Vistra Energy to close small waste coal plant in PJM
- Vistra Energy on Friday announced it would close a 51 MW waste coal power plant in McAdoo, Pa., because the plant is uneconomic and its financial outlook is negative.
- Vistra subsidiary Luminant filed a notice of suspension of operations with PJM Interconnection and made other mandatory regulatory notifications last week. The plant is expected to close later this year.
- News of the pending closure aligns with Vistra's recent decisions and an industry-wide decline for coal. Last year Vistra announced plans to close 4,200 MW of its Texas coal fleet. Earlier this year environmental groups issued a report concluding Vistra could also retire eight coal plants in southern Illinois while saving customers billions.
President Trump's administration is continuing efforts to revive the ailing coal industry, but despite claims of success older and less-efficient power plants continue to close.
In this case, it's not clear the owner wants the McAdoo plant saved.
Vistra Energy President and CEO Curtis Morgan in June told analysts that the White House's efforts at reviving coal are "ill conceived" and are "not even touching on [the] fundamental security problem, which is transmission.” The president ordered Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to save struggling coal and nuclear generators in March, but when the administration will release that plan remains unclear.
Vistra's recent closure announcement will affect "fewer than 25 full-time positions," the company said, and "eligible employees" will be offered severance benefits and outplacement assistance.
Last fall, the Union of Concerned Scientists published a report concluding 25% of operating coal-fired plants in the United States are slated for closure or conversion to natural gas. Another 17% of operating coal plants are uneconomic compared with natural gas-fired generation and could face retirement soon, the report concluded.
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