Houston-based GenOn is the latest of a string of power firms to announce planned power plant closures in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Jersey. The company formed in December 2010 through the merger of Mirant Corp. and RRI today announced it would deactivate 3,140 MW of generating capacity in PJM’s operational region between June 2012 and May 2015, citing insufficient “forecasted returns on investments necessary to comply with environmental regulations.”

The units to be deactivated are the 460-MW Elrama plant in Pennsylvania (June 2012); the 217-MW Niles plant in Ohio (June 2012); the 401-MW Portland plant in Pennsylvania (January 2015); the 732-MW Avon Lake plant in Ohio (April 2015); the 330-MW New Castle plant, the 597-MW Shawville plant, and the 243-MW Titus plant, all in Pennsylvania (all by April 2015); and the 160-MW Glen Gardner plant in New Jersey (May 2015). All are coal-fired facilities except the dual-fuel Glen Gardener plant, which can burn natural gas or oil.

“The units expected to be deactivated and timeframes are subject to further review based on market conditions,” GenOn said in a statement. “In particular, while the initial analysis for additional environmental controls at Avon Lake indicated that forecasted returns on those investments were insufficient, the evaluation of the returns on those environmental controls is continuing.”

The company also said that the coal-fired units at Shawville, which is leased, will be placed in long-term protective layup. The required lease payments will continue to be made and the assets will be maintained in accordance with the lease.

Other expected fleet reductions are the May 2012 expiration of a tolling agreement for the 630-MW Vandolah facility in Florida; the previously announced retirement of the 482-MW Potomac River generating facility in Virginia in October 2012; and  the previously announced retirement of the 674-MW Contra Costa generating facility in California in May 2013, subject to regulatory approvals. Additionally, in January 2012, GenOn sold the previously mothballed 586-MW Indian River generating facility in Florida for $11.5 million.

The fleet reductions, taken together with 3,140 MW of deactivations announced today, total 5,512 MW of generating capacity.  GenOn will have 19,490 MW of generating capacity after the deactivations and fleet reductions. It plans to add the 719-MW Marsh Landing generating facility in California, which is scheduled to become operational in mid-2013.

Earlier this month, Ohio-based FirstEnergy announced it would shutter more than 2 GW of six older coal-fired power plants Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland by September.

Sources: POWERnews, GenOn