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NRG Energy adapts to environmental regulations

World Coal,

As environmental regulations continue to take their toll on the US coal sector, NRG Energy has announced plans to close one coal-fired generating unit and modify three coal-fired power plants in Illinois.

NRG Energy said it will shut down one of two units at the Will County plant in Romeoville, but that unit 4 will remain in service, as long as it complies with all applicable environmental laws and regulations.

The firm said it will also convert its Joilet plant to a natural gas-fired facility, while it will equip the coal-fired Perkin and Waukegan plants with upgrades to help tackle emissions.

250 jobs are expected to be lost as these plans take place.

In a statement, NRG Energy said that the reliability services offered by its four coal-fired power plants “came at a cost of higher-than desired emissions” and that the company envisioned “a different future for these facilities – one in which we can preserve reliability while also materially reducing air emissions”.

NRG Energy acquired the coal-fired power plants in April this year through a purchase agreement with Edison Mission Energy. After the acquisition, the company announced plans to invest more than US$ 500 million in its new assets to meet environmental standards by 2016. Edison Mission projected costs to reach almost US$ 850 million.

NRG Energy said the Romeoville plant closure and other modifications to its existing plants will help achieve its carbon reduction plan and cut 16 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year by 2020.

The company said it will finish converting the Joliet plant to natural gas by 2016. “We take this commitment seriously.  This is another step NRG is taking toward offering consumers more energy choices – including clean and renewable energy, energy generated locally, on rooftops and in communities,” NRG Energy said in a statement.

Adapted from press release by Sam Dodson

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