With NRG’s purchase of Edison Mission Energy in April 2014, they took ownership of four coal-fired power stations in Illinois. Beyond employing a substantial number of people and contributing to the Illinois economy, these plants provide local reliability to the electric grid. As witnessed last winter, local generation is vital during periods of peak demand. Until now, the reliability services these four coal plants provide have come at a cost of higher than desired emissions – in short, they have not yet been updated to meet environmental standards. NRG sees a different future for these facilities – one in which they can preserve reliability AND materially reduce air emissions. NRG has in turn committed to transform these four plants by implementing a combination of advanced emission controls, re-fueling coal units to operate on natural gas and ceasing operations of coal units.
Dive Brief: By Herman K. Trabish
- NRG Energy Inc.’s $567 million plan to close one coal plant, convert another to natural gas by 2016, and retrofit two others with pollution control technology will provide half the cuts required by the proposed EPA greenhouse gas reduction regulations for Illinois, where the four facilities acquired last year by NRG are located.
- The moves will reduce the 2013 CO2 emissions in Illinois by 16 million tons by 2020, the equivalent of 4 million cars’ annual CO2 emissions, and they will also reduce Illinois 2013 sulfur dioxide emissions 90%, nitrogen oxide emissions by 65%, particulate matter 70%, and mercury 53%.
- The cost of the plan will not come from ratepayers or government subsidies but it will cost about 250 of the plants’ 600 jobs, most at the shuttered Romeoville plant and the converted Joliet plant, with fewer at the retrofitted Pekin and Waukegan plants.
Read more: http://www.utilitydive.com/news/nrg-to-close-convert-or-retrofit-4-illinois-coal-plants/295546/