Newton coal plant to close by 2027

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NEWTON, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) — A coal plant in Newton, Ill. is scheduled to close by 2027 as its parent company looks to pivot its focus to clean energy.

Vistra on Tuesday announced its plan to retire seven coal plants in Illinois and Ohio between 2022 and 2027. The Newton Power Plant is listed in the final phase of retirements scheduled to close “by year-end 2027 or sooner should economic or other conditions dictate.”

Approximately 80 employees work at the Newton plant.

“Our team members have gone above and beyond to make these plants viable, and they have been safely powering these communities with affordable and reliable electricity for decades,” Jim Burke, chief operating officer of Vistra, said. “The advance notice of these retirements provides us with ample time to work with our impacted employees and communities to ease the impact of the closures, including seeking the passage of the Illinois Coal to Solar and Energy Storage Act. We’ve proven ourselves in previous similar situations to live up to our core principles, taking care of our employees and communities. That will not change.”

Meranda Cohn, Vista director of media relations and corporate affairs told that closure in Newton is “still many years away.” However, she noted that “the plant is facing a number of regulatory, environmental, political and economic challenges – any of which could impact the plant’s economic viability and force closer sooner than 2027.”

The retirement announcement was partially prompted by an upcoming Environmental Protection Agency filing deadline which requires “either significant capital expenditures for compliance or retirement declarations.”

Since the company’s leadership change in 2016, Vistra and its subsidiaries have closed or announced the closure of 19 coal plants.

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