Kansas utility to retire old power plant units by year's end


TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The largest electric utility in Kansas says it will retire small power plant units in three communities by the end of the year and is citing new federal environmental regulations as one reason.

Westar Energy announced Tuesday that it will shut down one coal-fired unit each in Lawrence and Tecumseh, east of Topeka, as well as a gas-fired unit in Hutchinson.

Together, the units have a capacity of 350 MW, about 5 percent of the Topeka-based company's total.

The company said it would shift about 40 workers into open positions and reduce its overall workforce.

Westar said new federal rules aimed at reducing carbon emissions would have required upgrading the plants. The utility said it would be more cost-effective to increase its use of renewable resources such as wind.

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