Indiana Michigan Power, an American Electric Power company, submitted a plan with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission that calls for adding more than 2,000 megawatts of wind and solar energy generation by 2028.
The Powering the Next Tomorrow plan is designed to ensure reliable, sustainable energy for I&M customers from a resilient grid using diverse generation sources.
“I&M is pleased to continue its responsible, systematic transition to cleaner generation sources while ensuring we will meet our customers’ needs for safe, reliable energy long into the future,” said Steve Baker, president and chief operating officer of I&M. “I&M is Powering the Next Tomorrow by harnessing energy from the sun and wind, while ensuring we continue to have the necessary resources to power the homes, businesses and factories we serve 24/7.”
I&M’s intentions are described in its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which provides a detailed analysis of future energy needs and how the company will meet those needs over the next 20 years. Though long-term plans are subject to revisions, I&M’s near-term plans to add more than 2,000 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar by 2028 have a higher degree of certainty. The new clean resources are expected to generate enough energy to power 400,000 typical homes.
The first step will occur in coming months, when I&M issues a request for proposal (RFP) for approximately 800 MW of wind and approximately 500 MW of solar to meet customer needs, with half of those resources generating energy in 2025 and the remainder by 2026. A second RFP is planned for later seeking proposals for about 800 MW of solar, 60 MW of battery storage and 1,000 MW from gas “peaking” units to meet the needs by 2028. Together, the new resources would more than quadruple I&M’s current solar and wind generation.
I&M continues to evaluate the best ways to ensure customers have reliable power 24/7/365, including when the sun doesn’t shine or wind doesn’t blow. With the retirement of I&M’s coal-fueled Rockport Plant scheduled by 2028, the company’s plans include natural-gas “peaking” units that are expected to be the most cost-effective, reliable source of additional power. These resources would generate power only during periods of high energy use and would potentially utilize hydrogen as a future fuel source to optimize environmental performance.
Powering the Next Tomorrow significantly reduces reliance on coal-fueled generation and is another step toward supporting parent company AEP’s goals of achieving net zero carbon by 2050.
Including Cook Nuclear Plant, wind and solar resources as well as power from six water-powered hydro-electric plants, 85% of the energy I&M generated in 2020 was carbon-emission free.
I&M is required to submit a 20-year plan to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission every three years. The plan was developed during 2021 and included five meetings with stakeholders representing a variety of interests.