Coal-fired generation is not going away anytime soon in Illinois after a controversial pollution-control variance approved last fall by a split Illinois Pollution Control Board cleared the way for Dynegy to buy five merchant coal plants representing 4119 MW from St. Louis-based Ameren.
The plants include Electric Energy Inc. (EEI) of Joppa.
Houston-based Dynegy had threatened to walk away from the Ameren deal if the board denied its request to delay for five years, until Dec. 31, 2019, the installation of state-mandated pollution controls at EEI and at the Newton in Jasper County, Duck Creek in Fulton County, Coffeen in Montgomery County E.D. Edwards in Peoria County.
The board voted 3-1 to grant the variance, with Chairwoman Deanna Glosser casting the lone dissenting vote.
Ameren made a similar financial hardship argument a year ago to the board, saying it could be required to shut down some of the plants if it did not receive a variance. It was granted a delay and subsequently agreed to sell the plants to Dynegy.
The board ordered Dynegy to continue to burn low-sulfur coal at EEI, and at the Newton and Edwards plants, which are not scrubbed to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions, through Dec. 31, 2019. The combined annual average stack SO2 emissions of these plants must not exceed 0.55 lb/MMBtu on an annual basis, the board said.
The announcement of the new ownership was made in December.