October 29, 2018 Read More →

Kentucky plant headed for early-2019 closure

Utility Dive:

Henderson Municipal Power and Light in Kentucky will close its coal plant early next year and turn to the open market for its power needs, as the aging plant’s energy production is consistently more expensive than available supplies.

In a letter earlier this month, the Midcontinent ISO (MISO) approved the shutdown of Units 1 and 2 effective Feb.1, 2019, after determining the generation was not necessary as a system support resource.

Coal-fired generators continue to close down, and Henderson’s power plant is only the most recent example. According to the Sierra Club, the plant is the 277th coal generator to close since 2010. And new research finds closures are accelerating.

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) on Thursday released an analysis estimating 15.4 GW of coal-fired capacity will close this year, including 44 units at 22 plants. This year at least 11 GW have retired and the final tally is predicted to eclipse the previous record of 14.7 GW retired in 2015. IEEFA estimates another 21.4GW of coal-fired capacity will close over the next six years.

“The competitive environment for coal-fired power in the generation marketplace is becoming ever more challenging,” Seth Feaster, IEEFA data analyst and author of the report, said in a statement. He pointed to the declining cost of renewables and natural gas prices that “are expected to remain low for the foreseeable future.”

As for the Henderson plant, MISO informed Big River three weeks ago that “the decision to retire is considered final and the existing interconnection rights for the generators will be terminated as of the retirement date.”

More: Kentucky coal plant to close, latest among accelerating shutdowns

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