PJM Interconnection said in a power plant pending deactivation list updated to Sept. 20 that the coal-fired Hatfield’s Ferry and Mitchell plants of FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) can be deactivated on Oct. 9 as the company requested.
Said an identical note in that list for each of the five affected units: “Detailed reliability studies complete. The impacts to the transmission system from the unit deactivation can be mitigated through the completion of required baseline upgrades and the implementation of temporary operating measures in the interim period. Unit not required for system reliability and may deactivate as requested.”
The affected units, all in Pennsylvania, are: Hatfield’s Ferry Units 1-3, 530 MW each; and Mitchell Unit 2 (82 MW) and Mitchell Unit 3 (277 MW).
Citing low market prices and the compliance costs for ever-toughening environmental standards, FirstEnergy said July 9 that it plans to deactivate these two coal plants by Oct. 9. The company said the total capacity of these plants is 2,080 MW, representing approximately 10% of the company’s total generating capacity, but about 30% of the estimated $925m cost to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).
Since that time some parties, including Pennsylvania regulators, had raised the issue of whether shutdown of these plants would harm grid reliability.