FirstEnergy Corp. says its Allegheny Energy Supply subsidiary has notified PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission organization, of its plan to deactivate the coal-fired Pleasants Power Station in Willow Island, W.Va.
The 1.3 GW plant will be sold or closed on Jan. 1, 2019. The plant deactivation is subject to PJM’s review for reliability impacts, if any, notes FirstEnergy.
FirstEnergy subsidiary Mon Power filed a plan in March 2017 seeking regulatory approval to acquire the Pleasants Power Station, which would have resolved a projected 10-year energy capacity shortfall and decreased electric bills for customers, according to FirstEnergy. However, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected the proposal on Jan. 12, 2018. In addition, the Public Service Commission of West Virginia approved the sale subject to a number of significant conditions, but those conditions, combined with the FERC rejection, make the proposed transfer unworkable, says FirstEnergy.
“Closing Pleasants is a very difficult choice because of the talented employees dedicated to reliable operation of the station and the communities who have supported the facility for many years. But the recent federal and West Virginia decisions leave FirstEnergy no reasonable option but to expeditiously move forward with deactivation of the plant,” says Charles E. Jones, FirstEnergy’s president and CEO. “We will continue to pursue opportunities to sell the plant while planning for deactivation.”
The decision to deactivate the plant impacts approximately 190 employees. Affected employees may be eligible to receive severance benefits through the FirstEnergy severance plan.
Located along the Ohio River in Willow Island, Pleasants Power Station began operation in 1979. Its two 650 MW generating units together produce enough electricity to power approximately 1.3 million homes.
Since 2016, FirstEnergy has announced the sale or closure of 2,471 MW of competitive generation operated in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Following the deactivation of the Pleasants plant, the company will own or control generating capacity totaling approximately 14,795 MW from scrubbed coal, nuclear, natural gas and renewable energy facilities across Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, Virginia and Illinois. FirstEnergy notes it continues to complete the strategic review of its remaining competitive generating fleet.