Coal Tattoo

FirstEnergy to close 2 more coal plants

The Hatfield’s Ferry plant in Masontown, Pa. Photo via FirstEnergy

Here’s today’s news from FirstEnergy:

FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) announced today that it expects to deactivate two coal-fired power plants located in Pennsylvania by October 9, 2013. 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 plants scheduled to be deactivated are Hatfield’s Ferry Power Station in Masontown, Pa., and Mitchell Power Station in Courtney, Pa.

FirstEnergy noted in its announcement:

The total capacity of these plants is 2,080 megawatts, representing approximately 10 percent of the company’s total generating capacity, but about 30 percent of the estimated $925 million cost to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).

It’s worth noting that Hatfield’s Ferry had not so long ago been retrofitted with sulfur dioxide “scrubbers”, and had more recently been under consideration for a fuel switch to natural gas. FirstEnergy had previously announced closures of six plants in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland, and three plants in West Virginia.

And while Hatfield’s Ferry had new scrubbers, the toxic stuff generated by burning coal has to go somewhere, and environmental groups were concerned about the water pollution from the scrubber waste at the facility.