NRG Energy closing four coal-fired plants in Illinois, Delaware

a large yellow conveyor belt carrying coal and emptying onto a huge pile.

NRG Energy is retiring four of its coal-fired plant units next year as it shifts the power generation portfolio toward a 50-percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2025.

During an Investor’s Day presentation, NRG Executive Vice President of Operations Chris Moser revealed that his company will close four plants within the PJM Interconnection market. The closures account for more than 1,600 MW in generating capacity and 55 percent of NRG’s coal-fired fleet.

The closing plants include 410-MW Indian River Unit 4 in Delaware, Waukegan Units 7 and 8 in Illinois –totaling more than 600 MWs­–and 599-MW Will County Unit 4, also in Illinois. All four units are the last of the coal-fired capacity at those respective plants, as other units were retired years ago.

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Moser noted that NRG’s 14-GW U.S. generation mix is evolving dramatically as the company decarbonizes and streamlines operations. NRG has more than 4 million customers nationwide through its various companies, including NRG, Direct Energy, Reliant and Discount Power.

The company plans to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, like many utilities. Its near-term goal is a 50 percent reduction, from 63.3 million metric tons of CO2 in 2014 to 31.7 million MT by 2025.

Moser also pointed out that NRG was taking into account the requirements of newly signed Texas Senate Bills 2 and 3, requiring more stringent weather preparedness actions by generators. Statewide, some 52 GW of generation capacity was knocked offline during Winter Storm Uri, leading to massive load shedding and rotating disruptions in power.

NRG Energy took a $1 billion cash loss from market impacts with the lingering winter storm.

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