FirstEnergy Corp. has announced that its Allegheny Energy Supply subsidiary last week notified PJM Interconnection of its plan to deactivate the coal-fired Pleasants Power Station in Willow Island, West Virginia. The 1300-MW plant will be sold or closed on Jan. 1, 2019. The plant deactivation is subject to PJM's review for reliability impacts, if any.
FirstEnergy subsidiary Mon Power filed a plan in March 2017 seeking regulatory approval to acquire the Pleasants Power Station, which would have resolved a projected 10-year energy capacity shortfall and decreased electric bills for customers. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected the proposal on Jan. 12, 2018. The Public Service Commission of West Virginia approved the sale subject to a number of significant conditions. Those conditions, combined with the FERC rejection, make the proposed transfer unworkable.
"Closing Pleasants is a very difficult choice because of the talented employees dedicated to reliable operation of the station and the communities who have supported the facility for many years. But the recent federal and West Virginia decisions leave FirstEnergy no reasonable option but to expeditiously move forward with deactivation of the plant," said Charles E. Jones, FirstEnergy president and chief executive officer. "We will continue to pursue opportunities to sell the plant while planning for deactivation."
The decision to deactivate the plant impacts approximately 190 employees. Affected employees may be eligible to receive severance benefits through the FirstEnergy severance plan if the plant is closed.
Located along the Ohio River in Willow Island, West Virginia, Pleasants Power Station began operation in 1979. Its two 650-megawatt generating units together produce enough electricity to power approximately 1.3 million homes.
Since 2016, FirstEnergy has announced the sale or closure of 2,471 MW of competitive generation operated in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Following the deactivation of the 1,300-megawatt Pleasants plant, the company will own or control generating capacity totaling approximately 14,795 MW from scrubbed coal, nuclear, natural gas and renewable energy facilities across Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, Virginia and Illinois. FirstEnergy continues to complete the strategic review of its remaining competitive generating fleet.