Thursday, August 30, 2018

FirstEnergy To Close Its Last Coal-Fired Power Plant In Pennsylvania, And The State’s Largest

FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. late Wednesday notified PJM Interconnection of its plans to deactivate four fossil-fuel generating plants, including the 2,490 MW coal-fired Bruce Mansfield power plant in Beaver County, its last coal-fired power plant in Pennsylvania and the state’s largest.  
FES said the plant will close by June 1, 2021.
FES also noted the deactivation date for the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Plant will be by May 2021 for Unit 1 (939 MW) and October 2021 for Unit 2 (933 MW).  Beaver Valley is also in Beaver County.
FES said it is closing the plants due to a market environment that fails to adequately compensate generators for the resiliency and fuel-security attributes that the plants provide.
In the interim, the plants will continue normal operations.
Plant closures are subject to review by PJM. If PJM determines that one or more of these units may be needed for grid reliability purposes, FES will provide information and estimates of the costs and timing to keep some or all of the units open.
FES also filed requests for exemption from PJM's "must-offer" rules both for these fossil-fired plants and for FES's three nuclear generating plants, whose planned deactivations were announced March 28, 2018.
Under the must-offer rules, generating companies in the PJM region are required to make their plants' capacity available to the grid in regular capacity auctions unless granted an exception.
The annual auctions are held to secure capacity three years in advance. FES is seeking exemptions from auctions covering the 2022-23 delivery year and beyond.
"Our decision to retire the fossil-fueled plants was every bit as difficult as the one we made five months ago to deactivate our nuclear assets," said Don Moul, President of FES Generation Companies and Chief Nuclear Officer. "The action in no way reflects on the dedication and work ethic of our employees, nor on the strong support shown by their union leaders and the communities where the plants are located.
"As with nuclear, our fossil-fueled plants face the insurmountable challenge of a market that does not sufficiently value their contribution to the security and flexibility of our power system," Moul said, adding: "The market fails to recognize, for example, the on-site fuel storage capability of coal, which increases the resilience of the grid."
The federal government is currently considering policy measures that would support fossil and nuclear generating facilities considered at risk in the current market environment, but vital to grid security and reliability. Depending on the timing of any federal policy action, deactivation decisions could be reversed or postponed.
(Photo: Bruce Mansfield power plant.)
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