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August 30, 2013

Duke Energy to cease burning coal at Wabash River plant, watchdog groups say

TERRE HAUTE — A coalition of Indiana environmental and citizens groups, including the Sierra Club, Citizens Action Coalition, Valley Watch and Save the Valley, announced this morning a legal settlement with Duke Energy Indiana, which will stop burning coal at most of its Wabash River coal-fired power plant in Vigo County. The settlement further states, according to the group, that Duke Energy Indiana will invest in new renewable energy projects.

Prior to the settlement, Duke Energy had announced it planned to retire four, 1950s-vintage units totaling 350 megawatts at the station by the 2015 federal mercury rule deadline. In the agreement, the company agrees to complete the retirements by the compliance deadline or, if the mercury rule is vacated or delayed, by June 1, 2018, whichever occurs first, according to Duke Energy.

Under the terms of the settlement, Duke Energy will retire units 2, 3, 4 and 5 at the Wabash River plant. Duke Energy also had been exploring converting another unit at Wabash River Station to natural gas, and, under the settlement, the company agrees to cease burning coal at that 318-megawatt unit by June 1, 2018, according to Duke Energy.

The deadline will not prevent Duke Energy from converting the unit to natural gas earlier, the company said.

A total of 668 megawatts of coal-fired power will come offline as a part of this agreement, a news release from the environmental groups stated.

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