Duke Energy just got approval to raise rates 18 percent to cover the continued rising price tag for its 630-MW planned coal plant in southwestern Indiana.

The new price tag? $2.35 billion, or $3,730/kW.

By my highly unscientific but quixotically regular analysis, that’s a new record, just topping AEP’s $3,700/kW proposed facility in Virginia. Way to go, Duke!

One note: This plant will not sequester its CO2, and $2.35 billion does not represent the full cost being borne by Indiana ratepayers:

On Wednesday, the commission also approved Duke Energy’s $17 million plan to study the plant’s potential to capture a portion of its carbon dioxide emissions as part of the company’s proposal to possibly store the gas permanently deep underground.

So not only is it expensive, but it’s also environmentally dangerous. But if we throw a few million ratepayer dollars at “studying” CO2 sequestration, maybe we can put a nice report together showing that someday in the future, it will only be expensive.

This apparently was insufficient to appease the environmental community:

Environmental and government watchdog groups oppose the plant and have sued to try to halt it, calling the project a huge waste of money that would be better spent on renewable energy such as wind farms. They also warn that its price tag could go even higher if Congress acts to impose caps on carbon dioxide emissions linked to global warming.

Crazy hippies. When will they learn? We need to burn more coal and raise power prices because coal is cheap. Why is that so hard to understand?