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NIPSCO Continues Path Toward Lower-Cost, Sustainable and Reliable Energy Future


MERRILLVILLE, Ind., Oct. 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Northern Indiana Public Service Company LLC (NIPSCO), a subsidiary of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI), today announced its refined plans for the future of its electric generation portfolio as part of the 2021 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) public advisory process.

The company identified a Preferred Energy Resource Plan that refines the timeline to retire the Michigan City Generating Station to occur between 2026 and 2028.  The Plan calls for the replacement of the retiring units with a diverse portfolio of resources including Demand Side Management resources, incremental solar, stand-alone energy storage and upgrades to existing facilities at the Sugar Creek Generating Station, among other steps.  Additionally, the plan calls for a natural gas peaking unit to replace existing vintage gas peaking units at the R.M. Schahfer Generating Station to support system reliability and resiliency, as well as upgrades to the transmission system to enhance its electric generation transition.

Importantly, this plan does not alter NIPSCO's previously stated goal of a 90 percent reduction in carbon emissions (from a 2005 baseline) by 2030.

"We're on an industry-leading path to shift toward lower-cost and reliable forms of energy for our customers," said Mike Hooper, NIPSCO president. "As we continue this journey, we recognize the importance of maintaining a diverse energy portfolio that enables flexibility to adapt to evolving market rules, policy and technology advancements, while providing additional time for continued research and refinement of our long-term energy strategy. Meanwhile, careful consideration for how this transition affects our workforce and local communities is a critical focus area as the plan continues to move forward."

NIPSCO outlined the options considered for its long-term electric generation plans at a public meeting today with customers, consumer representatives, environmental organizations, regulators and other stakeholders taking part in the company's Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) ? a regulatory process used in Indiana and other states to thoroughly evaluate and outline how electric utilities plan to serve customers' energy needs in the future.

NIPSCO considered a full spectrum of future scenarios as part of its analysis. Included was a request for proposals (RFP) solicitation that provided concrete data across a variety of technologies and understanding around the landscape of actionable projects to help inform the IRP process.

Consistent with previous analyses, early retirement of coal units is still cost effective for customers and NIPSCO has refined the retirement timing of Michigan City Generating Station unit 12 to occur between 2026 and 2028.  The remaining coal units at the R.M. Schahfer Generating Station are on track to retire by 2023 as previously announced.  NIPSCO operates two vintage gas peaking units ? Units 16A and 16B ? at the Schahfer Generating Station which were also announced to retire between 2025 and 2028.

NIPSCO plans to continue incorporating the already announced wind, solar and solar plus storage replacement resources for the scheduled 2023 retirement of the Schahfer coal generation.*

Additionally, the company may pursue potential hydrogen pilots and other emerging storage technologies identified as potential pathways toward further Decarbonization of the generation portfolio in the long term.

With enhancing reliability of the system a top priority. The Preferred Plan has identified a number of transmission upgrades to be completed in advance of the retirement of the Michigan City Generating Station. Work on those projects will begin in 2022 to align with the refined retirement timing.

During today's public meeting, NIPSCO leaders stressed the importance of stakeholder feedback in the IRP process.  The company has been ? and will continue ? working with stakeholders and regulators to solicit input as NIPSCO finalizes the plans prior to submitting to the IURC by Nov. 15, 2021.

Current Project Profile List

NIPSCO continues to make progress on its 14 previously announced renewable energy projects* including wind, solar and solar plus battery resources, which are all expected to be completed between now and the end of 2023.

These projects were selected following a comprehensive review of bids submitted through the all-source RFP process that NIPSCO conducted in 2018 and again in late 2019 ? which continues to affirm the conclusions of the 2018 NIPSCO IRP, that wind and solar resources were shown to be lower-cost options for customers compared to today's energy mix. Projects are listed with estimated in-service dates.

These projects have been approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).  NIPSCO has invested in these projects through a variety of commercial agreements including joint ventures and power purchase agreements that take full advantage of federal tax credits to our customers benefit.

Today's announcement is part of the company's customer-centric "Your Energy, Your Future" initiative, which includes the generation transition plan at NIPSCO.  Learn about NIPSCO's "Your Energy, Your Future" plans and the latest information at NIPSCO.com/future.  More information about NIPSCO's electric supply strategies and the IRP process can be found at NIPSCO.com/IRP.

*NIPSCO may sell the "Renewable Energy Credits" from this generation to a third party because this helps keep our energy more affordable for our customers.

