* The company has five coal plants in Illinois and one was already on the closure list…
Texas-based energy company Vistra plans to accelerate its transition to clean power generation sources and advance efforts to significantly reduce its carbon footprint. The company launched Vistra Zero, a portfolio of zero-carbon power generation facilities, which includes seven new developments — some solar, solar + storage and standalone energy storage — in its primary market of ERCOT that total nearly 1,000 MW.
In addition, Vistra established further long-term emissions reduction targets, released its first climate report and announced its intention to retire all of its generation subsidiaries’ coal plants in Illinois and Ohio. […]
Vistra also announced its next phase of coal plant closures in Illinois and Ohio. The company expects to retire seven Luminant power plants, of which the company owns a combined capacity of more than 6,800 MW, between 2022 and 2027.
Since the company’s leadership change in 2016, Vistra and its subsidiaries have closed or announced the closure of 19 coal plants totaling more than 16,000 MW across Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Massachusetts. In total, Vistra and its subsidiaries have now retired or announced the retirement of more than 19,000 MW at 23 coal and natural gas plants since 2010.
Vistra said it will retire the Baldwin and Joppa plants in southern Illinois no later than 2025, “or sooner should economic or other conditions dictate.” The Kincaid and Newton plants southeast of Springfield will close no later than 2027, again with the same caveat.
The four plants together employ about 400. […]
Under the plan, which requires action in Springfield, Vistra would convert its coal-plant sites into utility-scale solar facilities accompanied by powerful batteries that could store some of the energy when it’s not needed.
Vistra already has announced the planned closure of the Edwards plant near Peoria, which will occur by the end of 2022.
That’ll leave three Illinois coal plants owned by NRG.
* Sierra Club…
Texas based Vistra Energy announced plans today to accelerate its transition to clean energy generation by retiring all the coal plants owned by its subsidiaries in Illinois and Ohio. In a move intended to reduce the utility’s outsized climate impact, the announcement targets more than 6,211 megawatts (MW) of coal based electricity generation at six coal plants, which is equivalent to a year’s worth of carbon emissions from 10,380,659 passenger vehicles. These announced retirements mark 166,395 MW of coal capacity retired with 176,617 MW remaining in the United States.
“Vistra is the largest emitter of climate-warming carbon pollution in the US electric sector, and today they made one of the largest coal retirement announcements in US history, sending a clear signal that the transition from coal to clean energy is accelerating nationwide. Vistra’s plan to stop burning coal altogether in Illinois and Ohio is a testament to a decade of tireless work by advocates fighting for the significant public health and climate benefits that come from moving away from coal to clean energy,” said Mary Anne Hitt, National Director of Campaigns at the Sierra Club. “Supporting a fair and robust economic and community transition is a critical next step for Illinois and Ohio as lawmakers in both states are in dialogue about the future of state energy policy.”
Vistra’s announcement comes amid record low coal use in the US, as clean energy now routinely outperforms coal plants. Vistra announced plans for new solar and storage developments, primarily in Texas, prompting advocates in Illinois and Ohio to redouble calls for state level energy transition planning and policy. Vistra made no changes to its Texas coal fleet, which includes the Martin Lake coal plant; the nation’s largest source of sulfur dioxide pollution and mercury pollution. Martin Lake is the source of ongoing violations of local pollution standards.
“It’s urgent that Illinois plan now to assist the workers and communities that will be affected by these closures, ensure that Vistra cleans up these sites, and that we build clean, renewable energy infrastructure to replace these dirty sources of power,” said Jack Darin, Director of the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club. “The Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) is a plan for a just transition for these communities that creates jobs where they are needed most, while holding big polluters accountable for the messes they leave behind. We call on the Illinois state legislature to pass the CEJA this year, to respond to these closures proactively, and ensure a brighter future for our most impacted communities.”
In Illinois, the new retirements include the Baldwin and Joppa Power Plants by the end of 2025, and Kincaid and Newton Power Plants by 2027. The Edwards coal fired power plant near Peoria is already slated to retire by the end of 2022. In Ohio, Miami Fort Power Plant, in North Bend, and Zimmer Power Plant in Moscow, are planned to retire by 2027. The utility added that all these retirements may be sooner than the announced dates should economic or other conditions dictate.
* Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition…
Vistra’s announcement to close five coal plants around Illinois is an urgent call for Gov. Pritzker and the General Assembly to take action to help workers who face lay-offs and local plant communities that will lose significant tax revenue. This announcement leaves out that Vistra’s own proposal is little more than a corporate bailout for cutting and running that does nothing for communities like Waukegan who have a heavily polluting plant in their backyard.
In contrast, the Clean Energy Jobs Act will provide real help to these communities throughout the state by accelerating renewable energy, providing property tax replacement, securing worker benefits and training, and delivering resilient, economic futures. The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition is ready to get to work to pass CEJA this year.”
…Adding… Congressman Rodney Davis…
“I’m deeply disappointed in Vistra’s plan to retire their Kincaid plant, which employs 115 of our friends and neighbors. The Kincaid plant has created good-paying union jobs and reliable, baseload power for households and manufacturers in Illinois and states in the Mid-Atlantic region for decades. Because the plant is a significant employer and generator of local tax revenue in Christian County, our hometowns, schools, and other public bodies will be negatively affected by this closure. Our Congressional office stands ready to support the workers and communities impacted.
“I have always been an advocate for an all-of-the-above energy portfolio, but I am becoming increasingly concerned about the planned nuclear, coal, and gas plant closures across Illinois in the coming years. Our state cannot continue to be a leading net electricity exporter if this trend continues. Additional plant closures will put thousands of good-paying union jobs and reliable, affordable power at risk. I’m committed to making sure American energy policy supports a diverse, reliable, and affordable array of baseload energy sources. American families need certainty that when they flip a switch, they will have access to low-cost, reliable electricity. We can’t let America’s energy future look like California brownouts and blackouts, but the Green New Deal and other far-fetched, left-wing environmental proposals are moving us closer to that sad reality.”
…Adding… Nikki Budzinski, executive director of Climate Jobs Illinois…
As Springfield debates new energy legislation, the final bill must include meaningful policies that support the workers, families and communities affected by Illinois’ transition to clean energy. That means providing workers lost wages and benefits, meaningful job support and apprenticeship opportunities, and replacing the lost tax base in these communities. Climate Jobs Illinois will be an advocate for these issues to ensure workers are not left behind in the state’s move to a clean energy future.