Across the country and around the world, coal is being set aside as the primary energy producer for grid-scale suppliers. In Indiana, that’s meant a sizeable investment in energy storage that will save consumers millions.
Coal-fired plants are facing sweeping retirements in the past several years, and that trend is expected to gather momentum in the months and years ahead. Last month, Northeastern Rural Electric Membership Corporation, announced that they would be starting a five-year plan to bring 108 MWh of energy storage to Indiana. The project will help provide power more sustainably by being implemented during peak load hours across the region, lowering consumers’ monthly payments, and serving as an emergency energy supply in the event of inclement weather or natural disaster.
The savings alone make a difference; the project is expected to save over $35 million in energy costs by households and businesses in the region over the course of twenty years. NREMC is the third-largest rural provider and helps power over 30,000 homes. Two separate sites, one in Allen County and the other in Whitley County, will start the process and cover the energy storage capacity of 46 MWh between the two plants.
Indiana is an emerging renewable energy market due to the accelerated closure of coal energy facilities in the Midwest and in this state in particular.
That move has pushed the state’s biggest energy suppliers to make sustainable commitments, even if they’re currently falling behind. Northern Indiana Public Service Company announced in 2018 that they will completely end its coal dependency by 2028. NIPSCO supplies power to 1.2 million people, with immediate plans to build 900 MW of solar by the end of 2023.
Traditionally, states like California, Texas, and Massachusetts have been seen as the driving entities in renewable energy and energy storage, but it’s in the Midwest where many coal plants are closing at the fastest rate. That’s driven states like Indiana and others to accelerate plans to seek more renewable energy options and get projects underway.
It’s going to take years for the Midwest to make the move to renewable energy and achieve its goals, but the time to get started is right now.