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Massachusetts coal plant to close this autumn

World Coal,

One of the last remaining coal-fired power plants in the US state of Massachusetts will close this autumn, it has been announced.

The Mt. Tom power plant, operated by GDF Suez Energy North America, notified the facilities 28 employees on Monday, according to spokeswoman Carol Churchill. The 146 MW plant in Holyoke has stopped making electricity, but workers probably will remain employed until 1 October.

“It’s a difficult market for an old plant and a coal plant like Mt. Tom to compete in,” Churchill said. “It has been operating pretty sporadically.”

Coal plants are increasingly facing pressure to improve efficiency and clean up, or face closure. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new Clean Power Plan, which looks to cut carbon emissions by 30% by 2030, and which many in the coal industry claim will lead to closures of coal-fired power plants.

News of Mt. Tom’s closing came one day after the coal-burning Salem Harbor power plant was shuttered, as scheduled. The Brayton Point coal-fired power plant in Somerset will also soon close, with the expected closure date to come some time in 2017.

Representatives of ISO New England, the region’s grid operator, said the agency has not received a formal retirement request for Mt. Tom, but does not expect an immediate impact from its loss.

Churchill said that GDF Suez is considering what to do with the property. “We are evaluating uses, including a solar site,” she said.

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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