Vistra Energy (Irving, TX) is retiring four power plants in order to meet the requirements of the recently approved revisions to the Multi-Pollutant Standard 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 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.
"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 CEO Curt Morgan said in a release. "By far, the hardest decisions we make in our business are those that significantly impact our people. As always, we will do right by those who are impacted by this announcement. Our employees take pride in the work they do, and we appreciate their decades of service providing reliable and affordable power to Illinois, particularly in years like this one with periods of extreme cold and heat."
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.
Approximately 300 jobs will be eliminated across the four plant sites. Vistra is providing outplacement services and working with state workforce agencies to assist the employees impacted by the closures.
Vistra is one of the largest competitive residential electricity providers in the country, and its retail brands serve approximately 3.7 million residential, commercial, and industrial customers with electricity and gas. The company's generation fleet totals approximately 41,000 megawatts of highly-efficient generation capacity, with a diverse portfolio of natural gas, nuclear, coal, solar, and battery storage facilities. The company is currently developing the largest battery energy storage system of its kind in the world – a 300-MW/1,200-MWh system in Moss Landing, Cali.