American Electric Power (AEP) has opted to retire—instead of refueling with natural gas—its 585-MW coal-fired Muskingum River Plant Unit 5 in Beverly, Ohio, in 2015.
AEP had previously said it would shutter Muskingum River Units 1, 2, 3, and 4—a total of 840 MW—in 2015. Modifications to a 2007 New Source Review (NSR) consent decree agreed to with a coalition of citizen groups, eight eastern states, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this February allowed the company the option of either refueling or retiring Unit 5.
The modified settlement would have allowed the company to install dry sorbent injection technology on both units of its 2.6-GW Rockport Generating Station in southern Indiana—not flue gas desulfurization (FGD) technology, a more expensive option—as stipulated in the original 2007 consent decree if it retired or refueled with natural gas the 585-MW Muskingum Unit 5 among others.
On July 11, however, AEP announced it was unlikely to make the capital investment to refuel the 585-MW Unit 5, citing "the cost of compliance with environmental regulations and current market conditions."
About 95 employees working at the Muskingum units will be impacted. AEP meanwhile said it would record a non-operating, pre-tax impairment charge for Unit 5 of about $150 million to $170 million in the second quarter of 2013.
To date, AEP has announced the planned retirement of 3,123 MW of coal-fired generation owned by AEP Ohio in Ohio and West Virginia by the end of 2015.
(This story was originally published on July 16 on powermag.com.)
—Sonal Patel, Senior Writer (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)