Duke Energy Indiana Pres. Esamann says: “Duke prudently ran clean-coal project”; October 27, 2011Posted by Laura Arnold in Duke Energy, Edwardsport IGCC Plant, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).
Tags: Duke Energy Edwardsport IGCC plant cost over-runs
Dear Blog Readers:
In an attempt to allow you to hear both sides of the Duke Energy Edwardsport cost over run story, I am reprinting this piece from the Indianapolis Star which ran on 10/26/2011 which was the opening day of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) hearings on this issue.
Even better though you can listen to Duke Energy Chairman and CEO James Rogers yourself on this matter.
There is now a link on the IURC website which provides live streaming of the hearings at: http://www.in.gov/iurc/2624.htm.
Please note this is the first hearing using the IURC’s new streaming video equipment and therefore, it is still in beta testing and may experience technical difficulties.
Cross examination of James Rogers continues Thursday morning 10/27/2011 at 9:30 am. Enjoy.
Laura Ann Arnold
In the days ahead, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission will conduct public hearings on Duke Energy Indiana’s clean-coal electric power plant in Edwardsport. Meanwhile, plant construction is winding down and extensive start-up testing is under way. By about this time next year, the plant will provide cleaner, more efficient energy to Indiana.
The regulatory hearings will provide all parties a forum to make their case. We will present a strong case that Duke Energy managed this project prudently. We welcome the opportunity for the project to be judged on its merits and not the latest newspaper article. In that regard, I found The Indianapolis Star’s Oct. 20 story (“What’s the big secret?”) followed by an Oct. 24 editorial (“Too many secrets with Duke”) misleading. It states that the documents associated with this project have been held secret. Actually, the opposite is the case.
We have shared an enormous amount of information — tens of thousands of documents — in an effort to be responsive and transparent. Some of the information is filed confidentially, largely because our vendors require that or it is proprietary to our business.
But here’s the key point: The contents of the documents that are relevant to the case are available in their entirety to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and its staff as well as groups such as the state’s Utility Consumer Counselor, which represents all Indiana residents. Other groups representing customers, such as industrial energy consumers and the Citizens Action Coalition, have complete access as well.
Due to the compressed filing schedule for the case, some documents also were filed confidentially until the groups in the case had time to sort out what would be released publicly. In fact, we were discussing those issues with consumer groups last week as The Star article was published.
It’s been 30 years since we last built a major Indiana power plant, and constructing a plant that meets today’s environmental requirements and produces reliable power is expensive. It’s harder today for traditional coal-burning technology to measure up to clean-air rules, which is a challenge for states such as ours that depend on coal to fuel much of their electricity. The new generation of power plants is environmentally cleaner, but also more costly to build. And cost is at the core of the upcoming regulatory hearings.
But while our new, state-of-the-art facility costs more than we anticipated, we have taken significant steps to protect customers.
We have proposed a cost cap so consumers will not be asked to pay for construction costs above $2.72 billion, excluding financing costs. In fact, our shareholders have assumed an additional charge of $265 million to complete the project. We also have aggressively pursued more than $460 million in tax incentives that will reduce the cost of this plant for our customers initially and over the plant’s life.
Much has been written and said about this plant, and more news coverage is sure to follow these hearings. During our testimony, the public will hear from independent, respected experts who will testify that the vast majority of decisions we made were reasonable. The commission’s hearings are the best forum for a full debate of these facts.
Esamann is president of Duke Energy Indiana.