Coal plant closures to save Ameren $70 million

In October, Ameren Energy Resources announced the closure of two Illinois coal plants, citing impending EPA regulations as the reason.

As we noted at the time, while the EPA rules were likely the precipitating factor leading to closure, the power plants were among the oldest and most expensive to run in Ameren’s fleet, and were on their last legs anyway.

But now, it seems the closures may have actually saved Ameren money.

SNL Financial (subscription) reports that in a conference call to investors today, Ameren CEO Thomas Voss said the closures of the Meredosia and Hutsonville plants will help the company avoid $70 million in emissions upgrades.

Here’s why: While the plants are shutting down, Ameren will retain their emissions allowances for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide for another three years. This enables Ameren to cut back on proposed emissions upgrades for the Edwards power plant in Illinois, still updating the plant for particulate controls but eliminating “baghouses” needed to reduce SO2 and NOX.

“So, I’d say the CSAPR rules were certainly the cause of the decision to shut down Meredosia and Hutsonville, but that did lead to a chain of decisions that led to reduced capital costs at our Edwards facility,” Voss told investors, according to SNL.

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