INDIANAPOLIS, IN — “Peabody proposed the 1600 MW plant in 2001. But they were soon working aggressively with state power agencies, including the Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA), to persuade communities to sign long-term contracts to buy coal-fired electricity from the plant. Today, 217 towns and 17 electric co-ops, most of them in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, have signed on to buy this electricity. Among them are 52 Indiana communities, ranging in size from tiny villages like Advance and Jamestown up to mid-size cities like Richmond and Anderson.
These towns and cities get wholesale power through IMPA and they’re on the hook for the project’s rising costs. In 2004, Peabody said the Prairie State Energy Campus would cost $1.8 billion to build. Estimated costs had skyrocketed to $4.1 billion by 2007 and to $4.9 billion by 2010.
When selling communities on buying electricity from the plant, Peabody Energy and municipal power agencies promised them low-cost electricity for years, starting on day one of commercial operations, Sanzillo said. But the cost of wholesale electricity is over $80 per megawatt hour (MWh), when you take into account the additional payments made earlier this year, the group reported. Prairie State Generating Company said in a statement that it’s $50-$55 per MWh. In any case, the going rate for wholesale electricity in the region is $41 per MWh, according to the report.
— Dan Ferber, NUVO Newsweekly