Utility giant FirstEnergy intends to close down a major portion of its largest coal-fired power plant in Ohio, Kallanish Energy reports.
The Ohio-based firm also intends to sell or close a second coal-fired plant near Toledo, Ohio.
That is in part because coal-fired power plants are having trouble competing financially against lower-priced natural gas-fired facilities supplied by gas from shale drilling.
The plants are largely uneconomical and no longer needed as pricing changes and electric demand declines, FirstEnergy said.
The plants affected are the W.H. Sammis plant at Stratton, Ohio, where four boilers would be deactivated, before May 31, 2020, and the Bay Shore plant at Oregon, Ohio.
The Sammis units together produce 720 megawatts (MW) of the plants total of 2,210 MW.
The four boilers were built between 1959 and 1962. Scrubbers to reduce pollution were added in 2006-2007. The price tag was $1.8 billion.
The four units are currently being used to meet peak-load demand.
The Bay Shore boiler produces 136 coal-fired MW of electricity. It will be sold or shut down by May 31, 2020.
The plant is also home to a small 16 MW oil-fired peaking unit. Its fate is unclear.
FirstEnergy said it will take an impairment charge of $497 million for the Sammis units and $150 million for the Bay Shore closure.
Company executives are scheduled to discuss the closures further later this week.
Environmental groups hailed the action, saying Ohio utilities have retired nearly 10,100 MW of coal-fired power since 2010, more than any other state. Ohios closures represent 9.5% of coal-fired retirements nationwide.
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