look at the issues addressed in this case."
The settlement was to be considered by the IURC Dec. 13 and 14. The groups have proposed a new schedule for commission consideration of the revised cost with hearings that -- if approved -- may begin as early as mid-March. Those dates are dependent upon commission scheduling and approval.
In April, the company announced that the project's scale and complexity would add approximately $530 million to the previously approved $2.35 billion estimate. That brought the total estimated cost of the plant to $2.88 billion.
The approximately 618-megawatt plant will use state-of-the-art technology to gasify coal, strip out pollutants, and then burn that cleaner gas to produce electricity. The plant's efficiency reduces its carbon emissions per megawatt-hour by nearly half.
As the first major new power plant built in Indiana in more than 20 years, the facility is a key step in modernizing the state's aging electric system. More information on the plant is available at http://news.duke-energy.com/2010/10/14/edwardsport/.
Duke Energy Indiana's operations provide approximately 6,800 megawatts of electricity capacity to approximately 780,000 customers, making it the state's largest electric supplier.
Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 4 million customers located in five states in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of approximately 11 million people. Its commercial power and international business
segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: http://www.duke-energy.com/. To learn more and contribute to the discussion about the energy issues of today and the possibilities of tomorrow see http://www.sheddingalight.org/.
Stephen De May
SOURCE Duke Energy