CenterPoint Energy seeks approval for 400 MW of solar power for Indiana utility customers

CenterPoint Energy (CNP) announced its Indiana-based electric and natural gas business, CenterPoint Energy Indiana South, is seeking approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to enter into an agreement on the acquisition of a 300-MW solar array as part of the company’s long-term electric generation transition plan announced in June 2020. The company is also requesting approval to enter into a PPA for an additional 100 MW of solar energy.

CenterPoint Energy is seeking to enter into an agreement with Capital Dynamics, the company that will build the 300-MW utility-owned project in Posey County, Indiana. Arevon Energy Management and energy company Tenaska are co-developing the project. CenterPoint Energy is also proposing to purchase additional solar power from Clēnera, which is developing a solar project in Southwestern Indiana, under a 25-year contract. The addition of the 400 MW of solar through the Capital Dynamics and PPA agreements supports CenterPoint Energy’s goal to reduce operational emissions by 70% by 2035.

Together, the 400 MW represent the next component of the company’s Smart Energy Future plan to meet stakeholder sustainability goals and implements the most economic path forward as outlined in last summer’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The plan details an all-of-the-above approach including renewables, natural gas and coal to ensure regional reliability and includes flexible generation to meet seasonal peak loads.

“As one of the largest single-sited solar arrays in the Midwest, these significant renewable resources would serve our local electric customers, providing a low-cost, stable energy option,” said Steve Greenley, senior VP, generation development for CenterPoint Energy. “We are confident we have chosen the right companies with the right experience for projects of this scale.”

Following the completion of the most recent IRP in June 2020, which was greatly influenced by customer input and a request for proposal including all sources of generation, CenterPoint Energy has been working with Capital Dynamics to explore opportunities for the eventual development of the Posey County property. Following all required approvals, the solar array will be located on approximately 2,500 acres and will consist of more than 730,000 solar panels. The facility is expected to be fully operational in 2023, generating enough power to meet the needs of more than 50,000 households per year and helping large customers achieve their individual sustainability goals.

“Capital Dynamics is proud to support CenterPoint Energy’s efforts to deliver low-cost, sustainable energy generation to its customers in Posey County,” said Martin Hahn, CEO of Capital Dynamics. “The project is expected to provide substantial economic benefits to local communities and help the state of Indiana take another step towards meeting its clean energy and climate goals. We thank our partners in Posey County for supporting this important initiative.”

Construction of the solar project with Capital Dynamics will begin upon the receipt of necessary authorization and permits from the IURC. A decision on CenterPoint Energy’s request is expected in late 2021 or early 2022. The initial construction phase will require establishing a sub-station to interconnect with CenterPoint Energy’s power grid.

“The construction of this solar array and the additional energy obtained through the power purchase agreement will further CenterPoint Energy’s Smart Energy Future strategy. Ensuring continued reliability, addressing sustainability needs for the region, and tailored to utility ownership values, these projects will contribute significantly to CenterPoint Energy’s commitment to deliver clean and reasonably priced energy to its customers,” said Greenley.

During the proposed 14- to 18-month construction timeline, the project will provide approximately 250 full-time jobs. Additionally, $47.8 million will be contributed to Posey County during construction, as well as $1.2 million in property taxes per year during the solar array’s operation.

Construction on the secondary solar array will begin upon receipt of necessary authorization and permits, with a decision on CenterPoint Energy’s request also expected in late 2021 or early 2022. Scheduled to be in service by 2023, CenterPoint Energy will contract 100 MW of the total 200-MW array, which will generate enough power to meet the needs of more than 18,500 homes per year.

Jared McKee, Vice President of Business Development for Clēnera said, “We thank CenterPoint Energy for partnering with Clēnera to acquire clean energy from one of our solar projects. Our team looks forward to the completion of this solar project and assisting CenterPoint Energy in meeting the future energy needs of its southwestern Indiana electric customers.”

Greenley added, “CenterPoint Energy thanks Posey County representatives and other project stakeholders for their support of these projects and is pleased to be working with trusted developers in pursuit of continued renewable growth in the communities we serve.”

News item from CenterPoint Energy