FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) has announced it expects to deactivate two coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania by Oct. 9, 2013. The two plants have a total capacity of 2,080 MW, representing about 10 percent of the company’s total generating capacity.
The company said the decision to deactivate Hatfield’s Ferry Power Station in Masontown, Pa. and Mitchell Power Station in Courtney, Pa. is based on the cost of compliance with current and future environmental regulations and the continued low market price for electricity. The two plants represent about 30 percent of the estimated $925 million it will cost FirstEnergy to comply with the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule recently finalized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
About 380 plant employees and generation-related positions are expected to be affected by the deactivations, according to FirstEnergy.
After the two plants are deactivated, FirstEnergy will have a power capacity portfolio made of 56 percent coal-fired generation, 22 percent nuclear generation, 13 percent renewable sources and 9 percent gas or oil-fired power generation. According to the company, nearly 100 percent of its power capacity will come from resources that are either non-emitting or low-emitting, including nuclear, hydro, pumped-storage hydro, natural gas and scrubbed coal units.
The company is also planning to invest around $650 million in MATS-related control technology to modify existing air quality equipment or install new equipment on its remaining facilities. The upgrades are expected to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by 84 percent, sulfur dioxide by 95 percent and mercury by 91 percent compared to 1990 levels. The company also expects to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 to 30 percent compared to 1990 levels by 2020.
The company will have a generating capacity of more than 18,000 MW after the deactivations, which are subject to review for reliability impacts by PJM Interconnection.
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