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Monday, May 10, 2021

Economic impact of AEP closure

Environmental pressures forcing the future closure of any portion of the Indiana Michigan Rockport Plant will bring severe negative economic impact on Spencer County, Indiana. Although this county is home to two solar power projects, and the recruitment of a third one, those solar projects will not come close to replacing electricity produced by either of the units at the Rockport power plant. Nor will the solar projects replace any of the high-paying jobs in the facility. Solar is great, but it is not enough yet.

The Indiana-Michigan Rockport Plant is significantly lowering its environmental footprint, and the plant continues to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to successfully improve air quality. The facility employs over 200 of the region’s brightest, most qualified production and management people, not to mention hundreds of additional highly skilled tradespersons who are building even more air quality enhancements there. It is important to note that the plant operates efficiently within its strict license parameters.

The Rockport Plant is Spencer County’s largest financial and in-kind contributor to quality of life initiatives, and to the community’s charitable causes. It has the greatest positive economic impact on the South Spencer County School Corporation as well as the Rockport and Spencer County tax base. It manufactures enough electricity into the power grid to supply the equivalent of 600,000 homes in America. Much appreciation is owed to this gentle giant. It will be a struggle to replace its contribution.

I am recruiting large technology investments that require much electricity. It is discouraging that America is meanwhile dismantling industries that make this country irresistible to thousands of immigrants each day. I hope that someday, alternative power sources can catch up with the amounts of electricity produced at power plants to power our homes, hospitals, businesses and amenities, including this computer.

Tom Utter, Lincolnland Economic Development Corporation

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