Coal, Emissions

Coal-fired power plants in West Virginia to close due to regulations

FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) on Feb. 8 said its Monongahela Power Co. subsidiary will be retiring three, older coal-fired power plants in West Virginia by Sept. 1, 2012. The decision to close the plants is based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), which were recently finalized, and other environmental regulations.

Albright Power Station, Willow Island Power Station, and Rivesville Power Station will all be closed. The total capacity of these regulated plants is 660 MW, about 3 percent of FirstEnergy’s total regulated and competitive generation portfolio. Recently, FirstEnergy said these plants served mostly as peaking facilities, generating, on average, less than 1 percent of the electricity produced by FirstEnergy over the past three years.

Monongahela Power recently completed a year-long study of its older, unscrubbed regulated coal-fired units to determine the potential impact of significant changes in environmental regulations. FirstEnergy said it was determined that additional investments to implement MATS and other environmental rules would make these plants even less likely to be dispatched. As a result, the decision was made to retire these West Virginia plants rather than continue operations.

This follows FirstEnergy’s announcement in January that its competitive generation subsidiaries would retire six older, coal-fired power plants located in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland by Sept. 1, 2012.
All of the recently announced plant retirements are subject to review for reliability impacts, if any, by PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission organization that controls the area where they are located.

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