AES Closing Two More Ohio Coal Plants

AES subsidiary Dayton Power & Light (DP&L) confirmed on March 20 that it will close two of its coal-fired plants by 2018 because they have become uneconomic.

The Ohio utility announced its intent to close the two plants in January as part of a settlement over its future reliability planning. The plan had been contested by a variety of parties and environmental groups. DP&L agreed to close the plants and shift its power mix toward more renewable energy. Monday’s announcement makes the move official.

AES purchased the two plants, J.M. Stuart Station and Killen Station, from Duke’s merchant generation arm in 2014. Killen is a single-unit, 618-MW plant in Wrightsville that began operations in 1982. Stuart, a four-unit, 2,318-MW plant in Aberdeen, first came online in 1969. DP&L owns 35% of Stuart and 67% of Killen.

According to local media, the closure may not quite be a done deal. Coal mining firm Murray Energy, which supplies coal to the plants and stands to lose a substantial amount of business if they shut down, is contesting the settlement with the Ohio Public Utilities Commission. Murray says closure of the plants would result in $26.5 billion in economic losses and 19,000 lost jobs in Ohio.

Local residents have also appealed to President Donald Trump to save the plants, though there is so far no sign the White House plans to intervene in the dispute. Trump campaigned on promises to save coal country jobs, but little substantial policy has been proposed to follow through. Trump’s proposed budget, released last week, zeros out $340 million in funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission, which provides job-training and other economic support for depressed areas in Appalachia.

DP&L also plans to sell its interests in three other Ohio coal plants—Conesville, Miami Fort, and Zimmer.

—Thomas W. Overton, JD is a POWER associate editor (@thomas_overton, @POWERmagazine).