The Hatfield’s Ferry and Mitchell power stations have been given the axe, leaving the company with only nine power plants to supply its customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York.
“The decision is based on the cost of compliance with current and future environmental regulations in conjunction with the continued low market price for electricity,” the Ohio-based utility said in a statement Tuesday.
“In total, about 380 plant employees and generation related positions are expected to be affected,” FirstEnergy said.
The Hatfield plant consists of three 570-megawatt units brought online between 1969 and 1971.
The plant uses 4 million tons per annum of coal.
The small Mitchell plant consists of one 288MW coal unit built in 1963 and one 1949 oil unit that together produce 370MW of energy.
The plant uses 430,000tpa of coal.
“The total capacity of these plants is 2080 megawatts, representing approximately 10% of the company's total generating capacity but about 30% of the estimated $925 million cost to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS),” FirstEnergy said.
The company expects to invest approximately $650 million in MATS-related control technology to enhance or modify existing air quality equipment or install new equipment on its remaining facilities.
Following these upgrades, FirstEnergy expects to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 95%.
The company's fleet after the deactivations will comprise 56% coal, 22% nuclear, 13% renewables and 9% gas/oil, with a generating capacity of more than 18,000MW.
According to the Colombus Dispatch, an analyst for UBS Securities said in a research note today that he saw FirstEnergy's announcement as the start of a fresh wave of shutdowns, listing American Electric Power and Duke Energy as other companies to watch.