Global generator AES Corp. said it plans to build a large-scale natural gas-fired plant at an existing site in Indiana, part of a sweeping plan to shutter or renovate more than a dozen coal-fired generation units in Indiana and Ohio.

Subsidiary Indianapolis Power & Light Co. (IPL) completed “a very extensive, competitive evaluation process” before deciding to retire six coal-fired units at one location and repower or retire four others at a second Indiana-based generation site, said IPL CEO Ken Zagzebski. The targeted units collectively represent 600 MW of capacity.

The $631 million, 650 MW combined-cycle natural gas-fired generation plant is to be built at the Eagle Valley Generating Station near Martinsville, IN, in Morgan County. At the Harding Street Generating Station, IPL also is converting two units to natural gas from coal, totaling 200 MW. All of the new gas units are subject to approval of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

“Building a gas-powered plant is the most affordable and reliable solution for our customers and complements our generation portfolio that includes coal, gas, wind, solar and oil,” Zagzebski said. “These replacement generation projects are a significant investment that is needed to meet future electricity needs.”

Six year ago IPL obtained 86% of its electricity from coal-fired sources, and by 2017, natural gas, wind and solar will collectively account for nearly 44% of the total, said the CEO.

In Ohio, AES subsidiary Dayton Power & Light (DP&L) plans to retire six coal-fired units at the 390-MW Hutchings coal, gas and oil-fired plant near Miamisburg, OH in Montgomery County. The six coal units have a capacity of 365 MW. A 63 MW coal-fired unit, currently out of service, is to be retired by June. DP&L plans to retire the five other units by June 2015. DP&L also is considering whether to convert units from coal to gas.

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