Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Talen Energy To Eliminate Use Of Coal In PA, Other Electric Generation Facilities By 2025

On November 10,
Talen Energy Corp. announced it has committed to a strategic repositioning of its power generation fleet that will eliminate the use of coal at all Talen wholly-owned facilities. 

In addition to moving off coal, Talen publicly committed to develop 1 GW of solar and electricity storage facilities, beginning with a 100MW solar development adjacent to the Montour generation facility site in Pennsylvania and storage at Wagner in Maryland. 

These actions, developed through discussions with the Sierra Club, are a first step in a larger transformation of Talen's assets and business model toward a sustainable, Environmental, Social and Governance ("ESG")-focused future.

In particular, Talen's Montour generation facility located in Pennsylvania and its Brandon Shores and H.A. Wagner coal generation facilities located in Maryland will cease coal-fired operations by the end of 2025 and repower pending approvals by state agencies. 

These facilities will join Talen's Brunner Island generation facility in Pennsylvania, which previously committed to transition from coal by the end of 2028. 

In total, they represent approximately five Gigawatts of generating capacity and over 30 percent of Talen's total generating capacity. 

As part of this effort, Talen and the Sierra Club are working toward an agreement which aims to avoid future litigation or permit disputes related to coal at Talen's transitioning sites.

“We appreciate Talen CEO Ralph Alexander’s prudent perspective in leading the company away from coal and hope he takes the same approach with fracked gas and other fossil fuels,” said Mark Kresowik, Deputy Regional Director for the Sierra Club.  “There is no place for fracked gas in a clean energy economy.”

Talen previously applied for permits to convert the Montour plant in Pennsylvania to fracked gas. The Sierra Club will oppose that every step of the way. Methane (the primary component of fracked gas) is a greenhouse gas 87 times more potent than carbon dioxide over its first 20 years in the atmosphere, and can leak at every stage of production and delivery. 

 Click Here for a statement from Sierra Club.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Maryland Senior Scientist Doug Myers issued the following statement: “There’s a definitive link between air pollution and water pollution. Ending coal burning at these power plants will prevent millions of pounds of nitrous oxide from entering the air and, as a result, reduce the nitrogen pollution that enters the Bay. This move will help states meet cleanup requirements as part of the 2025 Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. 

“We hope Talen Energy will continue to expand its clean energy portfolio and work to move away from sources other than coal that cause pollution, such as burning natural gas. Scientific studies have shown we must accelerate greenhouse gas reductions to prevent catastrophic environmental consequences. Reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants is a step in the right direction.”

"Talen is pleased to play a leading role in driving toward a lower carbon future. We are among the first in the competitive power generation industry to commit to an accelerated transition from coal. This step, coupled with our ESG infrastructure investments, are good for our business and all our stakeholders, including the communities in which our plants are located. By moving to repower these sites for the future, we maintain our longstanding economic commitment to our communities, while also providing the environmental benefits of a lower carbon footprint. This balance is a direct reflection of our "No Harm" culture," said Ralph Alexander Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Talen Energy. "Talen is grateful to the Sierra Club for their relationship as we position for a sustainable future."

Talen Transition

Under its energy transition plan, Talen is developing renewable energy and battery storage projects at strategic locations across its asset portfolio, further positioning it for a lower carbon future that also offers economic and social benefits to communities in which they will operate. 

"Talen's move away from coal and future growth will be underpinned by approximately one Gigawatt of renewable energy (solar and wind) and battery storage projects currently under development across our existing asset footprint," added Alex Hernandez, President of Talen Energy. "Our first 100 Megawatt solar generation joint project will be located adjacent to our Montour generation facility in Washingtonville, Pennsylvania. We anticipate the project will break ground in the fourth quarter of 2021 and be one of the largest renewable energy investments in the Commonwealth."

Talen intends to repower the impacted plants to run on alternate fuel sources, with some assuming the role of capacity resource. Talen expects to continue to support grid reliability and maintain operations in the markets and communities it has been part of for decades. 

Additionally, Talen urges Pennsylvania and Maryland decision-makers to invest in clean energy and transition support for affected workers and communities.

"Customers in our markets are looking for clean power offerings that meet their reliability and cost requirements. Talen's combination of renewables, zero-carbon nuclear, and battery storage assets will provide a clean, affordable, and reliable power solution to our customers," added Mr. Hernandez. 

For more information on Talen Energy, visit the Talen Energy Corp. website.

Related Article:

FirstEnergy Pledges To Achieve Carbon Neutrality In Electric Distribution Companies By 2050 

[Posted: November 11, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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