Duke Energy Corporation will take a $220 million charge against earnings to cover some of the huge cost of building its 600-megawatt "clean coal" power plant in Indiana. Indiana regulators will begin hearings to determine how much Duke's customers will have to pay toward the cost of the Edwardsport facility. Duke now projects the plant's cost at $3 billion—$1 billion more than originally forecast. Consumer groups and large industrial power users in the state argue that much of that cost should be absorbed by Duke and its shareholders.
|Duke Energy's Edwardsport, Indiana 'clean coal' plant|
The plant will be one of the most expensive nonnuclear power plants ever built in the U.S. The project had been intended to show how coal could be converted into a clean-burning gas and used to make affordable electricity, but its rising costs make that goal more challenging. The plant is expected to boost electricity rates in Indiana when it enters service next year.
Regardless of the plant's eventual price tag, state regulators have agreed to let Duke's Indiana utility charge customers for $2.35 billion of Edwardsport's cost. The Charlotte, N.C., company and the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission are wrangling over the remainder, which tops $700 million. (WSJ, 10/21/2011)