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S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):

Vistra Corp. will retire more than 6,800 MW of coal-fired capacity in Illinois and Ohio by 2027 and add more than 900 MW of new solar and energy storage capacity in Texas, the company said Sept. 29.

Vistra also released its first-ever climate report announcing a new goal to cut its carbon dioxide emissions 60% by 2030, up from 50%, relative to a 2010 baseline and set a new long-term goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, up from a previous target of cutting emissions 80% by midcentury.

Specifically, Vistra subsidiary Luminant Generation Co. LLC will retire the 585-MW E.D. Edwards plant by 2022, a move which had been announced previously; the 1,185-MW Baldwin Energy Complex and 1,002-MW Joppa plant by 2025; and the 1,108-MW Kincaid, 1,020-MW Miami Fort, 615-MW Newton and 1,300-MW W.H. Zimmer plants by 2027. A small gas-fired unit at the Joppa plant will be retired as well.

“In the case of our Midwest coal fleet, the challenging economics do not support the incremental capital that would be necessary to comply with the environmental rules,” Vistra Executive Vice President and CFO David Campbell said Sept. 29 on a call with investors. “Vistra is also committed to leading the effort to combat climate change, and meaningfully reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and the accelerated retirement of these coal plants supports this goal.”

Campbell said the newly announced plant closures will bring Vistra’s total coal and gas retirements announced or implemented since 2010 to approximately 19,000 MW, with 16,000 MW in retirements announced or implemented in the last four years. Coal-fired generation is now expected to account for less than 10% of Vistra’s portfolio by 2030 while renewable and storage resources are projected to account for 20% by the same year, Campbell said. Continuing to own and operate some coal-fired capacity in the MISO and PJM Interconnection regions through the generators’ remaining useful lives will provide incremental free cash flow that allows Vistra to offset its asset closure obligations, Campbell said, citing up to $165 million in expected closure obligations for 2020.

In a Sept. 29 news release, Vistra also announced six new solar projects and one new battery storage project with more than 900 MW of combined capacity in Texas as part of a newly launched “Vistra Zero” portfolio totaling approximately $850 million in capital investments. Those seven projects will be located throughout the Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc.’s expansive service area, with about 5% of the capacity located in the south zone, approximately 23% in the west zone and 72% in the north zone, Vistra said.

[Zack Hale]

More ($): Vistra net-zero pledge includes coal plant retirements, solar additions 

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