By Timothy Cama - 08/15/14 03:54 PM EDT
The Indianapolis Power & Light Co. will shut down its last coal-fired generating unit in Indianapolis, a move environmentalists are cheering as a major victory.
The utility announced Friday that, subject to state approval, it plans to retire the final coal unit at its Harding Street Generating Station and completely convert the facility to use natural gas. It cited federal Environmental Protection Agency rules as one reason for the switch.
After switching the final unit to natural gas, IPL’s total portfolio will use 44 percent coal, down from 79 percent in 2007, the company said. The utility asked to convert two other units to natural gas earlier this year.
The Sierra Club said the Indianapolis unit is the 500th coal-fired boiler to announce a shutdown since it launched its Beyond Coal campaign in 2010.
“For the past two years, thousands of Indianapolis residents have demanded clean air for our community,” Jodi Perras, the Indiana representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, said in a statement. “Today, those calls have been answered and we’ll see an end to coal pollution in Marion County by 2016.”