The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports NRG Energy has announced plans to retrofit the New Castle coal-fired power plant to run on natural gas. The plant’s previous owner had scheduled it for closure in April 2015.
The New Castle power plant was one of eight coal-fired electric power generating facilities in Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Jersey that were slated to be closed by Houston, Texas-based GenOn Energy Inc.
“The New Castle plant shutdown was announced because it would have required a substantial investment in environmental controls to continue to operate as a coal-burning facility,” Mr. Gaier [an NRG spokesman] said.
“But we looked at it and decided it could be operated economically on natural gas. We won’t have to install the extremely expensive controls that would have been required to continue operating on coal.”
Governor Corbett praised the decision, which is expected to help retain 40 jobs and create 50 to 100 new jobs.
“I am very pleased that NRG Energy committed to re-examining the decision to close the New Castle power facility,” Corbett said in a statement.
The boom in production of oil and gas has lead to a decline in the U.S. coal industry, which is to almost the lowest level of coal dependence in 63 years.
The Washington Post reports that coal shares took a plunge yesterday, in anticipation of President Obama’s speech today unveiling his strategy to tackle climate change.