CenterPoint Energy Seeks To Diversify Electric Generation Portfolio
As a number of CenterPoint Energy’s electric generation units are quickly coming upon the end of their useful lives, the company is embarking on a process to transition to new generation resources that will deliver an all-of-the-above, reliable energy mix while helping to position the state of Indiana as a national energy leader.
Following the 2019/2020 Integrated Resource Plan process, which included a series of four public meetings and engagement with dozens of large customer and business leaders to analyze their energy needs, it is clear CenterPoint Energy customers want the company to transition from a mostly coal-fired generation fleet to a mix of reliable generation that includes cleaner options. Renewable power has become more cost competitive and, when coupled with other resources such as natural gas, provides for cleaner, reliable power. Meanwhile, it’s expected some Indiana coal generation will remain part of CenterPoint Energy’s portfolio.
On Feb. 23, the company announced it is seeking approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to enter into an agreement on the acquisition of a 300-megawatt (MW) solar array and to enter into a power purchase agreement for an additional 100 MWs of solar energy.
“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 Steve Greenley, Senior Vice President, Generation Development.
This transition is underway and will lead to more economic development opportunities in the state and provide quality of life enhancements along the way to the many communities served. Less carbon-based fuel will continue to enhance local air quality while enabling additional job growth.
“We understand the complexity of the regional transmission market and our obligation to serve all customers while managing costs,” said Greenley. “Our plan saves customers $320 million over business as usual while enhancing reliability and sustainability paths for customers.”
CenterPoint Energy is also working with legislators to increase customer savings by piloting financing tools like securitization to generate additional, immediate savings, and a policy path to solve uneconomic, retiring generation asset problems.
The majority of CenterPoint Energy’s renewable mix will be located in Indiana providing additional tax base and construction jobs. This transition allows Indiana to lead on generation mix and control its own carbon destiny from increasing national policy pressure.
CenterPoint Energy’s commitment to Indiana remains strong. In 2020, the Foundation contributed nearly $6 million dollars in the state of Indiana. We are also looking at workforce development solutions to assist legacy generation workers prepare for opportunities supporting Indiana’s future.
Implementing a cleaner energy future will allow CenterPoint Energy and its customers to achieve carbon reduction goals, better serve our communities and neighbors in need, and provide the business and economic development tools needed to take Indiana to the next level.
CenterPoint Energy acquired Vectren Corporation in 2019 and serves 145,000 electric customers in the Evansville area, and about 800,000 natural gas customers in the southern two-thirds of the state. CenterPoint Energy is based in Houston and serves utility customers in eight states.