Massive Rockport Super Polluter Coal Plant to Retire by 2028

Utility plans to add 16 GW in renewables nationwide

Melissa Williams,

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — AEP/Indiana-Michigan Power (I&M) has announced a full retirement of the Rockport Super Polluter coal plant by 2028.

Rockport is located about 35 miles east of Evansville, along the Ohio River. Evansville is surrounded by four Super Polluters and is burdened by more industrial toxic pollution from coal-burning plants than any other midsize or large city in the country, according to an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity.

Rockport Unit 1 came online in 1984 and is owned by American Electric Power and operated by its subsidiary I&M. In 2019, AEP agreed in a settlement negotiated by Sierra Club attorney Kristin Henry to retire Unit 1 by 2028, making the 1,300 MW unit the largest single coal-burning unit to announce early retirement since the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign launched in 2010.

AEP/I&M has announced it will buy Unit 2 from its corporate owners when the lease expires in 2022 and said the acquisition “will ensure both Rockport Plant units are retired by the end of 2028.” Unit 2 is also 1,300 MW.

Sierra Club applauds AEP’s proposal to add 16 GW of renewable energy nationwide and will continue to engage in I&M’s 20-year energy planning process to ensure significant renewable energy is built in Indiana to replace the Rockport units.

“We welcome I&M’s decision to fully retire the Rockport Super Polluter, one of the biggest and dirtiest coal plants in the country,” said Wendy Bredhold, senior representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in Indiana. “Southwest Indiana has long been a sacrifice zone to coal-burning, and those of us who live here have suffered the consequences with our health. While it’s worrisome that I&M’s acquisition of Unit 2 could extend the life of that coal unit, the purchase does provide certainty that we lack with the current, complex ownership structure. We’ll continue to call on I&M to retire it sooner and we'll hold I&M to its pledge to replace Rockport with clean energy."

Dori Chandler, interim executive director and Rev. Kimberly Koczan, of Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light, added, “Hoosiers of Faith commend the actions of I&M to embrace sustainable energy and eliminate out-of-date coal-burning plants by committing to the closure of the Rockport generating plants. We also celebrate impacted communities who have asked their energy provider for years to transition to sustainable and clean energy, for cleaner air, cleaner water, and reduced climate change impacts. This is their victory.”

Larry Gist, president of the NAACP, Fort Wayne Branch-3049, said, “This announcement is very timely and welcome—but we can’t forget that for thousands of Hoosier families living in urban and rural poverty, the real threats are the ancient evils of ignorance, crime and disease. True environmental justice means ensuring that all people can live free of these ills.”


About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit