Vistra Energy To Close Four Power Plants
August 21, 2019 Email This Story Copyright 2010-19 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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Vistra Energy and its subsidiaries today announced the four Illinois power plants that will retire in order to meet the requirements of the recently approved revisions to the Multi-Pollutant Standard (MPS) rule imposed by the Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB).
Without this rule change, the company's entire downstate fleet was at risk of near imminent retirement, the company said
The company will close the following four coal-fueled power plants in Illinois: Coffeen Power Plant, Duck Creek Power Plant (in Canton), Havana Power Plant, and Hennepin Power Plant.
These plant retirements are required by the revised MPS rule, which regulates emissions at eight power plants operated by Vistra subsidiaries. The revised rule, which also calls for a reduction in annual mass caps for SO2 and NOx, requires that the company permanently shut down 2,000 MW of capacity from the eight MPS group of plants by the end of the year, pending approval by grid operators, Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) and PJM Interconnection, and approval of the termination of certain tariffs by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In addition, the revised rule requires adjustments of these annual caps as additional power plant units are shut down or transferred. As a result, the retirement of the four plants will further reduce annual allowable SO2 and NOx emissions in the MPS group of plants, driving total allowable emissions down by 57 and 61 percent, respectively, from that allowed under the former MPS rule.
"Even though today's retirement announcements were inevitable due to the changing regulatory environment and unfavorable economic conditions in the MISO market, they are nonetheless difficult to make," said Curt Morgan, Vistra's president and chief executive officer.
The decision to retire these four plants resulted from a plant-by-plant analysis that evaluated several factors in making retirement decisions, including ensuring compliance with the new emissions caps set forth in the revised MPS rule, plant economics, federal energy regulations, and MISO market rules. In addition, consideration was given to prioritize retirement of higher emitting plants as suggested by the IEPA and IPCB along with the other factors listed above which resulted in a balanced mix of higher and lower emitting plant retirements.
As part of the closure process, the company is filing the required notices with MISO, PJM, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. If it is determined that the units are not needed for reliability, Vistra expects to cease operations at all four sites by the end of the year. The company will take the necessary steps to responsibly decommission the facilities in accordance with all federal and state regulations.
Vistra reiterated its support for legislation that, "would provide a pathway to reinvest and repurpose its existing coal-fueled power plant sites into solar and battery energy storage facilities."
Vistra said that the Coal to Solar and Energy Storage Act of 2019 (see details here), "would allow the company to reuse substantial transmission infrastructure and its existing footprint of available land at its coal-fueled power plants to develop renewable energy facilities, mitigating employment and property tax impacts to plant communities and helping Illinois meet its clean energy goals."
Details on the MPS-Impacted Power Plants:
Coffeen Power Plant
Age: ~54 years (1965)
Duck Creek Power Plant
Age: ~43 years (1976)
Havana Power Plant
Age: ~41 years (1978)
Hennepin Power Plant
Age: ~66 years (1953)