Since Vectren’s plan to build a large natural gas plant was rejected in April, the utility has been looking for other sources to replace its three retiring coal units. If the utility’s recent energy bids are any indication, we could see more renewables in the mix.
Much like the northern Indiana utility NIPSCO, Vectren turned to the market to find the best sources for its long-term energy plan — and it too mostly received bids for solar and wind projects.
But it’s too early to tell how the utility’s energy mix might change. Vectren communications director Natalie Hedde says a lot of factors go into these long-term plans.
“A balanced energy mix, but also takes into consideration, you know, and respects affordability, reliability. And you know, things as they rapidly evolve and energy market,” she says.
Kerwin Olson — executive director of the utility customer advocacy group, the Citizens Action Coalition — says he's cautiously optimistic that we'll see an outcome with Vectren similar to NIPSCO's.
"Because it's economics that rule the day, in the end, when it comes to utility resources and serving their customers. And wind and solar are proving the cheapest resources out there right now,” he says.
The public can attend meetings on Vectren’s 20-year plan. The next one is on Oct. 10.
Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.