Vistra Energy and its subsidiaries announced their intention to retire four coal-fired power plants to meet the requirements of the recently approved revisions to the Multi-Pollutant Standard (MPS) rule imposed by the Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB). This includes the 915-megawatt (MW) Coffeen Power Plant, 425-MW Duck Creek Power Plant (in Canton), 434-MW Havana Power Plant, and 294-MW Hennepin Power Plant. All of these plants are more than 40 years old.
The company said without the rule revisions, its entire fleet was at risk of being retired. The rule will require a reduction in annual mass caps for SO2 and NOx and for the company to permanently shut down 2,000 MW of capacity by the end of the year, pending approval by grid operators Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) and PJM Interconnection.
The retirement of the four plants will reduce annual allowable SO2 and NOx emissions in the MPS group of plants, driving total allowable emissions down by 57% and 61%, respectively, from that allowed under the former MPS rule, the company said.
“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,” Vistra President and CEO Curt Morgan said. “By far, the hardest decisions we make in our business are those that significantly impact our people.”
Approximately 300 jobs will be eliminated. Vistra said it is providing outplacement services and working with workforce agencies to assist employees who are impacted by the closures.
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.