More of the electricity Richmond Power & Light purchases comes from renewables and nuclear generation.

The Indiana Municipal Power Agency, which supplies 61 communities with municipally owned utilities, has reduced its reliance on coal during the past decade. RP&L General Manager shared with his board of directors Oct. 2 parts of a presentation IMPA President Jack Alvey gave as guest speaker during RP&L’s Power Partners event Sept. 14.

IMPA generated 73.0% of its electricity with coal during 2013, but that number has dropped to 57.0% in 2023. During the past decade, IMPA’s use of renewables has grown from 4.3% to 13.0%. It has also grown its nuclear generation from 18.7% to 24.0% and generation with natural gas from 4.0% to 6.0%.

Solar panels are shown during IMPA’s November 2020 ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new park in the 900 block of North McMinn Road in Centerville. File photo by Jordan Auker.

Solar parks drive the renewables’ growth. IMPA now has 46 solar parks in 26 communities, according to Alvey’s presentation. Six active solar parks are in Richmond, with a seventh, a Round Barn Road park, scheduled to become active this month. An eighth park, which will be along U.S. 40 west of Richmond, is being planned.

The Round Barn Road park, which is across from Rose Hamilton Elementary School, has 15,000 solar panels that track the sun throughout the day. They will produce 4.35 megawatts of power, raising Richmond’s generation capacity to about 36 megawatts.

On Oct. 2, the six active Richmond facilities generated 258,025 kilowatt-hours of electricity to power 5,902 homes, according to data on IMPA’s website, Richmond solar parks connect to the utility’s distribution system, meaning the power is used locally.

Another solar park in Centerville generated 7,860 kilowatt hours to power 170 homes Oct. 2.

Foster also told the board, which is composed of Richmond Common Council members, that the first full week of October is Public Power Week nationally. Richmond is one of about 2,000 public-power communities nationwide that serve about 49 million residents.

Pickup bid

Foster opened one bid for a compact, extended-cab pickup truck for RP&L’s engineering department.

Cronin Automotive Group bid $43,628.88 for a 2023 Nissan Frontier the dealer has in stock. RP&L budgeted $45,000 this year for the pickup. The board referred the bid for evaluation.

Foster also received board permission to seek bids for drum-style wood chipper for the line department.

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A version of this article appeared in the October 11 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.