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Vistra Energy announces closures of Baldwin and Joppa power plants by 2025

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JOPPA (WSIL) -- Two more southern Illinois coal-fired power plants are slated for closure by the end of 2025 according to an announcement by parent company Vistra Energy on Tuesday.

The Texas-based company says it will close its Illinois and Ohio coal-fired power plants by the end of the decade. The announcement includes closures of Vistra-owned Baldwin Power Plant in Randolph County and Joppa Power Plant in Massac County.

Vistra Energy merged with Dynegy back in 2018, taking ownership of the Joppa and Baldwin plants. They say the closures will significantly reduce the company's carbon footprint in the Midwest and help it achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company also cites the upcoming Environmental Protection Agency's filing deadlines, requiring either significant capital improvements for compliance or retirement declarations.

"Our team members have gone above and beyond to make these plants viable, and they have been safely powering these communities with affordable and reliable electricity for decades," said Jim Burke, COO of Vistra.

"The advance notice of these retirements provides us with ample time to work with our impacted employees and communities to ease the impact of the closures, including seeking the passage of the Illinois Coal to Solar and Energy Storage Act," explained Burke.

Vistra, which is already developing the world's largest battery energy storage project, Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility, in California also announced that it is breaking ground on six new solar projects and one battery energy storage project.

Many state officials disagree with the decision.

Representative Mike Bost disagreed with the decision saying, “deeply disappointing and will have a crushing impact on 130 Southern Illinois families. We must have an all-of-the-above approach to fulfilling America’s energy needs.”

Senator Dale Flowler also expressed dissappointment saying, "the high costs placed on the backs of our coal industry under federal regulations have led to this incredibly tough decision. Moving forward, I will continue my efforts to support Illinois' coal industry and work to identify future economic opportunities for the Joppa community and surrounding area."

Local resident Mary Stephens say it's a blow to the community.

"Look at all the people without work. You know? This is their livelihood, this is what they depend on. I think it's a sad thing. We've always depended on it. That solar business? I have no confidence in that whatsoever."

Vistra Energy Illinois power plant closures:

By the end of 2022:

  • Edwards Power Plant in Bartonville by the end of 2022

By the end of 2025:

  • Baldwin Power Plant
  • Joppa Power Plant

By the end of 2027:

  • Kincaid Power Plant in Kincaid
  • Newton Power Plant in Newton

This announcement comes when the Southern Illinois Power Co-op retires its largest coal-fired generator at it's Lake of Egypt plant.

Ameren also announced goal of becoming net-zero emissions in Illinois and Missouri by 2050 earlier this week.

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