Coal-fired power plant to be shut down by Duke Energy unit

Duke Energy Ohio, a unit of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), will retire all six coal-fired generation units at the 862 MW W.C. Beckjord Station in Ohio by Jan. 1, 2015.

The utility plans to shut down the units at the 53-year-old station due to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology (Utility MACT) rule, which the agency intends to finalize in November 2011 with emissions control technologies to be installed by Jan. 1, 2015.

Duke Energy Ohio announced its plan to retire units 1 through 6 in its 2011 Resource Plan filed with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) on July 15. The utility said its decision is largely based on the plant’s age and what it called the “prohibitive” cost of implementing the new emissions control technology at the plant.

After the plant’s retirement, Duke Energy Ohio will meet demand by buying electricity on the wholesale market or by building or buying combined-cycle natural gas-fired power plants.

Duke Energy Ohio owns 100 percent of units 1 through 5 and has a 37.5 percent share in Unit 6. American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) owns 12.5 percent and Dayton Power and Light Co. owns 50 percent.

Four oil-fired combustion turbines were added in the early 1970s. Duke Energy Ohio said it has no plans to retire those units.

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