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NRG Energy Announces Controls, Conversion, and Closure for Illinois Coal Plants

On August 7, 2014, NRG Energy (NRG) announced a plan to reduce pollution exposure posed by four Illinois coal-fired plants that were acquired during the purchase of Edison Mission in April 2014. The plan is a combination of investment in environmental controls, conversion of coal to natural gas, and the outright retirement of a coal unit.

Key Details

  • NRG plans the following actions in Illinois:
    • Powerton (1,538 MW) – Upgrade environmental controls
    • Waukegan (681 MW) – Upgrade environmental controls
    • Joliet (1,326 MW) – Convert to natural gas by June 2016
    • Will County (761 MW) – Retire Unit 3 in April 2015 (251 MW); testing Unit 4 for environmental compliance
  • The $567 million investment at the four plants will remove 16 million tons of CO2 annually by 2020 achieving 56% of the carbon dioxide reduction required by Illinois under carbon dioxide emission rules proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)


In the face of increasingly stringent EPA regulations targeting CO2 and other coal plant emissions, plant operators are finding it increasingly difficult to justify continued use of coal as a fuel source. While some plants justify investment in expensive environmental controls, many plants are being converted to gas or are being closed outright. NRG’s pollution reduction plan marks the 173rd and 174th coal-fired units to announce plans to stop burning coal since 2010.

More information

Power: NRG to Shutter, Repower Illinois Coal Units in Modernization Bid

NRG’s Executive Blog: Illinois Plant Transformations Mark Transitions to Cleaner Energy

This report is part of the Clean Tech & Sustainability Minute series. To view all featured Minutes, please click here.

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Contributing Authors

Paul Quinlan Clean Tech Manager

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