Duke Energy closing southern Indiana power plant early


NEW ALBANY, Ind. — Duke Energy plans to close a 63-year-old coal-fired power plant in southern Indiana months earlier than had been expected.

The utility’s R. Gallagher power plant, which boasts twin smokestacks that have long towered over the Ohio River city of New Albany, was scheduled to be retired in 2022. But the company recently announced that the plant will close by June 1.

The Gallagher station went online in 1958 in New Albany. A second unit began generating electricity in 1959, followed by two more units in 1960 and 1961 at the plant, located just north of Louisville, Kentucky.

Two units were retired in early 2012 after a federal jury ruled that illegal modifications had been made to two of the units, causing violations of the Clean Air Act. Pollution-control equipment was installed in the other two units, which burn low-sulfur coal to reduce emissions.

The Gallagher station operated at a limited capacity in recent years, and lower power demand during the pandemic has further reduced operations, said Duke Energy spokeswoman Angeline Protogere.

Protogere said the closure is not expected to disrupt service in the area, noting that the company’s other plants and power resources meet current needs, the News and Tribune reported.

Activity at the site could still continue for several years, however, as the company dismantles the facility and closes on-site coal ash basins.

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