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FES to deactivate four fossil-fuelled plants in 2021 and 2022

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World Coal,

FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. (FES) has notified PJM Interconnection, LLC (PJM), the regional transmission organisation, of its plans to deactivate four fossil-fuel generating plants in 2021 and 2022.

FES is closing the plants due to a market environment that fails to adequately compensate generators for the resiliency and fuel-security attributes that the plants provide.

The plants, representing a total of 4017 MW of generating capacity, are to be deactivated on the following schedule:

  • Eastlake 6, Eastlake, Ohio (24 MW – coal), 1 June 2021.
  • Bruce Mansfield Units 1-3, Shippingport, Penn. (2490 MW – coal), 1 June 2021.
  • W.H. Sammis Diesel, Stratton, Ohio (13 MW – diesel oil), 1 June 2021.
  • W.H. Sammis Units 5-7, Stratton, Ohio (1,490 MW – coal), 1 June 2022.

In the interim, the plants will continue normal operations.

Plant closures are subject to review by PJM. If PJM determines that one or more of these units may be needed for grid reliability purposes, FES will provide information and estimates of the costs and timing to keep some or all of the units open.

FES also filed requests for exemption from PJM's ‘must-offer’ rules both for these fossil-fired plants and for FES's three nuclear generating plants, whose planned deactivations were announced 28 March 2018.

Under the must-offer rules, generating companies in the PJM region are required to make their plants' capacity available to the grid in regular capacity auctions unless granted an exception. The annual auctions are held to secure capacity three years in advance. FES is seeking exemptions from auctions covering the 2022 - 2023 delivery year and beyond.

The FES nuclear plants and their deactivation dates are:

  • Davis-Besse nuclear power plant, Oak Harbor, Ohio (908 MW), May 2020.
  • Beaver Valley power plant, Shippingport, Penn., Unit 1 (939 MW) May 2021 and Unit 2 (933 MW) October 2021.
  • Perry nuclear power plant, Perry, Ohio (1281 MW), May 2021.

"Our decision to retire the fossil-fuelled plants was every bit as difficult as the one we made five months ago to deactivate our nuclear assets," said Don Moul, President of FES Generation Companies and Chief Nuclear Officer. "The action in no way reflects on the dedication and work ethic of our employees, nor on the strong support shown by their union leaders and the communities where the plants are located.

"As with nuclear, our fossil-fuelled plants face the insurmountable challenge of a market that does not sufficiently value their contribution to the security and flexibility of our power system," Moul said, adding: "The market fails to recognise, for example, the onsite fuel storage capability of coal, which increases the resilience of the grid."

The federal government is currently considering policy measures that would support fossil and nuclear generating facilities considered at risk in the current market environment, but vital to grid security and reliability. Depending on the timing of any federal policy action, deactivation decisions could be reversed or postponed.

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