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Two more Ohio coal-fired power plants to close as coal's slide continues

Two of Ohio's biggest remaining coal-fired power plants are going to close.

Texas-based Vistra Energy has announced it will close the WH Zimmer Power Plant in Clermont County, east of Cincinnati, and the Miami Fort Power Plant in North Bend, west of Cincinnati. 

Both plants will close by the end of 2027, the company said.

The company also is closing five coal-fired plants in Illinois.

The decision to close the plants is part of a move by the power company to reduce its carbon footprint, it said. 

The closings will mean the loss of more than 6,211 megawatts of coal-based electricity generation, which is equivalent to a year’s worth of carbon emissions from 10.4 million passenger vehicles, according to the Sierra Club. A megawatt can power about 1,000 homes.

"The aggregate impact of these milestone initiatives is clear: Vistra's commitment to our transformation to a low-to-no-carbon future is unequivocal and offers unique opportunities for growth and innovation," Curt Morgan, president and CEO of Vistra, said in a statement.

The Zimmer plant can produce 1,426 megawatts of electricity and came online in 1991 after it initially was developed as a nuclear power plant before being converted to coal. During a year of operation the plant emits 9.3 million tons of carbon dioxide. 

The Miami Fort plant opened in 1975, with expansions in 1978, records show. It can produce 1,180 megawatts and generates 7.8 million tons of carbon dioxide during a calendar year, according to EPA data. 

Neil Waggoner, senior campaign representative of the Ohio Sierra Club, used the closing announcements to call for more clean energy. 

"Ohio needs an energy policy firmly rooted in clean energy growth, as troubled coal plants can no longer compete," Waggoner said.

"Ohio leaders should respond ... by digging in and developing policy that provides economic support for Ohio's coal plant communities and creates a new model for Ohio’s energy future that is economically stable and sustainable."

The closings of the two plants will add to a string of coal-fired energy plant shutdowns in Ohio over the past decade.

As recently as 2006, coal generated 87% of the state's electricity. Now, it supplies about one-third of Ohio's energy, as cheap, abundant supplies of natural gas have overtaken coal as the most important source of electricity in the state.

Journalist source: Burger, M. W. (2020, octuber 01). Cincinnati .com. Retrieved from

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