EDWARDSPORT, Ind.. (WTHI) - The largest construction project in the history of the Wabash Valley is over and is now open for business.
The Duke Energy Coal Gasification Power Plant in Edwardsport is now on line and producing electricity.
Duke officials are now calling the operation the flagship of the power plant fleet. After five years of construction the Duke Energy power plant at Edwardsport is done.
The plant which uses a coal gasification process on a huge scale, has been a challenge to complete, but now it is on the grid.
"We're very proud of what we're doing and very happy the plant is running well," said General Manager, Jack Stultz. "And the things we did are beginning to pay off."
Part of the pay-off is a large scale system than not only removes many of the pollutants tied to coal fired plants but isolates them, so that they can be sold to agricultural, construction and pharmaceutical firms.
There's been a lot of changes in the energy market in the last few years. Coal used to be a cheap source of raw energy.
Now it's natural gas but the new plant has the flexibility to use both.
"We think about it in terms of the fuel supply," said Stultz. "You know, do we want natural gas, syn-gas and all those supplies and the answer is yes we do and I'm convinced we made the right decisions."
Decisions that officials say make the controversy that often surrounded the 3.3 billion plant worth it to the company and customers.
"It's more efficient," said Stultz. "It's significantly cleaner than anything we've got. It modernizes our fleet going forward, so for the next 30,40,50 years we have an asset that is going to prove its value to the nay sayers."
Something that will be pumping out more than 600-megawatts of energy from the Wabash Valley for a long time.
The plant has 140 full-time employees, but also will use around 1.7 million tons of coal each year creating an additional 170 mining jobs.
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