Sarah Steinberg and Robert Stoddard

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In Indiana, Fighting the Secret Bailout for Coal Plants: ‘Self-Scheduling’

Posted by Sarah Steinberg and Robert Stoddard on Sep 22, 2020 2:00:00 PM

Indiana Coal Self-Schedule border-745

The decline of coal has been well documented over the last decade, as it has gone from the majority electricity resource in the United States to less than a third of current power generation. At the same time, there have been many policy attempts to stop the retirement of uneconomic coal. For the first two years of the Trump Administration, several attempts were made – including use of the now-famous Defense Production Act – to bail out coal plants across the country. And some state legislatures – most notably in Indiana – have tried to keep utilities from transitioning from coal to advanced energy solutions. Now, the practice of “self-scheduling” coal plants – i.e., running them even when they are not the cheapest resource available for customers – is emerging as a coal-protection mechanism, especially in the MISO and SPP markets. In the first half of 2020, several state commissions, including the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, have begun to more closely review whether utilities under their jurisdiction engage in this practice. In July, Advanced Energy Economy intervened in an Indiana proceeding to argue against Duke Energy Indiana’s self-scheduling practice and teamed up with Berkeley Research Group to show how advanced energy resources can replace these coal plants and save Indiana ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars.  

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Topics: PUCs, Regulatory, Wholesale Markets