NRG deactivates Titus coal plant in Pa. well ahead of original schedule

NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) on Sept. 1 officially deactivated the coal-fired Titus Units 1-3, with each of the units having 81 MW of capacity, according to a Sept. 3 deactivation report from PJM Interconnection.

The deactivated request for the units had initially been filed in February 2012, with an initial deactivation time in April 2015. Said a notation by PJM in the list for each unit: “Reliability Analysis complete – impacts identified – upgrades and operating procedures expected to be in place by May 2015 to allow generators to deactivate as scheduled. On May 15, 2013 NRG submitted an updated deactivation notice with an effective deactivation date of 9/1/2013. New reliability analysis complete and impacts identified and upgrades cannot be completed by new deactivation date. Generation owner has informed PJM that Titus will deactivate as scheduled on 9/1/2013. Unit deactivated on 9/1/2013.”

NRG Energy said June 24, in an update on its recent takeover of GenOn Energy, that it is looking to reactivate two coal plants in the ATSI region, on natural gas as the new fuel, by 2016. These are plants that NRG has shut or planned to shut due to age and new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

The facilities reviewed for reactivation or to stay active are:

  • Avon Lake (Ohio), 732 MW, it cleared capacity in the auction in the American Transmission Systems (ATSI) zone, with the coal plant a short distance to gas-supply access and needing a simple boiler modification to burn this fuel, with a summer 2016 commercial operation date on gas;
  • New Castle (Pennsylvania), 330 MW, also cleared the ATSI auction, a short distance from gas supplies, easy conversion of this coal capacity to gas, commercial operation date in summer 2016 on gas;
  • Dunkirk Unit 2 (New York), a 75-MW coal unit that was slated to be mothballed May 2013, won a new local grid reliability contact with National Grid for June 2013-June 2015 period;
  • Elrama (Pennsylvania), 460 MW, a gas addition for this coal plant ruled out due to poor market conditions and complicated gas conversion process.

On the flip side is a new list of facilities, only some of them coal-fired, to get new or accelerated deactivations:

  • Titus (Pennsylvania), PJM (MAAC), 275 MW, continued operational risk with aging unit and impending shutdown, inability to repower this coal facility with natural gas, ability to buy-back capacity and “de-risk” facility, NRG accelerated deactivation from 2015 to 2013.
  • Norwalk Harbor (Conn.)New England ISO region, 340 MW, roll-off of capacity floor, limited repowering options for this oil facility, increased market risk with new punitive new performance rules;
  • Werner (New Jersey)PJM Interconnection (MAAC) region, 210 MW, large spend required to comply with New Jersey regs for this oil facility, limited remaining life and energy upside; and
  • Portland (Pennsylvania), PJM (MAAC), 570 MW, settlement with New Jersey and Connecticut regarding New Source Review allegations, preserved ability to repower these coal units with natural gas, accelerated deactivation from previously planned 2015 to 2014.
About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.