1/24/2020 2:08:00 PM Merom power plant closing Carlisle mine closing; Newton power plant to stay open under new owner.
Hoosier Energy expects to close its coal-fired Merom Generating Station in three years and transition to a generation mix that includes a combination of wind, solar, natural gas and storage. About 185 cooperative employees work at the 1,070-megawatt plant, which went online in 1982. The company will work with state and local economic development officials to market portions of the property for industrial development. The company will also consider renewable energy generation at the location or pursue a sale of the plant. (Hoosier Energy photo)
Two nearby Indiana employers are laying off employees and shutting down operations.
Hoosier Energy will retire its coal-fired Merom Generating Station in Sullivan County in 2023 as part of a new long-range resource plan. Meanwhile, Sunrise Coal LLC in Carlisle has stopped production.
Hoosier Energy announced Tuesday its board of directors approved a new long-range resource plan. The current plan is designed to provide its 18-member cooperatives with reliable, affordable and environmentally sustainable energy while saving members an estimated $700 million over the next two decades.
Hoosier Energy expects to close its coal-fired Merom Generating Station in three years and transition to a more diverse generation mix that includes a combination of low-cost wind, solar, natural gas and storage. This plan provides a foundation for supply cost stability and predictability while reducing the company's carbon footprint by nearly 80 percent.
About 185 cooperative employees currently support operations of the 1,070-megawatt plant, which went online in 1982.
"We sincerely value our dedicated employees and will help those impacted during this transition by working with the IBEW to offer assistance such as retraining, reassignment and professional outplacement, along with retirement options," Hoosier Energy President and Chief Executive Officer Donna Walker said.
There are several possibilities regarding the future of the site. Hoosier Energy will work with state and local economic development officials to market portions of the Merom property for industrial development. The company will also consider renewable energy generation at the location or pursue a sale of the plant.
The Ameren Energy Resources plant at Hutsonville closed in 2011 after 71 years in service. The facility has since been demolished.
There was concern last year that the former Ameren Energy plant at Newton might close. In August, however, owner Vistra Energy announced Newton was one of seven Illinois facilities that would remain open. Four other Vistra plants in the state would close to comply with tighter air-emissions requirements.
Ninety full-time employees have lost their jobs as the result of production stoppage at the Sunrise Coal. The mine is owned by Hallador Energy Company in Terre Haute.
"Unfortunately, weak market conditions have resulted in an over-supply of domestic coal which necessitates that we reduce our production," Hallador Energy Company's Chief Financial Officer Larry Martin said in a press release, "The employees who are affected by this action are a part of the Sunrise family, and we regret the impact this will have on their families and the community. We thank them for their dedication and service."
According to the company's website, Sunrise Coal is Indiana's second-largest coal producer. It should be noted that this idling of production was described as temporary in Hallador Energy's press release.
In the meantime, it will be shifting production to Oaktown, Ind., in an effort to save money.
Randy Harrison and Tom Compton of the Daily News staff contributed to the reporting of this story.