PLAINFIELD, Ind. -- It's been operating for more than 50 years as a coal-fired power plant on Riverwood Avenue in Noblesville, but Cinergy/PSI's Noblesville Generating Station began a new era of service this month as a modernized, natural gas-fired plant. On Monday, U.S. Assistant Energy Secretary Vicky Bailey, Indiana Lieutenant Governor Joe Kernan, Hamilton County Commissioners Christine Altman, and other special guests joined Cinergy Chairman Jim Rogers in dedicating the repowered Noblesville Generating Station.
Construction has been underway since January, 2002, to convert the plant to natural gas and expand its ability to generate power. The improvements will triple the plant's electric generating capacity while reducing its overall emissions to the environment. State regulators granted Cinergy/PSI approval in December 2001 to convert the plant from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas. The plant serves Indiana customers and demand on the PSI system has been growing each year.
"Eighteen months is a remarkably short period of time to complete a project such as this," said PSI President Doug Esamann. "Many employees and construction workers came together to make it possible for this plant to be ready for summer when demand for power is at its highest. In addition to the added power, this project reduces plant emissions and nearly eliminates any thermal impact on the White River. We've taken a 50-year-old plant, expanded it and improved the environment at the same time."
Built in 1950, Noblesville Station was originally a coal-fired plant with two steam turbines that generated approximately 90 megawatts of electricity. Cinergy/PSI decommissioned the coal-burning portion of the plant and installed three new combustion turbines that run on natural gas. The old turbines were retained, but to increase the plant's efficiency, they now run on steam supplied from the new turbines. Such exhaust heat is usually wasted, but capturing it with "heat recovery steam generators" to repower the old turbines makes the plant very efficient. In fact, the converted plant will be 40 percent more efficient in converting energy to electricity than the existing units."
The total electric generating capacity of the modified station will be approximately 300 megawatts. The facility is expected to operate about 50 percent of the year, primarily during the day and especially during hot periods when electric demand is high.
Cinergy Corp is the patent company of PSI Energy Inc., Indiana's largest electric supplier serving more than 700,000 customers in portions of 69 of the state's 92 counties.