One of the Baldwin Energy Complex’s three generating units will shut down by October.
That’s according to Dynegy, the Houston, Texas-based owner of the power plant, which said the planned shutdown of the first of two generating units had received approval from the power grid serving central and southern Illinois.
Dynegy’s plan to take two Baldwin units offline as well as a unit at a power plant in Newton has been blamed on an April power capacity auction that set generating prices too low for the plants to recover their operating costs.
The company announced its intent to shut down the units in May and is waiting on approval to shutter the second unit from the Midcontinent Independent Service Operator, the power grid that serves central and southern Illinois as well as areas of 12 other U.S. states and portions of Canada. MISO reviews shutdown plans to determine whether the grid can withstand the loss of power capacity a shutdown would cause.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
MISO spokesman Andy Schonert said MISO does not publicize the decisions it makes regarding whether power plants can shut down and only makes public statements if capacity reliability concerns arise during the grid’s review of any company’s shutdown proposal.
Hirschfield could not say when the second Baldwin unit would shutter and did not know how many plant employees would be affected by the stoppage of a single unit.
Dynegy has previously said approximately 122 of the plant’s employees would be out of work upon the stoppage of both units.
The company meanwhile supports legislation it hopes would result in removing central and southern Illinois from MISO territory and instead join the PJM grid that serves Chicago and northern Illinois.
Ameren Illinois stands in opposition. According to company president Richard J. Mark, “We do not believe it is in our customers’ best interest to leave MISO. We have serious reservations about the legality of the proposal and the cost implications for customers. Our initial review indicates that a move like this could cost our customers hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Meanwhile, worries over the toll layoffs would take on plant employees and the local economy persist.