The affected plants include Unit 1 and Unit 3 at the Baldwin Power Station in Baldwin and Unit 2 at the Newton Power Station in Newton, and job losses will total 190. Both facilities will cease operations over the next year. Together, they generate 1,835 megawatts of electricity.
Dynegy officials said its decision to shut down operations at Baldwin and Newton was made after they again failed to recover their basic operating costs in the most recent Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) capacity auction.
The announcement follows a previous statement late last year that it would retire its 465-megawatt Wood River complex; that plant is expected to shut down in June.
“This is a difficult decision, and we don’t take it lightly. For 40 years, the employees of the Baldwin and Newton power stations have generated reliable and affordable power for the people of Illinois,” said Dynegy CEO Robert Flexon. “The men and women of these stations, just like the Wood River employees, have proudly and professionally served and safely operated these facilities for decades while contributing greatly to their communities.”
Flexon went on to express disappointment in Illinois officials, who opted not to resolve the market design deficiencies, which he said had the added benefit of retaining Illinois jobs and economic benefits.
“The only response from Illinois officials to date occurred last year when the attorney general’s office filed a complaint claiming that the clearing capacity price received by Dynegy for less than 10% of the company’s megawatts in MISO Zone 4, that was comparable to prices in northern Illinois and did not even cover Dynegy’s costs, was not just and reasonable,” he said, adding that the company spent more than a year defending itself against a claim that was baseless.
“Resolution of this issue in a way that serves Illinois as a whole can only be achieved with the immediate help and leadership of the Illinois state government for which we believe we have solutions, and we urgently need an audience. In the limited time left before closures occur, we are ready to work quickly with MISO, the state of Illinois, union leadership, and all stakeholders to rectify the situation and preserve the jobs and economic base in downstate Illinois, while continuing to provide safe, low cost, and reliable power to the region.
Dynegy has filed documentation with MISO indicating their plans, which the executive noted triggers a reliability review for each unit involved. If MISO determines the units aren’t needed for reliability, Dynegy expects to shut down operations at Newton Unit 2 in September, Baldwin Unit 1 in October, and Baldwin Unit 3 in March 2017.