CHICAGO (AP) — A Texas-based company has announced the closure of its remaining coal-fired power plants in Illinois and three in Ohio as part of a plan to transition to renewable energy and reduce the company’s carbon footprint.
Vistra Energy had already shuttered four Illinois plants in Canton, Coffeen, Havana and Hennepin and agreed to close another near Peoria in a legal settlement with environmental groups.
But the Houston-based company announced recently that it plans to close the four remaining Illinois coal plants within a decade, including Baldwin Power Plant in Randolph County. It’ll also close three Ohio plants.
“Vistra’s commitment to our transformation to a low-to-no-carbon future is unequivocal and offers unique opportunities for growth and innovation,” Curt Morgan, the company’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
However, Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro, said the decision would affect 130 Illinois families.
He called the decision “deeply disappointing,” saying he’s afraid more coal-powered plants could close if Democrats seek climate proposals favoring clean energy.
Environmental groups praised the development.
“Supporting a fair and robust economic and community transition is a critical next step for Illinois and Ohio,” said Mary Anne Hitt, the Sierra Club’s national campaigns director.
Roughly 15% of the electricity generated in Illinois last year came from Vistra coal plants. But The Chicago Tribune cites federal records that show the company’s fleet was responsible for nearly half the carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide emitted in 2019 by Illinois’ power plants.
Vistra Energy to close coal power plants in Illinois, Ohio