Charah Solutions will acquire the Cheswick Generating Station, the Lefever Ash Landfill and the Monarch Wastewater Treatment Facility from GenOn. It said it will begin environmental remediation and sustainable redevelopment of the Pennsylvania properties upon closing.
The asset purchase agreement with GenOn was signed in December and the full transfer will take place in early April after the Cheswick Generating Station ceases electrical generation operation.
Charah has commenced the redevelopment and remediation planning efforts and will begin physical work after closing. GenOn will continue to maintain responsibility for the plant and operate the plant, the landfill and the wastewater treatment facility in the normal course of business through closing.
The Cheswick Generating Station, a 565-megawatt (MW) coal-fired plant operated by GenOn, located in Springdale, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh and along the Allegheny River, is expected to be deactivated on March 31. The 56-acre primary generating station site, along with an adjacent 27-acre parcel, consists of an operating rail line, a coal yard, bottom ash emergency and recycle ponds, waste ponds and a coal pile runoff pond, coal delivery equipment, and an ash handling parcel. Charah will be responsible for the shutdown and decommissioning of the coal power plant, the remediation of the two ash ponds and performing all environmental remediation and redevelopment work at the site.
The 182-acre Lefever Ash Landfill located three miles northwest of the Cheswick power plant is currently operating and provides disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCR) and residual waste from Cheswick under an active solid waste permit. Charah will be responsible for the closure design, remediation closure work and post-closure monitoring of the landfill.
Charah will also be responsible for day-to-day management and operations of the Monarch Wastewater Treatment Facility and for compliance with all applicable environmental regulations.
The company has retained Avison Young to provide real estate advisory, development, and brokerage services to oversee the redevelopment of the property and future sales of the remediated properties.
The existing power plant will be demolished, and potential redevelopment uses for the properties include renewable energy and battery storage options that utilize the existing transmission system, reuse of the switchyard, transportation and logistics that use the river shipping assets, and other potential industrial uses.
This is Charah’s fifth major Environmental Risk Transfer (ERT) project and the second major project with GenOn. In July 2021, the company acquired GenOn’s Avon Lake Generating Station and adjacent property, with the full transfer expected to occur in the first half of 2022. Charah said its ERT services model delivers compelling value to utility partners, shareholders, local communities and the environment.
“Our ERT services are innovative and sustainable solutions designed to meet the evolving and increasingly complex needs of our utility partners to lower their costs and meet their environmental commitments,” Charah Solutions President and CEO Scott Sewell said. “Many utilities are experiencing an increased need to retire and decommission older or less economically viable generating assets while minimizing costs and maximizing the value of the assets and improving the environment. The Cheswick project is another example of Charah Solutions providing a custom approach for these complex projects while sustainably remediating the site and redeveloping the properties in an environmentally responsible manner designed to create economic and environmental benefits for the entire community.”
In related news, Charah recently sold 80% of the real property acreage at the former Gibbons Creek power plant in Texas and expects to sell the remaining 20% in 2022.
A local investor group has purchased and closed on 4,860 acres of the 6,166-acre area, including the 3,500-acre reservoir, dam and spillway with the intent of future residential development. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Charah sold the property in 10 months. In October 2021, the company completed the implosion of the retired coal-fired power plant as part of the shutdown and decommissioning process. Environmental remediation work for the existing ash ponds and landfills is under way and ahead of schedule and is expected to continue through 2023.