About NIPSCO

Northern Indiana Public Service Company LLC (NIPSCO), with headquarters in Merrillville, Indiana, has proudly served the energy needs of northern Indiana for more than 100 years. As Indiana's largest natural gas distribution company and the second-largest electric distribution company, NIPSCO serves approximately 850,000 natural gas and 480,000 electric customers across 32 counties. NIPSCO is part of NiSource's (NYSE: NI) six regulated utility companies. NiSource is one of the largest fully regulated utility companies in the United States, serving approximately 3.7 million natural gas and electric customers through its local Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands. More information about NIPSCO and NiSource is available at NIPSCO.com and NiSource.com.

About NiSource

NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) is one of the largest fully-regulated utility companies in the United States, serving approximately 3.2 million natural gas customers and 500,000 electric customers across six states through its local Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands. Based in Merrillville, Indiana, NiSource's approximately 7,500 employees are focused on safely delivering reliable and affordable energy to our customers and communities we serve. NiSource is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability - North America Index. Additional information about NiSource, its investments in modern infrastructure and systems, its commitments and its local brands can be found at www.nisource.com. Follow us at www.facebook.com/nisource, www.linkedin.com/company/nisource or www.twitter.com/nisourceinc. NI-F

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains "forward-looking statements," within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"). Investors and prospective investors should understand that many factors govern whether any forward-looking statement contained herein will be or can be realized. Any one of those factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning our plans, strategies, objectives, expected performance, expenditures, recovery of expenditures through rates, stated on either a consolidated or segment basis, and any and all underlying assumptions and other statements that are other than statements of historical fact. Expressions of future goals and expectations and similar expressions, including "may," "will," "should," "could," "would," "aims," "seeks," "expects," "plans," "anticipates," "intends," "believes," "estimates," "predicts," "potential," "targets," "forecast," and "continue," reflecting something other than historical fact are intended to identify forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are based on assumptions that management believes to be reasonable; however, there can be no assurance that actual results will not differ materially.

Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the projections, forecasts, estimates and expectations discussed in this press release include, among other things, our ability to execute our business plan or growth strategy, including utility infrastructure investments; potential incidents and other operating risks associated with our business; our ability to adapt to, and manage costs related to, advances in technology; impacts related to our aging infrastructure; our ability to obtain sufficient insurance coverage and whether such coverage will protect us against significant losses; the success of our electric generation strategy; construction risks and natural gas costs and supply risks; fluctuations in demand from residential and commercial customers; fluctuations in the price of energy commodities and related transportation costs or an inability to obtain an adequate, reliable and cost-effective fuel supply to meet customer demands; the attraction and retention of a qualified workforce and ability to maintain good labor relations; our ability to manage new initiatives and organizational changes; the performance of third-party suppliers and service providers; potential cyber-attacks; any damage to our reputation; any remaining liabilities or impact related to the sale of the Massachusetts Business; the impacts of natural disasters, potential terrorist attacks or other catastrophic events; the impacts of climate change and extreme weather conditions; our debt obligations; any changes to our credit rating or the credit rating of certain of our subsidiaries; any adverse effects related to our equity units; adverse economic and capital market conditions or increases in interest rates; economic regulation and the impact of regulatory rate reviews; our ability to obtain expected financial or regulatory outcomes; continuing and potential future impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic; economic conditions in certain industries; the reliability of customers and suppliers to fulfill their payment and contractual obligations; the ability of our subsidiaries to generate cash; pension funding obligations; potential impairments of goodwill; changes in the method for determining LIBOR and the potential replacement of the LIBOR benchmark interest rate; the outcome of legal and regulatory proceedings, investigations, incidents, claims and litigation; potential remaining liabilities related to the Greater Lawrence Incident; compliance with the agreements entered into with the U.S. Attorney's Office to settle the U.S. Attorney's Office's investigation relating to the Greater Lawrence Incident; compliance with applicable laws, regulations and tariffs; compliance with environmental laws and the costs of associated liabilities; changes in taxation; and other matters set forth in Part I, Item 1, "Business," Item 1A, "Risk Factors" and Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," of the company's annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020; and Part II, Item 1A, "Risk Factors," of the company's quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2021, many of which risks are beyond our control. In addition, the relative contributions to profitability by each business segment, and the assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements relating thereto, may change over time.

All forward-looking statements are expressly qualified in their entirety by the foregoing cautionary statements. We undertake no obligation to, and expressly disclaim any such obligation to, update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events or changes to the future results over time or otherwise, except as required by law.

 

SOURCE NIPSCO


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