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Joppa power plant to close in 2022, three years earlier than originally planned

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joppa power plant

JOPPA (WSIL) -- Joppa's coal-fired power plant is slated for closure by Sept. 1, 2022 according to an announcement by parent company Vistra Energy on Tuesday.

This deadline is three years earlier than the company previously disclosed.

The revised closing date is part of an agreement Vistra has reached to settle a complaint brought by the Sierra Club in 2018 before the Illinois Pollution Control Board concerning allegations of environmental exceedances occurring prior to Vistra’s ownership.

The Texas-based company says it will close its Illinois and Ohio 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.

“Joppa’s 2022 closure is an unfortunate reminder that our remaining MISO fleet continues to face challenges and is at risk of rapid closure for a variety of factors, most notably legal and economic challenges – the latter due to the dysfunctional MISO market in Illinois and significant maintenance costs. Vistra would like to reinvest in and responsibly reuse its Illinois plant sites so local communities like Joppa and Massac County can economically benefit from the transition to renewable electricity generation rather than being left as a non-productive former plant site,” Morgan continued

Vistra is in the process of working with the plant’s local union leadership and plans to honor the plant’s negotiated commitments regarding severance and outplacement benefits, as well as wages, health care, and other benefits during the remainder of operations.

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.

Rep. Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis) is unhappy with the decision.

"To see the rug pulled out from under employees that had been told they would have a job for three more years than they will actually get is appalling. It is further disappointing to see another company bullied out of business by the radical Sierra Club, an environmentalist group whose goal is to eliminate the use of all fossil fuels."

"The Sierra Club and Democratic politicians throughout the country are enacting policies and filing lawsuits that are destroying the coal-fired power plants and coal mines that have provided good-paying union labor jobs and affordable home energy prices for decades in Southern Illinois. It is my hope that the people of Illinois, and the people of the United States will wake up to the agenda being pushed by the Sierra Club and Democratic politicians and realize these policies destroy jobs and wreck economies."

The company is renewing its call for passage of the Illinois Coal to Solar and
Energy Storage Act to facilitate Vistra’s $550-million repurposing of coal plant sites across central and southern Illinois.

If that passes, Vistra says they will work to create a stand-alone 45-MW battery energy storage facility at the Joppa plant, which does not have the site characteristics to support utility-scale solar. The new battery system would store enough electricity to power approximately 22,500 homes.

C2S-Community-Scorecard-2021-April-2021

Vistra Energy Illinois power plant closures:

By Sept. 1, 2022

  • Joppa Power Plant

By the end of 2022:

  • Edwards Power Plant in Bartonville by the end of 2022

By the end of 2025:

  • Baldwin Power Plant

By the end of 2027:

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

This release from Vistra explains their plans for the Joppa Plant, if the Illinois Coal to Solar and Energy Storage Act is signed into law.

Joppa-Closure-News-Release-April-2021-FINAL

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Kenzie Dillow

Kenzie Dillow is the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at News 3 WSIL. She joined the team in 2016 as a video editor, moved into a Producer role in 2017 and took over the SMDCM position in 2021. Kenzie graduated from SIU Carbondale in 2016 with a Bachelor’s in Sports Broadcasting and a minor in Advertising.

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