Coal-fired units at three power plants are poised to close over the next year in the largest U.S. electricity market, which is managed by PJM Interconnection LLC.
The affected coal-fired generation totals about 2,421 megawatts of capacity, according to GenOn Holdings LLC, which made the announcement this week. The list includes Morgantown Generating Station Units 1 and 2 in Maryland, Avon Lake Generating Station in Ohio and Cheswick Generating Station in Pennsylvania. Houston-based GenOn has operational assets at all three sites.
“The decision to initiate the retirement of these coal units is driven by unfavorable economic conditions, higher costs including those associated with environmental compliance, an inability to compete with other generation types, and evolving market rules that promote subsidized resources,” the company said in a statement.
News of the retirements arrived days after PJM’s latest capacity auction made headlines for a plunge in the cost of meeting peak power demand (Energywire, June 3). Nationally, debates continue over state and federal incentives that aid a range of generating resources, from nuclear to renewables. At the same time, coal is under pressure for its emissions profile as the power sector, environmentalists and politicians seek to slash carbon pollution.
Power stations at Avon Lake and Cheswick are expected to retire by Sept. 15, GenOn said, while affected units at Morgantown are anticipated to retire as of June 1 of next year.