Indiana Michigan Power (I&M), an American Electric Power company, announced that it is issuing Request for Proposals (RFPs) for approximately 450 megawatts (MW) of additional generation from solar and wind resources, potentially combined with battery storage technology resources, as the company continues to diversify its generation fleet with more renewable energy.
Bids are expected to be received in January 2021. Contracts with selected bidders will be presented to the state regulatory commissions in Indiana and Michigan and, if approved, the renewable resources would begin serving I&M customers by the end of 2023.
The power generated by the new renewable resources will enable I&M to reliably serve customers as I&M’s methodical transition allows the company to evaluate and manage changes in costs, regulations, reliability and customer preference of various generation sources, it said in a press release.
The RFPs will provide I&M with options to replace the power currently provided by the two 1,300-MW generating units at the coal-fueled Rockport Plant. Rockport Unit 1 is scheduled to be retired by the end of 2028. Generation from Rockport Unit 2 will no longer serve I&M customers when the lease of the unit from its current owners expires at the end of 2022. Unit 2 may remain in service if its owners seek to sell the power it generates to other energy companies.
“We are proud of the employees who for decades made the Rockport Plant an important source of reliable and economical power for our customers and their legacy of safe operations and community service,” said Toby Thomas, President and Chief Operating Officer, Indiana Michigan Power.
The move to more renewable energy and the potential inclusion of battery storage would enhance I&M’s role in meeting AEP’s goal to reduce its carbon footprint by 70% by 2030. Two-thirds of the energy I&M generated in 2019 came from emission-free resources, including Cook Nuclear Plant.
“The people of I&M are dedicated to serving our customers reliably and in a manner that is cost-effective, while using state-of-the-art technology and increasing our emission-free resources. Our customers count on us to keep the lights on 24/7 and to be their energy provider into the future,” Thomas said. “It is important to everyone at I&M that our transition to utilize more emission-free technology be done in a way that benefits our customers. Seeking additional emission-free technology makes sense for us, our customers and the long-term growth of our service areas in Indiana and Michigan.”
The RFPs are expected to support I&M’s customer-focused transition to cleaner generation resources. I&M began purchasing power from an Indiana wind generation plant more than a decade ago. In 2015, I&M was the first major Indiana energy company to build, own and operate its own solar plant. Today, four I&M solar plants and power purchased from three Indiana wind farms generates enough energy to power more than 100,000 homes, said the company. I&M is building a fifth solar farm near South Bend, which is expected to be in service in 2021.