One of the nation’s largest independent power producers has announced it is closing a coal plant in Maryland and is throwing its weight behind a bid to phase out coal-fired generation in the state entirely.
GenOn Holdings Inc., a Houston-based firm, said it plans to retire its [1,205MW] Morgantown Generating Station in southern Maryland by 2027, marking the firm’s third closure announcement this year.
The company is also backing a bipartisan bill requiring all of Maryland’s coal-fired generating units to shut down by 2030. As of 2019, approximately 14% of the state’s electricity came from coal. The measure includes a provision to support impacted coal workers and communities, mirroring a national push to support workers and economies suffering from coal’s decline.
“These retirements reflect the sentiment of the citizens of Maryland and will facilitate a smooth transition for GenOn’s employees and the communities in which we currently operate,” Dave Freysinger, the company’s CEO, said in a statement.
Colorado and New Mexico have enacted similar “just transition” bills, and President-elect Joe Biden has called for a federal push.
“GenOn’s support of this bill is huge and greatly enhances the likelihood it is going to pass,” said state Del. Ben Brooks (D), who is co-sponsoring the proposal with Republican state Sen. Chris West. “What we want to do in the state of Maryland is get 50% of our energy from renewables by 2030, and this is going to go a long way in helping that.”